Vegetables and Vegetables

Health Benefits of Yam

The yam ( Colocasia esculenta ) is a tuber genus Dioscorea, family Dioscoriaceae consumed in several countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Cultivated in tropical areas, the yam, so called in most Brazilian regions, is a rounded root. Among the properties of yam we highlight its anti-inflammatory, diuretic and energetic action. An immune system tonic widely used in the southeast, north and northeast of Brazil.

Commonly present at breakfast in the North and Northeast regions of the country, yams can be consumed in different ways: raw, cooked, fried, roasted, in soups, purees, cakes, breads and even as juice. Tasty and nutritious, yams can be a healthy option when included in the diet, especially replacing simple carbohydrates such as rice and bread.


Each 100 g of yam has an average of 28 grams of complex carbohydrates, healthier than simple ones, as they are metabolized more slowly, not causing an insulin spike and not being stored as fat, which is why yams help with weight loss. It is also a source of soluble fiber that improves intestinal transit and promotes weight loss. Vitamin A, C, B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid and folic acid), and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper are also found in yam.

This tubercle is sometimes confused with other tubercles. Confusion with Cará happens because their names are different depending on the region of Brazil. They also think that the yam is cassava, but the cassava is of the Manihot esculent species Despite being similar, they have differences in the presence of phytochemicals, therapeutic properties and their uses in cooking.


Yam is a source of complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber and for this reason does not increase the body’s blood glucose levels, being an allied food for people with diabetes and for those seeking a healthy diet and weight loss. The health benefits of yam include improving the immune system and the cardiovascular system. It is a food rich in B-complex vitamins (such as B1, B3, B5, B6 and B9), vitamin A and C and minerals.

1.Improves the immune system

Rich in vitamin C and B-complex vitamins that strengthen the body’s defenses, yam consumption also protects the body from free radical damage as it has antioxidant properties.

2.Improves the cardiovascular system

Yam is rich in potassium, an important mineral for controlling heartbeat and blood pressure. In addition, vitamin B6 reduces levels of homocysteine, an amino acid related to the emergence of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, coronary heart disease or heart attack.

The fibers present in yams also serve as aids in improving the cardiovascular system, since they reduce the body’s absorption of fats, which ultimately reduces the bad LDL cholesterol, responsible for several cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

3. Help in women’s health

The substance diosgenin, present in yam, is associated with the production of estrogen, the female hormone. Thus, its consumption could contribute to hormone replacement therapies and to reduce PMS symptoms, such as colic, irritability and bloating.

Diosgenin could also help improve a woman’s fertility, as it would stimulate the production of estrogen, whose action is related to controlling ovulation.

In addition to this substance, yam has magnesium, a mineral that helps to relax the muscles, which would be beneficial for cramps, and vitamin B6, which helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which can reduce the common irritability of PMS.

4. Helps in cancer prevention

Yam has antioxidant substances, such as vitamin A and C, which fight the action of free radicals. These free radicals can generate DNA mutations and thus start cancer. Diets rich in antioxidant foods help prevent this disease.

5. Aids in diet for weight loss

As it is a food rich in carbohydrates, at first one might think that yams make you fat, but on the contrary, yams are a food that helps in weight loss diets. The carbohydrates present in yam are complex carbohydrates, with a low glycemic index, which means that it is released slowly into the bloodstream and does not generate glucose spikes that are responsible for storing glucose in the form of fat.

The yam is also rich in fiber that gives a feeling of fullness, which avoids ingesting more calories. Fiber is also responsible for improving intestinal transit, decreasing swelling, reducing fat absorption and increasing toxin elimination.


Yam is known in folk medicine for its property of cleansing the body and causing impurities to escape through the skin, kidneys, intestines. As it strengthens the immune system, its consumption is also linked to the prevention and treatment of cases of malaria, dengue and yellow fever. At the beginning of the 20th century, yam Elixir was used to cure syphilis.

Yam elixir is an herbal solution that can be found in some health food stores. Its main use is to eliminate toxins from the body that are released in sweat and urine. Yam Elixir also helps digestion, is a diuretic, reduces acne, helps relieve joint inflammation and reduces abdominal pain such as cramps.

Popularly, you also drink the yam elixir to get pregnant, but there are no studies that prove this property. It is known that yams have a high concentration of vitamin B6 that helps regulate progesterone levels and thus facilitate ovulation.

dengue yam juice

The consumption of yam and yam elixir is popularly known for the treatment and prevention of diseases such as yellow fever and malaria. With the outbreak of dengue, yam juice became a natural alternative to help improve symptoms and fight dengue.

Although there is no study that proves the effectiveness of yam against dengue, there are those who guarantee its benefits in the prevention and treatment of this disease, allowing the body to neutralize the causative agents after being bitten by the transmitting mosquito.



  • 1 small raw yam
  • 1 apple
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 500 ml of ice water
  • Sweetener/sugar to taste


Peel and chop the yam, apple and ginger. Squeeze the orange and lemon reserving their juice. Take everything to a blender with water and blend well. If you prefer, strain the juice and drink it preferably on an empty stomach.


Yam is widely used as a medicinal food to remove toxins from the body. The yam juice, in addition to being popularized for the prevention and treatment of dengue fever, has its benefits for skin health.

Taking yam juice can improve the health and beauty of the skin, as its consumption ends up with acne, blackheads and pimples in general. It can also act as an adjunct in the treatment of cellulite, giving a more beautiful appearance to the skin.


Yam is a very nutritious food with beneficial health properties. Rich in carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals, its consumption strengthens the immune system, helps in women’s health, can prevent some types of cancer, cleans toxins from the body, its use was related to the prevention and treatment of dengue fever and skin improvement, eliminating acnes and blackheads.

In addition to all its properties, yam makes good dishes, it is a food rich in flavor, versatile and can be consumed by those who are looking to lose a few pounds without harming their diet.

The yam, once cooked, can be used in various recipes for soups, purees, cakes, breads, sauteed, roasted, fried.

For cooked yam, wash it well beforehand and place it in a pot of boiling water and salt to taste. Cooking with the skin helps preserve its nutrients. After about 40 minutes of cooking, or until tender, turn off the heat, let it cool a little and remove the skin.

One option is to cut the yam into slices and cover it with butter. With the cooked yam, you can still use it to prepare puree, use it in recipes for cakes and breads and even fry it.


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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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