Yam, Africa's Starchy and Herbal Root and Tuber Vegetable

Yam is a dry and starchy vegetable belonging to the root and tuber class, it originates from the region of West Africa and Asia. Yam tubers is also known as suran, this underground tubers are monocotyledons in nature, they it belongs to the botanical family of dioscorea which commonly have climbing vines when cultivated.

Nigeria is largest producer and exporter of yam in world. The farmland production system in the country is very productive. Nigeria produces over 30million metric tonnes which worth about $5.50 billion. There are quite many species of Yam, however only about 6 are of serious economic value in Africa today.

Yam tubers are exported to all part of Nigeria, making it one of the most consumed food in Nigeria. Yam is used to prepare various delicacies such as pounded yam, fried yam and yam porridge. Herbalist also use yam to make herbal remedies which are used to cure skin infections and other ailments.

Different varieties of yam can be seen in market with each type unique in its properties. The type of yam that can be found in the Nigerian market are the White Yam, Yellow Yam and Water Yam. Yam is seasonal and has traditional values in Nigeria.

Health Benefit of Yam.
Yam tubers are a good source of energy because there are very rich in carbohydrate and Fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that plays a major role in the body digestive system, helps lower the risk of obesity and reduces the possibilities of heart disease from occurring.
Yam contains an adequate amount vitamin C and B6, which acts as an antioxidant and synthesizes the blood cells respectively. Antioxidant are essential for a good body immune system, while vitamin B6 is needed for protein metabolism.

The vitamin A in Yam tubers aids in the prevention of lung and oral cavity cancer. Some of the minerals that can be found in yam are copper, manganese, potassium and iron. Each of these mineral all play a specific role in the, for instance the iron in yam increase the circulation of blood, copper aids in the production of red blood cells(hemoglobin) and also like iron it also improves the flow of blood and manganese give the body a healthy bone structure by aid its metabolism.

Herbalist in Asian countries have over the years proven that the allantois contained in yam can be used to cure skin infections and also to heal ulcer patients. The decoction of this herbal substance is then used to cure respiration problems by stimulation thereby relieving the body of bronchial irritation and cough.

Health Researcher also believe that the antioxidant compound in yam can aid cognitive abilities, thereby boosting the learning capacity in humans.

Health experts say that a particular species of yam can boost fertility and ovulation, because yam has a high levels of phytoestrogens and progesterone which increase estrogen level in the body, although this is yet to be confirmed.

Some other known medical benefit of Yam are Fast hair growth, Treatment of odors, helps improves bowel habits.

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