8 yam benefits for health

Are you familiar with yam and its numerous health benefits? Commonly confused with yam, due to its appearance, this tuber is a super food full of benefits for those who eat it.

With the scientific name Dioscorea alata , this vegetable is the plant’s energy reserve, which is why it brings so many health benefits. Below you can check the main properties and the most important effects of this natural product.

You can also find out if this tuber helps in the weight loss process, if there is any contraindication for its consumption and how to differentiate it from yams at the time of purchase.

In addition, you will learn how to prepare delicious recipes  using yam as the main ingredient. Check out!

Main benefits of the card

As it is a natural food, yam has numerous properties that bring many benefits to the health of those who decide to include it in their diet.

Its properties can help taking care of the health of the gastrointestinal system, fighting signs of aging and even preventing the onset of diseases such as diabetes.

Check out some of the main benefits of this tuber according to science:

  • Source of proteins, carbohydrates and minerals
  • Helps the digestive tract
  • Increases muscle
  • Combat depression
  • Fight free radicals
  • prolonged youth
  • ally in pregnancy
  • Balances sugar levels.

1. Source of proteins, carbohydrates and minerals

Minerals are essential elements to maintain the health and proper functioning of the human body. Fortunately, in carda we find a large number of several that are useful for maintaining health.

The vegetable has high amounts of calcium, manganese, potassium, zinc and a low amount of sodium. ( 1 )

2. Helps the digestive tract

A great source of dietary fiber , yam is a great ally in bowel health, as it helps to regulate intestinal transit. In addition to acting to maintain healthy intestinal flora. These properties are very important for the health and functioning of the intestine, as well as improving digestion and preventing disease.

So, if you suffer from intestinal problems, such as diarrhea and constipation, for example, eating yam can be of great help. ( 1 )

3. Increases muscle

Tubers are foods that are always present in the diets of athletes, especially those who practice high-performance sports, such as weight training for example.

The yam is a great example of a plant-based food rich in proteins, macromolecules responsible for building muscle fibers and, consequently, hypertrophy . ( 2 )

4. Combat depression

Also called pyridoxal phosphate, vitamin B6 present in the tubercle is vital for the development of brain functions and, consequently, a great ally in combating the ailments that affect the neurological system.

The compound is used in treatments against abnormalities in neurotransmitters and hormones linked to mood, making vitamin B6 an ally in fighting headaches , chronic pain and depression. ( 3 )

5. Fight free radicals

What few people know is that yam is also a source of ascorbic acid. This nutrient, popularly known as Vitamin C, is an ally of other antioxidant agents present in the tuber and brings numerous benefits.

The main function of antioxidants is to prevent free radicals , oxidizing molecules capable of damaging and poisoning cells. Heart disease and some cancers are examples of illnesses that can be favored by free radical instability and that antioxidant foods can help prevent. ( 1 )

6. Prolonged youth

The actions that fight cell oxidation are also beneficial to the health and appearance of the skin, as spots, wrinkles and sagging are signs of the oxidizing action of free radicals. Therefore, yam is considered a source of antioxidants that fight premature aging.

The vitamin C present in the vegetable stimulates the production of collagen, a common protein in the aesthetic market that benefits the skin, making it more hydrated, elastic and firm. Furthermore, this nutrient helps in the regeneration of lesions. ( 1 )

7. Ally in pregnancy

As mentioned above, the vitamin B6 present in yam is also useful to prevent and minimize nausea, which is very recurrent during pregnancy.

Some studies of vitamin supplementation in pregnant women indicate that pyridoxal phosphate may also help prevent pre-eclampsia and premature birth. ( 4 )

8. Balances blood sugar levels

The tubercle is part of a group of carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index, which are foods that are more slowly digested in the body.

Foods with a high glycemic index, such as those made from white flour for example, are quickly digested and converted to glucose, which in turn increases normal insulin production.

Slower digesting foods prevent the emergence of metabolic diseases and can help prevent and control some types of diabetes. In addition, they can offer more satiety and energy, due to the way they are converted to glucose. ( 5 )

Does the guy get fat?

You saw here the main health benefits of yam, but despite being a natural food, the tuber has a very high caloric value and you need to pay attention to the other foods that will be eaten.

However, that doesn’t mean he gets fat. In fact, it’s often recommended because it’s a great source of fiber and carbohydrates, which makes it a super food. In order not to take risks, just be careful and not mix several foods rich in carbohydrates and fiber in one meal.

What is the difference between yam and yam?

As yam and yam are two common tubers in North and Northeast cuisine, with a brown outer part and yellow or white flesh, the confusion between the two is understandable.

The physical similarity is due to the fact that both belong to the Dioscoreaceae botanical family , a group that has nine genera and more than 715 known plant species. But, despite being similar, it is not such a big challenge to differentiate the two tubers, just paying attention to the shape and appearance of the shell.

The yam has a long, thin shape, somewhat reminiscent of a sweet potato, and its skin is smooth. Unlike the yam that has a rounded shape and structures that resemble hair on its outside.

Far beyond appearances, we need to remember that the two are different vegetables. Therefore, the composition of one is different from the other.

Recipes with the card

Although it is usually only eaten boiled in water, yam can be prepared in a variety of ways. However, these new recipes give the food a new face and flavor, without losing its properties and benefits.

To cook the yam, peel and cut it into pieces that are between two and four inches long. Place in pan, cover with water and cook until pan picks up pressure, for approximately 10 minutes. If you prefer to cook in a normal pan, let it cook for about 30 minutes.

yam with dried meat

You know that lunch or dinner where you want to cook something nice but have no idea what can be done? Using yam as the main ingredient, your meal will be much more nutritious and tasty.


  • 500 grams of yam
  • 500 grams of dried meat
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Parsley and cilantro to taste
  • Olives to taste.

Preparation method:

First of all, you need to cook both the yam and the jerky to prepare this recipe. Both can be cooked simply and quickly in a pressure cooker. Place the cooked tuber in an ovenproof dish and set aside. Once cooked, the dried meat must be shredded.

In a skillet, saute the onion, olives, garlic and tomatoes using the oil. After a few minutes on the fire, add the meat to the stir-fry, stir well and leave for a few more minutes.

Pour the contents of the skillet over the tuber slices and finish by placing the parsley and cilantro on top.

yam soup with chicken

A good soup is the favorite food of many people, especially during the winter months, when the cold calls for a lighter and warmer meal. The good news is that you can switch from the traditional food mode using the yam.

This recipe uses yam, chicken breast and pumpkin. All ingredients give satiety and still bring many benefits to the body. Check out how to prepare!


  • 400 grams of yam
  • 200 grams of chicken breast
  • 100 grams of pumpkin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation method:

Cook the chicken breast, shred and set aside. Wash, peel and cut the yam and pumpkin into cubes and take them to cook in the same pan. Chop the garlic cloves and onion and place half in the pan where the tuber is being cooked.

Once cooked, take the yam and pumpkin to a blender, along with a small part of the cooking water. Beat until mixture is creamy. In a pan, saute the remaining salt and garlic in oil and add the whipped cream and shredded chicken. Let it boil a little and you’re done!

Are there any contraindications for consumption?

Fortunately, yam is free from contraindications and can even be included in the diet of children when they are still babies, but only from the 6th month of life onwards. All this because of the large amount of nutrients and other compounds that are found in the tuber.

However, it is necessary to pay attention to the amounts consumed, because anything in excess is bad. Excessive consumption of the tubercle can cause diarrhea , vomiting or headaches.

Also, if you are allergic to any other food of the same genus or family as the yam, you should be careful. Therefore, when you experience any allergic symptoms when consuming it, seek a doctor urgently.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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