It is known in the botanical sphere as Dioscorea spp. There are basically two groups of yam in cultivation at the moment. They are the sweet variety of yam, called Dioscorrea esculenta like "white yam and puna, cultivated for food, and the wild yam species which is used for its anti-aging property as well as potential for providing natural progesterone...used as yam pills for contraception, and in fertility promotion and believed to be useful in bringing about multiple twin conception.
Generally, there are over 200 subspecies of yams.
This tuber is very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Yam is a major staple food in Africa. Average daily consumption per capital is highest in Bénin (364 kcal), Côte d‘Ivoire (342 kcal), Ghana (296 kcal), and Nigeria (258 kcal).In this current climate of food shortage and rising demand for starchy grains, it is a true alternative to rice, both in the versatility of use, dietary composition and ease of growth.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2005, estimated 48.7 million tonnes of yam were produced worldwide, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 97 per cent of this figure.
It is found mainly in the countries of Nigeria accounting for 95%) of world production, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, and Cote d'Ivoire.
It is called "ishue" amongst the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, or "Orusoon" by the itsekiris.
It is also cultivated for food in some parts of Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Nutritional Value of Yam
Believe it or not, yam is one of the world’s healthiest food. It is highly rich nutritionally and protects the body from many troubles.
Like most African foods, it is rich in fibers, dietary fibers making up about 21%. This is good for the bowel, as it makes food move well down the gut. This reduces the chance of developing illnesses like diverticulitis, bowel cancers or chronic constipation.
It is also very rich is vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary for health gum, skin, bones, teeth, and normal growth.
Another substance well known to be present in yam is potassium. Potassium is a type of salt that help protects the heart. Potassium helps in reducing high blood pressure too. It is also important for the normal function of the nerves and muscles.
Magnesium is still another essential mineral in yam. This helps in so many enzyme system in the body, and help in the proper metabolism of carbohydrates.
Of all the important components of yam, vitamin B6 is perhaps the most protective. This vitamin helps the body to handle a toxic substance in the blood called homocysteine. Lack of vitamin B6 would lead to homocysteine accumulating in the blood, and this leads to damage to the wall of our blood vessels and heart.
Potentially, this could cause a heart attack. In fact, people with normal cholesterol who have heart attack have been shown to have high levels of homocysteine. Eat this source of vitamin B6 today to help reduce your chances of having a heart attack.
The chemical discoretine found in this vegetable has been shown to both reduce blood sugar levels as well as help in increasing blood flow through the kidney, leading to excretion of excess salt and also reducing blood pressure.
What about the yam calorie? It is very rich in carbohydrate. The type of starch found in yam makes it an excellent type of carbohydrate both for maintaining good health and avoiding over weight. Because of the high fibers content of this starchy root, you easily feel filled up without having to eat so much.
Is also rich in protein and phosphorous.
No kidding. This tuber is a great vegetable for food.
Do you want to know how to cook a yam? Good. Yam recipe comes in different varieties. You can cook and eat it as:
How ever you choose to cook your yam, make sure you enjoy it. Try different yam recipes. Go to our yam recipes section to see the various recipes available.
Where to Buy Yam
You can off course buy yam from most African foods shop in person all over the world.
You can also buy online here. Get yam delivered to your door at the click of your mouse.
Click on the image and go over to order your yam from our online shop...get it delivered to you anywhere in the world!
Yam could be expensive, especially during the summer months. An average size tuber sells for £4.00 - £6.00. We sell at a flat rate of £3.99. The yam picture shown above represents an average size (of one tuber), weighing between 2 to 3.5kg. Buying in bulk or with other items would greatly reduce delivery cost.