Yams are the tuberous crops of plants of the genus, Dioscorea. This vegetable is used in many Southeast Asian and African dishes, as well as in herbal medicine.

Health considerations

Yams are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium and manganese. This vegetable has been used in traditional and herbal medicine for its anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory effects, and to treat coughs. One study conducted on rats found that the consumption of yams inhibited the growth of colon cancer. 

Keep in mind

Yams are often referred to as sweet potatoes, though these two species are not in the same family of plants. The US Department of Agriculture requires that the term yam be accompanied by the term sweet potato, if it is not botanically a yam.

May be found in

Southeast Asian cuisine, African cuisine, sold as is


Preventive nutrition and food science
Food & function
Nutrition Data
Library of Congress

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