Nutrition

Is Yam Good For People With Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Yam is a root vegetable that mainly grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions and is grown as a cash crop for its popularity and demand. It is not quite known in many places but is native to and a commonly eaten vegetable in South and Southeast Asia and Africa. 

Benefits of Yam

It would be surprising for many to know that because of its high nutrient levels, it does not only have a low GI but is also helpful in weight management and in controlling cholesterol levels. Varieties of yam grow in different places according to the slight difference in climatic conditions. 

One of the most common varieties, the elephant foot yam, is good for diabetes as it ranks low in GI, and is packed with loads of nutrition. This specific variety is also used for medicinal purposes to treat physical ailments like piles, tumours, inflammation, rheumatism, and several others. As it is loaded with several vitamins and trace minerals, it is beneficial for everyone and aids in weight loss, improving bone health, improving immunity, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. 

Benefits of Yam for Diabetes

Let us get into detail to answer the commonly asked question, "Is white yam good for diabetes?” As it is a starchy vegetable, many believe it raises blood sugar levels and causes hyperglycemia. However, it is a misconception as it ranks low in the glycemic index and can be consumed by people with diabetes without any concern. Here are some ways in which yam is beneficial for people with diabetes:

Yam contains loads of vitamins and minerals like manganese, iron, riboflavin, thiamine, etc., that keep our organs healthy, especially the pancreas and liver, which work together to maintain normal blood sugar levels

  • Yams are rich in fibre that helps control glucose levels in the blood. 
  • As it ranks low on the glycemic index, it is suitable for people with diabetes. 
  • The soluble fibre content in yam, which is 10 percent of the daily requirement, helps keep you full for longer, which aids in weight loss.
  • Drinking yam juice concentrate constantly for weeks has been shown to lower blood sugar levels drastically. 
  • Yam contains 0% cholesterol and 3 grams of fibre per 100 grams that help maintain low cholesterol levels. 
  • People with diabetes tend to have chronic inflammation because yams are beneficial for them and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. 

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The Glycemic Index of Yam

Yam ranks low at 51 on the glycemic index and is safe to be consumed by people with diabetes in moderate amounts as it will not cause a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. This is because it contains antioxidants and a good amount of vitamins and minerals that help the organs regulate blood glucose levels. 

Different Ways to Consume Yam for People with Diabetes

Here’s a list of a few recipes for you to prepare yam to make a healthy meal:

After peeling off the skin, cut the yam into small pieces and boil for 20 minutes. Add salt, 4-5 chopped chillies, and onion to the yam. Meanwhile, stir fry two fish and add them to the yam. Garnish it with coriander leaves. 

Boil the chopped yam for 10 minutes to soften it. Heat the pan with vegetable oil, take the yam out, and add it to the frying pan. Add salt, pepper, chopped chillies, spring onion, and finely cut mushrooms for 5 minutes before turning off the flame. Stir-fried yam is ready.

Finely chop the yam into thin slices, and add salt, a pinch of chilli powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder and mix it well. Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes. A tasty and healthy yam snack is ready. 

These were some recipes out of several that you can try to make a healthy yam meal. As it is high in carbohydrates, it is recommended not to add other starchy vegetables. Instead, you can add other fibre-rich vegetables and chicken or fish if you want a protein-rich meal.

Bottomline

If you have always wondered, "Are yams good for people with diabetes?” then understand that Yam is a healthy alternative to potatoes for people with diabetes. Another question that people have in mind is whether the three-leaf yam is good for people with diabetes. It is a bitter-tasting variety of yams and mainly contains trace minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium, etc. These are necessary to keep the organs functioning at their optimum level. Therefore, the answer to the question “Is yam good for diabetes?” is YES. It is a healthy option and a better alternative to potatoes, with a high glycemic index of 82 on average. 

FAQs

What are the risks of overconsumption of yam for people with diabetes?

Yam has a low glycemic index but has a high amount of carbohydrates, which can cause high blood sugar if consumed in large amounts.

How much Yam should people with diabetes eat?

Due to its high carbohydrate content, doctors recommend that people with diabetes should not consume more than 80 grams per day. 

What is the best time to eat Yam?

Our body burns most of the calories during the day, so eating Yam for lunch is the best option, which is during the day. 

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