7 Benefits of Purple Yams

purple yam sliced

Purple yams, also known as water yams, are said to be a more beneficial type of yams. (Image:Dreamstime.com © Akepong Srichaichana)

Yams are, after all, yummy and you can cook them in so many ways to make delicious dishes. However, purple yams, also known as water yams, are said to be a more beneficial type of yams.

The origin of this tuberous root vegetable lies in Southeast Asia. People often confuse the vegetable with taro root. An indigenous staple in the kitchens of the Philippines, purple yam is now harvested almost globally.

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These yams have a deep purple flesh along with purplish-brown skins. After cooking, the texture becomes soft, much like a potato. The sweet, nutty flavor is enticing. These yams are laden with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

A lot of people think that purple yams and taro roots are the same vegetable. Taro root is also native to Southeast Asia. It is mildly sweet and has a grey to lavender color.  In fact, these two vegetables look similar and the confusion is natural. However, once the skin is peeled off, they do not look the same.

raw purple yams
Purple yams have a deep purple flesh along with purplish-brown skins. (Image: Dreamstime.com © Sabilal Rusadi)

Listed below are seven major benefits of purple yams.

1. Absolutely nutritious

The purple yam is a great source of vitamin C, carbs, and potassium. It contains almost no fat and you also get vitamin A and iron in it. They also have powerful plant compounds. The anthocyanins in these yams help mitigate inflammation and blood pressure. Vitamin C helps safeguard the DNA from harm and boosts iron absorption.

2. Blood pressure control

High blood pressure is a cause of concern for millions of people worldwide. Elevated levels of blood pressure can be risky for one’s health. Purple yams may help in lowering high blood pressure. Researchers think this is linked with the high antioxidant content in these vegetables.

3. Combat asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory chronic ailment affecting the airways that affect millions of people. The researches indicate intake of vitamins A and C can help in lowering the risk of asthma. Those who consume inadequate amounts of vitamin A cope worse with asthma.

purple yam dish
The purple yam is a great source of vitamin C, carbs, and potassium. (Image: 194837197 © Buppha Wuttifery)

4. Gut health boost

Eating purple yams will help in boosting your gut health. These yams are replete with resistant starch, which digests slowly. Eating these yams may help mitigate the risk of some conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, IBD, and colorectal cancer. A study carried out on lab rodents indicated that purple yams help in battling colitis. They may also help in boosting digestion.

5. Easy to prepare

Preparing purple yam dishes is simple and they can be cooked in so many ways. People boil, mash, and fry these yams. They taste great when added to stir fry dishes with other vegetables. They are also used extensively in making stews and soups. In the Philippines, people make flour with these yams and make desserts thereafter.

6. Full of antioxidants

Purple yams are enriched with antioxidants. They help save the cells from damage induced by exposure to free radicals. This can be helpful in reducing the risk of different types of cancers. Studies have shown anthocyanins in purple yams — namely peonidin and cyaniding — may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers like lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.

7. Blood sugar regulation

A significant section of the human population suffers from diabetes. It is an ailment that can affect people from many age groups. In purple yams, there are flavonoids that can be helpful in lowering blood sugar levels. A number of studies have indicated that using purple yams helps regulate blood sugar.

In summary

Purple yams are full of nutrients and antioxidants and their health benefits are undeniable. These yams are widely available and they can be cooked in numerous ways too.

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