Yam is an exotic root vegetable which is grown in many different colors, shapes and size. Yams are available in white, yellow and purple varieties. This tropical vegetable is cooked and eaten in very much the same way as potatoes. Yam is a starchy food which contains essential carbohydrates, which are slowly released, and is the main starchy element to main meals.
There are many health benefits to be gained from eating yam! This is an extremely healthy vegetable that is crammed full of goodness in the form of vitamins and minerals.
Healthy Foods Index
The yam nutritional value is high as it provides vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as essential nutrients including potassium, fiber, beta-carotene, folic acid, calcium, iron, selenium and zinc.

This particular root vegetable benefits the health as it is full of fibre and potassium, but they are low in sodium. This particular healthy root vegetable can help to aid the digestive system and actively reduce stress as the natural presence of essential B vitamins help to energize the body and improve concentration.

The root vegetable, yam is low in calories and can form a healthy part of a controlled diet. The amount of calories and carbs in yam depends on the way that it is cooked, for example if the yam is fried, roasted, stewed, baked, stir-fried, steamed, mashed or boiled.

The following calorie guide can be used to calculate the amount of carbohydrates and calories in yams:

Carbohydrates and Calories per 100 grams:
Yam flesh- 114 calories yams / 28.2g carbs
Yam flesh boiled - 133 calories yams / 33g carbs

The History of Yam
A yam is a tuber which is grown all year round in tropical countries. This particular healthy vegetable is often mistaken for the sweet potato, however, yams and sweet potatoes share some similarities i.e. they are both starchy root vegetables and tubers but they are separate types of vegetables.

Yams cannot be grown in normal climates as they require hot tropical weather for cultivation. The history of yams dates back thousands of years. Many varieties of yam are thought to have first originated in parts of the world such as China, Africa and America. This tropical vegetable was introduced to other countries during the 16th century as a consequence of the slave trade.

Varieties of Yam
There are many different types of yams including the Indian yam (cush-cush), the great yam, the sweet yam and the Chinese yam. The greater yam has reached record weights of approximately 150 pounds!

Many of the yams which we recognize, particularly available for sale in Europe, have thick, tough, brown whiskery skin and are similar in size to large potatoes. Yam flesh is typically white, creamy or red in color.

Preparing Yam for Cooking
When selecting yams for cooking, always look for ones with firm skin that is undamaged. Nice, healthy yams will have creamy moist flesh. An interesting fact about yams which is very different to the ordinary potato, is that they contain a poison under the skin which produces an allergic reaction. Athough it is important to remove this layer directly under the skin, along with the yam's skin, by cutting or peeling it away, the poison is in fact eradicated during the cooking process. The name of the poison is dioscorine. When peeling yams, you should wear gloves and always discard of the the yam peelings carefully.

Remember to wash your hands after preparing yam.

How to Cook Yam
Yam can be cooked in ways similar to those of the ordinary potatoes. Yam can lose its color during the cooking process, therefore, if you boil yam, use salted water to prevent this from happening. This versatile root vegetable can be cooked in many different ways including boiling, mashing, sautéing, frying, baking and roasting.

Yams are used in many different, special recipes. For example, some African yam recipes provide instruction on how to make yam into a dough by pound boiling it and serving it as an accompaniment to spicy stews and soups. There are excellent yam recipes that are extremely tasty and delicious!

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