Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Yams

Yams are tubers which have white, yellow, or purplish flesh that have very minimal sweetness. In the United States, the vegetable often called “yams” are actually orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. The characteristics of yams vary greatly than those of sweet potatoes though. For one, yams are only minimally sweet while sweet potatoes, particularly the orange-colored ones, are very sugary in taste. Yams’ skin, too, look quite different as it is rough and scaly as compared to the thin and smooth skin of sweet potatoes.

Though not really extensively grown in the United States, yams are worth incorporating in your diet, though in reasonable amounts only.

Continue reading and discover more about the pros and cons of yams and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this vegetable.

Yams’ Benefits:

Yams are a good source of vitamin B6, with one cup of this cooked vegetable capable of providing roughly 15% of the RDA for this nutrient. A diet rich in vitamin B6 has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. As it turns out, homocysteine, a substance which directly harms the walls of blood vessels, is typically abundant in the blood of individuals who are about to have or have just had suffered from cardiac arrest, in spite of having normal or even considerably low cholesterol.  Vitamin B6’s main function happens to be that of breaking down homocysteine, and so eating yams which are abundant in this nutrient should help ward off heart diseases as well as stroke.

One cup of cooked yams provide roughly 26% of the RDA for potassium, as well. Yams, too, have very low sodium content. A well-balanced potassium-sodium level in the body is associated with lower risk of hypertension, heart disease as well as osteoporosis. Eating yams will also allow you to take advantage of the vegetable’s storage protein called dioscorin which has been found helpful in managing hypertension.

Yams, too, have generally lower glycemic indexes than potatoes. Individuals who need or prefer to eat complex carbohydrates to regulate blood sugar levels for weight loss or disease management may find yams as an ideal alternative, as the vegetable can be cooked in a number of ways to take advantage of its delectable flavor and creamy texture.

Yams have properties that appear to protect against diseases targeting the blood as well. According to a paper published on the Journal of National Medical Association, the considerable thiocyanate in yams may prevent sickle cell anemia. Diosgenin, a type of plant steroid extracted from yams and is a precursor to a variety of steroids, has been found in a French study to induce death of human erythroleukemia cells and prevent further spreading of malignant cells.

Yams’ Risks:

Yams grow under the ground and so are naturally prone to diseases and infestation of pests and pathogens. Yams, too, may contain alkaloids that are toxic when ingested. These bitter alkaloid compounds also tend to accumulate in the flesh of young yellow and white yams.

Yams contain oxalates and phytic acid as well. Oxalates crystallize in the body when in excess amounts so individuals with impaired kidney and/or bladder function should consult their doctor prior to incorporating this vegetable in their diet. Phytic acid, meanwhile, is considered an anti-nutrient and binds with minerals like iron and zinc preventing the absorption of these desirable nutrients.

Yams’ Practical Uses:

As was mentioned, alkaloids tend to accumulate in the young flesh of this vegetable so make sure to choose mature yams at all times. Select ones without breaks in the skin to ensure the vegetable is not infested with pests and microorganisms like fungus as well. Also, wash the peeled vegetable thoroughly prior to cooking to ensure the water-soluble alkaloids have been removed. Slow and extended cooking in high heat also aid in the removal of oxalates.

Yams are particularly tasty when roasted. And you don’t even have to set up your elaborate barbeque grill to prepare this delicately flavored tuberous vegetable as you can easily pan-roast yams. Cook the diced yams with minimal olive oil in a cast-iron pan. Add in some curry, chopped onions, garlic and freshly ground black pepper and cook until the aroma of the spices emerge. Afterwards, pop the pan in the preheated oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until the yams are tender. Glaze with some raw pollinated honey or manuka honey prior to serving.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of plantains and how to moderately use this vegetable in your quest to Become Superhuman.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:

Eat:

Sprouts

Avocados

Olives

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Cabbage

Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

Naturally Fermented Pickles

Bok Choy

Collards

Swiss Chard

Kale

Mustard Greens

Nori (Seaweed)

Organic Greens Powder or Capsule

Moderate:

Sweet Potatoes

Yams

Plantains

Potatoes

• Corn

Peas

Carrots

Celery

Cucumber

Squash

Zucchini

Romaine Lettuce

Red Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce

• Fennel

Radishes

Avoid:

Canned Vegetables

Non-Organic, Un-Rinsed Vegetables

Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:

Potatoes

Tomatoes

• Peppers

• Garlic

Onions

Eggplant

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of yams, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of yams.