Yams and Sweet Potatoes: The Health Benefits of These Tasty Roots

Yams and Sweet Potatoes: The Health Benefits of These Tasty Roots

Because the health benefits of yams and sweet potatoes are numerous, it is important to try to incorporate these vegetables into your diet. As the name implies, most people find sweet potatoes to taste sweet, making them pleasant to eat. Yams, on the contrary, are hardly sweet and have an earthy taste. Sweet potatoes and yams are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. All of these vitamins and minerals have nutritional benefits. With low fat and calories, paired with high vitamin content, these roots have been described as some of the world's healthiest foods.

Antioxidant Properties

Yams and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A (beta carotene), providing an amazing 262 percent DV for your vitamin A needs. In addition, these vegetables are high in vitamin C, providing nearly 30 percent of the recommended daily value. Vitamins A and C work together, with their antioxidant properties, to remove free radicals from the body's cells. Free radicals damage cells and cause heart disease and cancer.

Cancer Prevention and Cancer Cures

Yams and sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, a natural antioxidant and anti-carcinogen. The healthy properties of sweet potatoes have been shown to prevent and treat certain types of cancer, including colon cancer, intestinal cancer, prostate cancer and kidney cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Vitamin A and vitamin C are both natural anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the severity of symptoms associated with asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B are natural agents that help cure arthritis symptoms.

Digestive Health

Yams and sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which plays a critical role in proper digestion.These vegetables are composed mainly of starch, which is easy to break down, leading to simple digestion. The fiber found in yams and sweet potatoes helps the body retain water, which maintains proper water balances in the body. The roughage of yams and sweet potatoes prevents constipation. These roots have a soothing effect on the stomach and intestines, which make them a natural healing substance to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with stomach ulcers.

Respiratory Complications

Yams and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and iron, both of which help cure congestion within the nose, bronchi and lungs. When congestion is lessened, the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis decrease.

Prenatal Dietary Supplement

During pregnancy, women need to consume higher amounts of folic acid to prevent birth defects in the growing baby. Yams and sweet potatoes are high in folate, or folic acid. This high folate content is critical to the development of healthy fetal cells.

Muscle Health

Diets that are low in potassium can yield unpleasant results, including muscle cramps and higher risk of injury while exercising. As is the case with bananas, yams and sweet potatoes are high in potassium, making them a quality food to eat for the prevention of muscle cramps.

Heart Health

Potassium also helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Yams and sweet potatoes help regulate proper fluid levels and electrolyte balances within the cells of the body, as well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure.