People often confuse yam with the sweet potatoes. They think that yams and sweet potatoes are similar, but this is not. This is true that yams are similar to sweet potatoes but they are different. In fact, yam is not even related to sweet potatoes. They belong to the morning glory or Discoreae, but the sweet potatoes belong to the genus Convolvulaceae. While yam has one embryonic seed leaf, sweet potatoes have two.
What is yam?
The common name of some common species, that belong to genus Dioscorea and form edible tubers, are known as yam. Yams can be of different colors and sizes. You can find them from tanned brown to pink and purple color and they are cylindrical in shape. They are generally dry and starchy and provide a good source of energy with several nutritional benefits.
1 cup of yam, you can get nearly 40 grams carbohydrates. According to USDA, there are 28 grams carbohydrates in 100 grams. The carbohydrates, in the yams, are healthy complex carbohydrates. These good carbs or carbohydrates fuel your body and allow to conserve your protein for uses. Yams are also a good source of fiber. According to the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center, this is true that fiber is not a fuel source for your body, but it helps in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and correlating with a minimum risk of obesity, some forms of cancer and heart disease.
If you are diet conscious and always consider low-fat food to stay healthy, yams are the perfect food for you. They contribute less than 0.25 grams in a cup of serving. This is true that dietary fat is important to maintain healthy cell membranes, but excess dietary fat might lead to cardiovascular disease. So, consume low-fat yams and maintain your overall dietary fat consumption.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Yams are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in Vitamin C and B6. Vitamin C helps in wound healing and tissue repair. In 1 cup of serving, you can intake approximately 20% of your daily vitamin requirements. They are also a good source of Thiamin, another B Vitamin, which convert carbohydrates to energy.
Yams have copper, manganese, and potassium in abundant quantity. You can receive almost 20% of your daily requirements from these essential minerals. The minerals help in detoxifying your body, producing proteins vital for energy production, nerve impulse generation and muscle contraction.
There is no denying the fact that yams are a good source of nutrition. If they are not peeled and cooked properly, they may contain toxins like diosgenin, dioscorin, and triterpenes. So handle them with care!