Info message
Successful operation message
Warning message
Error message

  • icon


Food Percentage of DRI per 100 grams

Yams is a perennial vine plant cultivated for its large, edible, underground tuber, which can grow up to 55 kilos in weight and up to 2 meters in length (!). They originate in West Africa, and are a tropical crop, requiring hot, humid temperatures. Yams grows throughout Africa, and Nigeria is the world’s largest producer, and exporter, accounting for over 70 percent of the world total output. There are hundreds of varieties in existence, however, only few of them are commonly used. Besides being a popular food, yams have been symbolically associated with cultures all over Africa, Asia, and South America. 

Yams are similar in appearance to sweet potatoes, however, they are not at all related. Important differences that distinguish them from sweet potatoes; yams are monocotyledons, larger in size, features thick, rough, dark brown to pink skin depending up on the cultivar type. Whereas sweet potatoes are smaller in size and have a thin peel.


Yams can be available in the markets year around. Fresh tubers, however, are in plenty by August when their annual harvest season begins, marking the end of the rainy season in West Africa. In the supermarkets you’ll find them whole or cut and wrapped in plastic. To avoid plastic and for a longer shelf life, select the whole ones. Their interior meat is white to light pink depending up on the type.


Unlike sweet potatoes, which can be eaten raw, yams should never be eaten uncooked since they contain many naturally-occurring plant toxins including dioscorin, diosgenin and tri-terpenes. They must be peeled and cooked in order to remove these bitter proteins.

Japanese yam(Dioscorea opposite) is, however, eaten raw. The whole tuber is briefly soaked in vinegar-water solution to neutralize irritant oxalate crystals that found in their skin. The root is then cut into small slices or grated to get a gel-like milk to add mouth-watering oriental recipes.

Yams can be used in variety of cuisines boiled, baked, fried, or sometimes roasted. It is also used like sweet potatoes in the preparation of cake, casseroles, breads, etc.

The most common cooking method in Africa is "pounded yam." Fufu (Foo-foo) is a special dish prepared during the yam festival. To make fufu; either pounded or powdered yams is added to boiling water to make a round cake. A bite-sized piece of the fufu is then consumed with sauce, stew, or soup.

Japanese yam or yamaimo is eaten raw in salads or grated to get a gel-like milk, which is then added to noodles. 


Store your whole yams in a cool, dark and dry pantry for several months. Once they are cut, their shelf life decreases and they are better used up or wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. 


Yams is a good source of energy, full of fiber to help reduce constipation and decrease bad (LDL) cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines. Yams can also lower colon cancer risk by preventing toxic compounds in the food from adhering to the colon mucosa. It is also a low glycemic food that helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

Yams is an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins. It provides adequate daily requirements of vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and niacin. 

It also contains good amounts of anti-oxidants that delay aging, improve immune function and promotes strong bones. 

It is also a great source of minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorous.