27 Health Benefits of Purple Yams (#1 Alternative Protein for Vegans)

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There are a lot of studies that stated some varieties of yams are great replacement of carbohydrate from rice or whole grains. Surely you have known that carbohydrate could cause some conditions like diabetes and weight gain due to high concentration of glucose contained in carbohydrate but still avoiding it is not the solution because no matter what, your body needs carbohydrate to produce energy. That’s why, those who are striving to find solution this matter are starting to change their diet into yams.

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Speaking of yams, most people always mistaken them with sweet potatoes and taro especially the purple yams which the flesh texture is very similar to purple sweet potatoes. However, they are not coming from the same family and quite different from one to another. Furthermore, compared to purple sweet potatoes, you could get more health benefits of purple yams for your health because though it is the great source of carbohydrate but it is quite low in calories and high in fiber.

What Are Purple Yams?

Purple yams are one of the yams varieties you could find around the world, until today there are more than 600 varieties of yams you could find around the world. Unlike sweet potatoes from genus Convolvulaceae, yams are coming from genus Dioscoreae which is much closer to lilies than any other vegetables. Yams are originated from Africa and Asia and the most popular yams variety is white yams (Dioscoreae rotundata) which has white and firm flesh texture. Compared to white yams, purple yams (Dioscoreae alata) are much more popular in Asia because it has beautiful purple color. Another popular name of purple yams is water yams.

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Nutritional Value of Purple Yams

Just like any other varieties of yams, purple yams are also rich of carbohydrate and dietary fiber. So, it is a perfect replacement of some staple foods like potatoes, rice and grains. However, as mentioned above, instead of consumed as staple foods, as vegetables purple yams are mostly found in dessert.

Purple Yams

Serving Size: 100 grams

Calories118 Kcal
Water69.6 g
Energy118 Kcal
Protein1.53 g – 3%
Total Fat0.17 g – 0.5%
Carbohydrate27.89 g – 21%
Dietary Fiber4.1 g – 11%
Vitamin B1 – Thiamin0.11 mg – 9%
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin0.03 mg – 2%
Vitamin B3 – Niacin0.55 mg – 3%
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid0.31 mg – 6%
Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine0.29 mg – 22%
Vitamin B9 – Folate23 µg – 6%
Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid17 mg – 19%
Calcium17 mg – 2%
Iron0.54 mg – 7%
Magnesium21 mg – 5%
Phosphorus55 mg – 8%
Potassium816 mg – 17%
Sodium9 mg – 0.6%
Zinc0.24 mg – 2%
Copper0.18 mg – 20%
Selenium0.7 µg – 1%

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To find out more about purple yams below is the list of health benefits of purple yams you should know and they could be the reasons why you should add purple yams to your daily diet.

  1. Promotes Healthy Digestion

Purple yams contains quite high amount of dietary fiber, so it would be great for digestion by improving the bowel movement and binding unnecessary properties to be washed off from the digestive system.

  1. Natural Solution to Constipation

By having healthy digestion, your bowel movement will be improved significantly and you could say goodbye to constipation for good. Actually, not only constipation, more digestive conditions like hemorrhoids and diarrhea could be treated as well.

  1. Improves Blood Circulation

As rich of minerals, especially potassium, purple yams are great to improve blood circulation. Excellent blood circulation will make sure optimal distribution of nutrients and oxygen for healthy metabolism.

  1. Prevents the Accumulation of Blood Clots

One of the natural compounds found in purple yams is anthocyanin which responsible to prevent the accumulation of blood clots in the veins and artery to improve healthy blood circulation.

  1. Manages Cholesterol Level

As rich of fiber purple yams could help binding ‘bad’ cholesterol and washing it away from your body. Furthermore, as rich of beta-carotene it could help in making sure the optimal production of ‘good’ cholesterol level.

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  1. Great Source of Carbohydrate

If you are looking for healthier replacement of other staple foods like rice or potatoes, you could add purple yams as the alternative because it is rich of carbohydrate which is the main source of energy.

  1. Contains Anti-Bacteria Agents

Blueberries are types of berries that are rich of anti-bacteria agents. However, according to some studies, anti-bacterial agents found in purple yams is 3 times higher than blueberries.

  1. Natural Remedy to Asthma

Asthma is not a condition that is easy to treat but some studies have shown that there is a connection between consuming purple yams and the reduction of asthma symptoms.

  1. Low in Calories

The calories found in purple yams are quite low compared to others staple foods. That’s why as the source of energy, purple yams are great replacement of staple foods like potatoes and rice that are quite high in calories.

  1. Excellent for Weight Loss

There are some factors that make purple yams are great for weight loss. First, it is rich of fiber to promote healthy digestion. Second, it is low in calories to prevent weight gain. Third, it is excellent source of energy.

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  1. Contains Anti-Cancer Agents

As rich of antioxidants which could act as anti-cancer agents, purple yams are great to prevent the development of cancerous cells. Furthermore, it also contains iodine and selenium which is great to overcome cancerous cells.

  1. Great Source of Antioxidants

Purple yams contain some powerful antioxidants which amount is even higher than blueberries. Since antioxidants are important to fight free radicals, adding it to your daily diet is highly recommended.

  1. Builds Cells and Tissues

The reason why purple yams are great for building cells and tissues is because it is also an excellent source of protein.

  1. Excellent Source of Protein

As an excellent source of protein, purple yams could be a great food for vegetarians who cannot get protein from meat.

  1. Great for Heart

It is a common knowledge, foods that are rich of potassium are great for heart and purple yams are not only rich of potassium but also low in sodium and calories.

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  1. Natural Source of Vitamin A

Vitamin A and beta-carotene are a perfect combination of purple yams and those two nutrients are essential for human body.

Also read: Vitamin A Benefits

  1. Essential for Growth and Development

As rich of calcium purple yams are essential for growth and development of children. Furthermore, the purple color will make children love them more.

  1. Slowing Down Cognitive Decline

Not only great for children, purple yams are also recommended diet for elders because beta-carotene found in purple yams could slow down the cognitive decline in senior age.

  1. Healthy Foods for Diabetes Patients

As low in calories and sugar but quite rich of carbohydrate, purple yams are healthy foods for diabetes patients. It could be the source of energy while dietary fiber will make sure no sugar spike may occur.

  1. Great for Vision

Surely you have known that all foods that are rich of vitamin A are great for vision and purple yams are not the exception. Beta-carotene could act as pro vitamin A to prevent the degeneration of cells that could affect your vision.

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  1. Promotes Healthy Skin

As quite rich of vitamin C and vitamin E, surely purple yams are also great for skin. Antioxidants will make sure optimal regeneration of skin cells to promote healthy skin.

Also read: Health Benefits of Vitamin E

  1. Contains Anti-aging Properties

Antioxidants are not only protecting your skin from inside by fighting free radicals that could cause cells degeneration but also protecting your skin from bad effect of UV rays because it could act as natural sunscreen.

  1. Great for Hair

Not only for skin, purple yams are also great for hair. It promotes healthy hair growth and prevents hair loss significantly.

  1. Prevents Osteoporosis

As rich of minerals like calcium and manganese, surely purple yams are natural solution to prevent osteoporosis. This condition is likely to occur in senior age, so add purple yams right now to protect your future.

  1. Immunity Booster

Vitamin C is excellent immunity booster. Furthermore, purple yams quite tasty and excellent foods to consume during illness even for children to accelerate the recovery process.

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  1. Good for Reproduction

Vitamin A and beta-carotene are the reasons why purple yams are good for reproduction. Beta-carotene promotes stronger and healthier sperm.

  1. Recommended for Pregnant Women

Purple yams are also excellent source of folate, so it is quite safe for pregnant women as long as they are consumed in moderate amount.

Side Effects of Purple Yams

When it comes to the list of health benefits of purple yams, the list is probably endless but before you start counting again, perhaps finding out some side effects of purple yams is highly recommended in this matter to make sure that you are only getting all the benefits and avoid all the reverse effects of purple yams.

  • Allergic reaction may occur with symptoms like headache and nausea though the case is very rare.
  • As rich of vitamin A, too much yams and too much vitamin A could be really toxic in your body. So, it is better to consume it in moderate amount only.
  • Beta-carotene found in purple yams is great for pregnancy but too much of it could be harmful for the fetus.
  • Those with kidney problem should avoid purple yams completely because it is so rich of minerals and protein.

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Though purple yams are well known as vegetables but today they are widely used as main ingredients from main course up to dessert and mostly found in dessert. There are a lot of desserts you could find made from purple yams from ice cream, cupcakes, cookies up to Swiss rolls. However, the most valuable of purple yams is the starch.