By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapist)
Although yams and sweet potatoes are both members of the angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related
Yams belong to the lily family which means they are a perennial plant that dies in the autumn and winter and then comes back in the spring.
Yams are native to Africa and Asia and have very dark skin and the flesh of a yam can range from white, to red, to purple coloured flesh.
They’re long and cylindrical, and their skin has a rough and scaly texture and incredibly there are over 600 varieties of yams with 95% of these crops grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.
Sweet potatoes’s flesh, depending on the variety, can vary from white to orange and even purple. They are sometimes shaped like a potato and sometimes longer and tapered at both ends.
But what’ s the difference nutritionally between yams and sweet potatoes?
Nutritionally they are both impressive and quite similar in that they are both starchy vegetables which provide a good amount of fibre and potassium.
They both also provide a good amount of selenium, iron, magnesium and zinc.
The differences lie in the bright colour of the sweet potatoes – as these provide a high amount of beta carotene in comparison to the yam and a higher level of antioxidants.
Sweet potatoes do however contain more sugar than yams, along with more calcium, protein, iron, sodium and water. They also have a lower glycemic index number and load than the yam, meaning that their carbohydrate is released more slowly into the bloodstream.
A yam can hold it’s own though nutritionally!
Reason for this is that it contains more fibre, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B6 than sweet potatoes do.
So, nutritionally there are benefits to both so how do you choose between yams or sweet potatoes
It really does come down to what’s available to buy, your taste preferences and how you are wanting to eat them and what with!
Keep an eye out for some tasty recipes involving yam and sweet potato coming soon!
Visit here for some tasty fertility boosting recipes you might like to try!