Yam is one of the most common foods eaten in Nigeria and other countries. Yams are cultivated for their tuber which is rich in starch. It grows in some tropical and temperate regions like West Africa, Asia, South America, etc.
The highest producer of yam in Africa is Nigeria after which is Ghana. Nigeria produces about 50.1 million tonnes of yam yearly.
In humid tropics, the Dioscorea species of yam is mostly cultivated. Dioscorea rotundata which is the white yam and Dioscorea cayennensis which is the yellow yam are commonly cultivated in Africa. The white yam has white flesh while the yellow yam has yellow flesh. The yellow appearance of Dioscorea cayennensis is due to the presence of carotenoids.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING YAM
Some of the health benefits of eating yam are listed below:
1. Yams are rich in nutrients and vitamins: yams are rich sources of vitamins. They contain carbs, protein, and fiber. They are also rich in manganese, potassium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and folate. These nutrients help to promote growth and metabolism. They are also rich in Vitamin B and C.
2. Yams have anti-cancer properties: yams act as antioxidants and help to fight oxidation in the body. This in turn can prevent cancer. Eating yam frequently can help prevent the risk of developing cancer.
3. Yams have anti-inflammatory properties: yams have the tendency of reducing chronic inflammation. This is due to their antioxidant effect.
The antioxidant content of yam can help reduce certain inflammatory disease conditions like stomach ulcers, irritable bowel disease (IBD), etc.
4. Yams reduce the risk of developing diabetes: yams have an anti-diabetic effect. This is due to their ability to control their blood sugar level. They help to reduce blood sugar absorption which in turn helps to control the blood glucose level. Some species of yam even help to promote weight loss and reduce appetite.
5. Yams helps to increase one's digestive help: yams contain what is called resistant starch. This resistant starch helps to increase the digestive enzyme present in the gut. The presence of these digestive enzymes helps to improve digestion.
6. Yams help to enhance the brain's function: eating yams may help boost one's brain function. This is due to a compound present in yam called diosgenin. Diosgenin has been linked to promoting the growth of neurons and enhancing the brain's function. It also improves one's learning and memory.
It's no doubt that eating yam is highly nutritious and recommended.
5 DELICIOUS FOODS YOU CAN PREPARE WITH YAM
Have you been thinking about the varieties of food that can be prepared with yam? Are you tired of eating boiled yam with fried eggs? Below are 5 different foods that can be made from yam:
1. Yam Flour + Soup:
Yams could be processed into flour and eaten with any soup of your choice. Yam flour with soup is typically eaten by the Yorubas. It is called 'Elubo' by the Yorubas and it is used in making Amala.
The steps of processing yam into flour involves:
1. Cleaning the body of the yam to remove dirt.
2. Peeling off the skin of the yam using sharp knives.
3. Slicing the yam into small pieces in the form of chips.
4. Rinsing the chips with water to get rid of dirt.
5. Drying the yam chips in a cabinet dryer to remove the moisture of the yam.
6. Milling the dried yam chips.
7. Colling the already processed yam flour before packaging.
8. Sieving the yam flour to remove unwanted particles.
9. Finally, package the yam flour for use.
Rather than going through all these steps to get your yam flour, you could easily purchase your yam flour in stores.
Here is how to prepare yam flour (Amala):
Step 1: Boil some water in a kettle/pot.
Step 2: Get a pot and place some of the boiling water into the pot and cover. Allow to boil very well.
Step 3: After bringing to boil, add some yam flour into the pot and turn using a wooden spatula. Turn until the flour is fully mixed with the water and there are no lumps. Ensure that you do not turn off the heat source.
Step 4: If the Amala is so thick or the water isn't enough, add the water remaining in the kettle into the pot and allow it to cook for a few minutes.
Step 5: Your Amala is ready. Serve with any soup of your choice.
2. Yam porridge with plantain/potatoes:
Yams could be eaten in the form of porridge. You could make your yam porridge more delicious by adding plantain or potatoes. Yam porridge is made up of basic ingredients like onions, pepper, salt, seasoning, dried or smoked fish, pumpkin leaves, and palm oil.
3. Yam + Beans:
When cooking your beans, you could add some yam to them. This combination is very delicious and yummy. Garnish your beans and yam with some crayfish or smoked fish.
4. Fried Yam + Fried Plantain + Fried Eggs:
This combination is so delicious. To make it yummier, you could decide to fry your yam and plantain with palm oil instead of groundnut oil. This gives it a special taste.
5. Yam balls:
Yam balls could be eaten either as snacks or as a meal. They are so delicious and easy to prepare/make. Simply boil some yam with salt, add some tablespoons of butter to the boiled yam, and mash until it is smooth.
Add some milk as you mash. After mashing the yam, add some sliced pepper and onions and seasoning. Mould the yam into balls, coat in whisked egg, and fry in hot vegetable oil. Your yam balls are ready to be eaten.