Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes by Ashley Lane
Yams are an excellent source of vitamin B6. Our bodies need this nutrient to break down an amino acid called homocysteine because this amino acid can directly damage blood vessel walls. People who had heart attacks with normal or even low cholesterol levels were commonly discovered to have high levels of homocysteine. Also, a diet rich in vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Yams are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. This is important because it helps protect the body from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with several different types of cancer, including throat, lung, mouth, stomach, esophagus and colon.
Yams fill you up without filling out your hips and waistline because they’re rich in fiber. Yams’ complex carbohydrates are broken down into sugars then released and absorbed into the bloodstream at a steady rate, thus keeping you satisfied longer. Added bonus, they are also very low in calories.
Brain and Nervous System
There is a rich amount of potassium in yams which is important in regulating muscle and nerve activity. Both the frequency and degree to which our muscles contract and our nerves become excitable depend greatly on the right amount of potassium in the body. Many of our muscle and nerve cells have specialized channels for moving potassium in and out of the cell. When movement is blocked, or when potassium is lacking in the diet, muscle and nerve activity can be compromised.
Two large (8 – 10 oz) yams
2 tablespoons cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic Powder, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, optional
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to broil.
Wash, then slice the yams into ½” thick, by ½” wide by 3-4“ long strips (depending on the size of the yam). Most importantly, keep the size of all the slices the same to ensure even cooking.
Toss well with the oil to ensure the yam pieces are evenly coated, then sprinkle on the garlic powder and cayenne pepper if you’d like some heat.
Place on rimmed baking sheet, lined with a piece of parchment paper (makes for an easy clean-up).
-Broil for 10’ on one side, then turn over and broil 10’. Yams are done when easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, then sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
-Let cool 5 minutes before eating.
-These will store quite well in the refrigerator and are perfect for right before or after your endurance workout