The single most important investment you can make to your health on a daily basis is to eat well, as previously mentioned. The food you consume has an affect your health: It can either keep you healthy or contribute to diseases. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on what yams are good for:
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“While yams appear very similar to sweet potatoes, they're quite different. In fact, they're not even related. Yams belong to the Dioscoreae or morning glory family, while sweet potatoes are from the genus Convolvulaceae. Yams (from the African word “nyami,” meaning “to eat”) have only one embryonic seed leaf, while sweet potatoes have two.
Yams are grown throughout Africa, but Nigeria is the world’s most prolific producer, exporting to 70% of the world market. Close to 200 species of yams are eaten worldwide, but other than those found wrapped individually in supermarkets, they aren't easily found on American produce shelves. Popular varieties include Hawaiian yam, Korean yam, and sweet yam.
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Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are usually longer – sometimes as long as several feet – and not as sweet, having a rough, dark orange or brown surface that looks like tree bark. They're usually harvested after a year of vine growth, dried for several hours in a barn ventilated for that purpose, after which they can be stored without refrigeration for several weeks.
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Yam varieties are classified as either “firm” or “soft.” When cooked, the former are more dense; the latter varieties become more tender and moist. Preparations can be as vast the varieties, including boiling, mashing, grilling, roasting, baking, or sautéing.
Yams should never be refrigerated until they're cooked. Leftovers should be wrapped, refrigerated, and eaten within a few days.
Health Benefits of Yam
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Although they're considered to be a starchy vegetable, yams are made up of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber allowing for slow uptake to keep blood sugar levels even, giving it the nod as a low glycemic index food. The vitamin A that is converted into beta-carotene when eating yams isn't as spectacular as those in sweet potatoes, but the antioxidants they provide are exceptional. The vitamin A in yams has other functions, such as maintaining healthy mucous membranes and skin, heightening night vision, supporting healthy bone development, and providing protection from lung and mouth cancers.
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Yams are a good source of vitamin C – 27% of the daily value for fighting infections such as colds and flu and quick wound healing, anti-aging, strong bones, and healthy immune function. It also provides good amounts of fiber, potassium, manganese, and metabolic B vitamins. The content of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine; 16% of the daily value) is good for shrinking the effects of homocysteine, which can do real damage to cell walls that could lead to heart attacks and/or stroke.
Other nutrients in yams include thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Copper (which produces healthy red blood cells), calcium, potassium (supporting optimal cell and body fluids), iron, manganese (a component in the super-potent antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase), and phosphorus are body-beneficial minerals found in yams.
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Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine has made use of yams for eons because they contain allantoin, although that wasn't always known. This compound speeds up the healing process when applied as a poultice to boils and abscesses, but is also used to stimulate appetite and relieve bronchial trouble.
Unless they're peeled and cooked, yams may contain toxins such as dioscorin, diosgenin, and tri-terpenes that you don't get from sweet potatoes, so handle them with care.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://foodfacts.mercola.com/yam.html
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