Yam – What’s The Health Benefit?
Yam is the popular name people called the plant species that originated from the family of dioscoreaceae which makes up of edible tubers. Yams are mostly cultivated in Asia, Africa, South and Central America and Oceania but the highest percentage consumed worldwide comes from Africa (95%). Yams are cultivated in this area mainly because to their starchy properties and we have different cultivars of yams. In United State, there are some varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) that are also called ‘’yam’’ but they did not belong to the part of Dioscoreaceae family, sweet potatoes belong to the family of Convolvulaceae.
How do Yam looks like?
There are 600 varieties of yam known but they are all Monocot which is closely related to lilies and grasses. Yam tubers vary in sizes from the size of small potatoes to over 60 kg (130lb) of weight. It is a native food for Africa and Asia.
Differences between Yam and sweet potato
Yams are from the family of Dioscoreaceae and they are monocot (a plant that haves one embryonic seed leaf) while Sweet Potatoes comes from the family of Convolvulaceae and they are dicot (a plant that poses two embryonic seed leaf). With these differences, they are not related to each others just as two flowering plants can never be. In a comparable sense, yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes. Below is a tabular form of differences between yam and sweet potatoes:
The majority of the vegetable is composed of much softer substance known as the “meat”. This substance ranges in color from white or yellow to purple or pink in mature yams.
Tubers of yam can grow up to 1.5m (4.9 ft) in length and 7.6 to 15.2 cm in height. Some set of tubers also weighs up to 70 kg (150 lb). They have rough skin that is very difficult to peel off when it’s uncooked but softens after been cooked. The color of the skin varies from dark brown to light pink.
Different Ways to Prepare or Cook Yam
Yams can be prepared in many different ways. For side dishes, they can be boiled or roasted (practice common in West Africa) either peeled or unpeeled. Sometimes yams can be boiled and mashed to serve as a side dish or to be used as an ingredient in pies and quick breads.
Below are ways on how to cook yams in popular ways by using microwave as boiler:
How to Microwave Yams: Are you short of time? And you want to use microwave to get your yam ready in minutes? Here is how:
⦁ To microwave a whole yam: Prick the scrubbed yams all over with a fork. Now set the microwave on the highest degree and make the time 8-10 minutes or till its soft, turn the yam only once.
⦁ For sliced yam: Wash, peel, and cut off the woody portions and ends. Cut it into quarters. Pour ½ cup of water and yam into a microwave-safe casserole. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent capacity for 10 to 13 minutes till it become tender, stirring once.
Mostly in Africa, yams are prepared and eat with either fried eggs or stew. Moreover, pounded yam is a delicacy people enjoy in this part of the world and mostly eaten with ‘Egusi soup’(melon soup).
5 Health benefits of yams
1. It heals skin diseases and cure respiratory problems
2. It’s a good source of vitamin B6, one cup of yam can give you 15.5% of your daily requirement of vitamin B6
3. It improves female endocrine system and improve lives of women that are in menopause stage.
4. Also a source of antioxidants like Beta Carotene and Vitamin C that fight against cancer-related free radicals.
5. It has low glycemic index thereby suitable for diabetic patient.
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