Exploring the Power of Wild Yams
In the world of health, wellness and nature’s bounty, certain treasures stand out for their remarkable benefits to human health.
One such marvel is the wild yam; a tuberous root that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
Wild yams deserve a place on the table for those seeking natural ways to enhance their well-being. Whether incorporated into meals or utilized in supplement form, wild yams stand as a testament to nature’s capacity to provide us with tools for a healthier, more balanced life.
What are Wild Yams?
Wild yams, scientifically known as Dioscorea villosa, are often confused with sweet potatoes.
However, wild yams belong to an entirely different botanical family than sweet potatoes. While both are tuberous plants and share a starchy nature, wild yams are part of the Dioscoreaceae family, while sweet potatoes belong to the Convolvulaceae family.
This distinction highlights the diverse world of tuberous plants and the variety of species that contribute to our culinary and medicinal landscapes.
What Are The Benefits?
Rich in Nutrients: Wild yams are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of vitamin C, which supports the immune system, and contain important minerals such as potassium, manganese, and fiber. Including wild yams in your diet can contribute to a well-rounded nutritional intake.
Hormonal Harmony: One of the key attributes of wild yams is their potential impact on hormonal balance. These tubers contain diosgenin, a compound that can be converted into progesterone. As a result, wild yam supplements are often explored by individuals seeking natural support for hormonal health, especially for women experiencing symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Wild yams have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, making them a valuable addition to an anti-inflammatory diet. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, and including foods like wild yams that can help reduce inflammation may contribute to overall wellness.
Digestive Health: The fiber content in wild yams supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. A healthy digestive system is essential for nutrient absorption and overall well-being.
Antioxidant Boost: Wild yams are rich in antioxidants, which play a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals in the body. Antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative stress and may contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases.
Muscle Relaxation: Some traditional uses of wild yams involve their potential to alleviate muscle cramps and spasms. The tuber’s natural compounds may have muscle relaxant properties, offering relief to those experiencing discomfort or tension in their muscles.
Diabetes Support: Preliminary studies suggest that wild yams may have a role in supporting individuals with diabetes. The tubers contain compounds that could influence blood sugar levels, though more research is needed to fully understand the extent of their impact.
Try This Yummy Recipe
Roasted Wild Yams with Herbs
- 2-3 wild yams
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Prepare the Yams: Wash and scrub the wild yams thoroughly. You can peel them if you prefer, or leave the skin on for added nutrition. Cut the yams into bite-sized cubes.
- Seasoning: In a large bowl, toss the yam cubes with olive oil, dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper. Ensure that the yams are evenly coated with the seasonings.
- Arrange on Baking Sheet: Spread the seasoned yam cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Make sure they are not too crowded to allow even roasting.
- Roast in the Oven: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the yams are golden brown and tender. You may want to toss the yams halfway through the cooking time for even roasting.
- Serve: Once the yams are roasted to perfection, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.
- Optional Garnish: For added flavor, you can garnish the roasted wild yams with a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley or a drizzle of balsamic glaze before serving.
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