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Health Benefits of Yam (Ratalu), Uses And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Aug 26, 2020

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Yam is ideal for curing respiratory problems, skin diseases, digestion related ailments and cancer. It also protects the female endocrine system, increases nutrient absorption, improves cognitive abilities, conciliates metabolic functions and increases the count of the red blood cells. Due to the presence of Vitamin B6, Yam also prevents hypertension.

Yam (Ratalu)

Yam is a root vegetable which bears close resemblance to sweet potato. The inside of a Yam is orange or white and they are related to grasses and lilies. They are perennial vines that can be ingested. They are grown in Oceania, Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Nowadays, around 95% of the entire world’s yam crop is harvested in West Africa. It can be cooked in various ways, like it can be smoked, fried, baked, boiled, roasted or barbecued. Yam is also used as a dessert in many places after being grated. The tubers of Yam can grow up to 4.9 feet and it can weigh up to seventy kilograms. It is 3 to 6 inches in height. The skin of the Yam fruit is hard and rough to peel. It usually gets softened after heating. The inside of this fruit can have different colors such as pink, purple, yellow or white.

Nutritional Value of Yam (Ratalu)

Yam has a lot of nutrient density and is very healthy if consumed. It contains vitamin C, dietary fibres, thiamine, manganese, vitamin B6 and potassium. Yam has a very low glycemic index and supplies around 118 calories for every 100 grams. It has 54% glucose as compared to other potato products.

In some countries in Africa, where food is scarce, Yam provides a high amount of protein intake ranging from 16% in the humid lands of West Africa and 6% in East and South Africa. Yam is limited in tryptophan, methionine, cystine, maino acids and sulphur.

Nutritional facts Per 100 grams

0.2 g
Total Fat
9 mg
816 mg
28 g
Total Carbohydrate
1.5 g

Vitamins and Minerals

2 %
Vitamin A
28 %
Vitamin C
2 %
15 %
Vitamin B-6
5 %

Health Benefits of Yam (Ratalu)

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After getting nutritional details of yam, lets check out how yam can be beneficial for health. You can find different types of yam such as Chinese yam, purple yam, yellow yam, or more. Yams are also starchy vegetables and you can include this in your weight gain management diet. The diabetic patient also consumes yam due to high fibre content and low glycemic index. We also check out some side effects of consuming yam and is there any risk factor for pregnant women. Also read out the cultivation details of ratalu.

Ratalu Cures respiratory problems & heals skin diseases

Yam has long been a traditional medicine used in Japan, Korea and China since early ages. It contains cell proliferate and allantoin which speeds up the healing process if applied topically on boils, ulcers and other skin ailments.

Ratalu also known to cure respiratory ailments and relieve cough, bronchial irritation and stimulate health of the respiratory system.

Ratalu great source of Vitamin B6

Yam has sufficient amount of vitamin B6 in it, which is necessary by our body to break down homocysteine (a substance which can damage the blood vessel walls). High content of homocysteine can lead to a heart attack if you have comparatively low cholesterol levels. Hence, having vitamin B6 in your body can make it immune to heart diseases.

Ratalu also contains some amount of potassium, this is beneficial as it controls the blood pressure and heart rate by countering hypertensive effects. Yam also prevents hypertension to a certain extent. It also results in reduced blood pressure and increased kidney flow due to the enzymes present in Yam

Yam supports and protects the female endocrine system

Yam contains an enzyme which is beneficial for menopausal women. This enzyme provides a natural alternative to hormonal replacement in menopausal women. It supports the endocrine system in females as its root is full of beneficial enzymes.

Ratalu contains vitamin B6 which acts as a substitute to fight symptoms related to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) which include stomach cramps and mood swings.

Yam Improves bowel habits and aids in digestion

Yam has dietary fibres in it, these fibres decrease bad cholesterol and reduce constipation. Ratalu also contains a gracious amount of potassium that helps in healthy digestion and also stimulates contraction of smooth muscle in the stomach. This in turn leads to beneficial bowel habits.

Yam increases the Nutrient absorption in the body

Consuming Yam juice on a regular basis can increase the nutrient absorption of the body. It also protects the enzymes which are needed by the body to create healthier cells and keep the body in good condition. Drinking Yam juice is very useful, as the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body in liquid form.

Yam can improve cognitive capacity

Yam has the power to increase the memory capacity and the learning capacity of the human brain. According to research, people who consumed Yam for a period of 6 weeks noticed a great change in their cognitive abilities. This is due to the antioxidant compound which is present in Yam. It can also cure Alzheimer’s to a great extent.

Yam acts as a cancer deterrent

Cancer can be very painful and life threatening. In most cases, people lose their lives while battling cancer. It can tear families apart and cancer treatment is very expensive. The treatment of cancer like radiation therapy and chemotherapy itself can be very painful and can cause a huge discomfort. However, consuming Yam on a daily basis can increase the immunity of your body and prevent cancer to a certain extent.

Due to its anti-oxidant qualities, Yam can prevent colon cancer from occurring. The dietary fibre present in Yam can prevent toxic compounds in food from clinging itself to the colon mucosa. Vitamin A present in Yam provides protection from oral cavity cancer and lung cancer.

Yam conciliates metabolic functions

The vitamins present in Yam can conciliate the metabolic function in one’s body. Yam contains vitamin A which maintains and protects the healthy mucous membranes. Ratalu can also improve vision and plays an important role in bone growth, wound healing, improving immunity and anti ageing.

Yam increase the production of red blood cells

Yam has a lot of minerals present in it which plays a major role in protecting and increasing the count of the red blood cells in the body. It contains copper and iron which aids in blood circulation inside the body. Yam also contains a sufficient amount of manganese which is used as a co-factor for superoxide dismutase and antioxidant enzymes.

Uses of Yam (Ratalu)

Yam has a variety of uses such as, healthy immune system functioning, lowering osteoporosis, protecting the tissues surrounding the heart and aiding in ventricular functioning.


Side-Effects & Allergies of Yam (Ratalu)

Yam can have some side effects if it is not used in moderation. It should be avoided by breastfeeding or lactating women as it might be fatal for the child. Wild Yam has the ability to affect conditions related to estrogen imbalance in the body.

If you have estrogen related issues like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer or breast cancer, then Yam should be avoided as much as possible as it can make these conditions worse. People having protein S deficiency should also not consume Yam as they might be at an increased risk of forming blood clots. This condition can be very problematic and should be avoided.

Cultivation of Yam (Ratalu)

Yams are usually grown throughout the humid tropics and are priced very economically in most places. Plantation of Yam begins in the rainy season. The yield of the crop depends on where and how the sets are planted, provision of stakes, interplant spacing and sizes of the mounds. The seeds of yam are bulky to transport and are also perishable.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
    Reviewed By
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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