1.Yams Potentially Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Yams can improve your blood sugar control.
In a rat study, rats were given a dose of yam water or yam powder. As a result, the rats experienced a significant decrease in their fasting blood sugar as well as a decrease in their hemoglobin A levels, which measures blood sugar control.
In a different study, rats were given a high dosage of purple yam extract. These rats exhibited reduced appetites, improved blood sugar levels, and considerable weight loss.
This was enforced by another rat study that saw simply supplementing diets with a yam flour can significantly reduce the blood sugar absorption. This is connected to the high level of resistant starches and fibers in yams.
Resistant starches and fibers go undigested in your stomach. Therefore, these starches can help you control your appetite and curb your blood sugar levels. Moreover, although yams are not as sweet as sweet potatoes, there is still enough sugar in them to add a natural sweetness to your meals and further curb your cravings.
Lastly, yam has an active compound known as Allantoin. Allantoin is known to regulate oxidative stress. In turn, this means that yams can strengthen your liver function, which also helps maintain healthy insulin levels.
2. Yams Alleviate Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is connected to a number of long-term health conditions, like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Fortunately, yams are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
A number of rat studies found that yams or a yam powder had a significant impact on inflammation. The studies observed that yams helped reduce risks of colon cancer, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, the outer bark of the yam roots is full of saponin. Saponin is a compound that is thought to help with fighting inflammation and can contribute to healthy gut flora. It can even help your pelvic and abdominal muscles relax.
3. Yams Can Strengthen Your Brain Function
If you are looking for a way to improve your brain function, eat more yams.
True, it sounds quite unbelievable, but a study showed that people who consumed a yam extract supplement showed a higher functioning brain than those who used a placebo.
Yams are rich in diosgenin, which is a special compound that is known for improving neuron growth and overall brain health. Additionally, diosgenin has contributed to an enhanced memory and learning skills in mice and other animal tests.
4. Yams Have Potentially Cancer Fighting Properties
In addition to a number of vital vitamins and minerals, yams also have antioxidants that may prevent cancer. A study conducted on animals found that a diet rich in yams showed a massive reduction in colon tumors.
Further studies suggested that these results were closely related to the many antioxidants in yams. Moreover, the peel of Chinese yams was found to prevent or inhibit liver tumors.
Granted, these should be taken with a grain of salt. Currently, the research on the effects of yams on cancer is limited. Most of the tests and studies have been conducted primarily on animals and not on humans.
5. Yams Promote Fertility
Lately, studies are also showing that yams can promote fertility. With the rise of natural hormones, wild yam creams are becoming popular options for women looking for hormone replacement therapy.
This is because “natural” progesterone, which is a key hormone in helping a uterus prepare for a fertilized egg, can actually be found in a wild yam breed called Diascorea uillosa.
6. Yams Are Great for Your Skin and Hair
It is common knowledge that collagen is key to keeping your skin elastic, firm, and healthy. Fortunately, yams are extremely helpful in the production of collagen in our bodies.
Yams are also rich in special antioxidants that can help with rebuilding cells. Meanwhile, they are also great at fighting free radicals and premature aging in your skin. The combination of collagen and vitamin C provided by yams is the perfect way to help heal your skin and any wounds.
Additionally, yams can help with hair growth because they are full of beta-carotene. As such, if you want to keep your hair from becoming dry and lifeless, try to incorporate more yams into your diet.
7. Yams Can Improve Your Overall Digestive Health
Yams contain resistant starches, which act similar to soluble fibers. A resistant starch essentially passes through your stomach and small intestine undigested. From there, it eventually reaches your colon and feeds your healthy gut bacteria while also increasing your digestive enzymes.
As a result, resistant starches can reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of getting colorectal cancer. On the lighter side, the resistant starches in yams can also alleviate a number of digestive disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease.