Purple Yam - Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

Purple Yam - Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

Purple yam is a starchy root vegetable that belongs to the Dioscorea alata species of yams. It is often used in desserts such as ice cream, cakes, and pastries, but can also be boiled, roasted, or mashed like other starchy vegetables. It is high in carbohydrates and dietary fiber, and contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. It is also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation.


Health Benefits of Purple Yam:

Apart from being delicious, purple yam also offers several health benefits. Here are some of them:

  1. Rich in antioxidants: Purple yam is a rich source of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which are responsible for its distinctive purple color. Antioxidants help protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  2. Good source of fiber: Purple yam is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent constipation.
  3. Aids in weight loss: Purple yam is low in calories and high in fiber, which can make you feel fuller for longer and help you eat less. This can be beneficial for weight loss.
  4. Improves blood sugar control: Purple yam has a low glycemic index, which means it can help regulate blood sugar levels. This can be beneficial for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
  5. Rich in vitamins and minerals: Purple yam is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients play important roles in maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases.

Overall, incorporating purple yam into your diet can be a healthy and delicious way to boost your nutrient intake and support your overall health.



Nutritional Value of Purple Yam

Purple yam, also known as ube, is a nutrient-dense root vegetable that offers a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here is the nutritional value of one cup (100 grams) of cooked, mashed purple yam:

  • Calories: 140
  • Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Vitamin C: 2.4 mg (4% of the Daily Value)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg (14% of the Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 816 mg (23% of the Daily Value)
  • Manganese: 0.3 mg (16% of the Daily Value)
  • Magnesium: 25 mg (6% of the Daily Value)

Purple yam is also a good source of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which give the vegetable its distinctive purple color. These compounds have been linked to a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. 

Overall, purple yam is a highly nutritious food that can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet.



Different Uses of Purple Yam in Food Preparation:

Purple yam, also known as ube, is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Here are some different ways to use purple yam in food preparation:

  • Desserts: Purple yam is commonly used in desserts like ube halaya, a Filipino sweet treat made from mashed purple yam, coconut milk, and sugar. It can also be used in cakes, pastries, ice cream, and other sweet treats.

  • Breads and pastries: Purple yam can be added to bread and pastry dough to give it a unique purple hue and flavor. It can be used in traditional Filipino breads like pan de ube and hopia, as well as other baked goods.

  • Smoothies and drinks: Purple yam can be blended with milk or coconut water to make a purple yam smoothie or shake. It can also be used in tea or coffee drinks, like ube latte or ube mocha.

  • Savory dishes: Purple yam can be used in savory dishes like stews, soups, and curries. It can be mashed and added to dishes like mashed potatoes or used as a base for sauces.

  • Snacks: Purple yam can be sliced and fried to make purple yam chips or used as a topping for popcorn. It can also be used as a filling for spring rolls or dumplings.

Overall, purple yam is a versatile ingredient that can add a unique flavor and color to a wide range of dishes, both sweet and savory.



Important Facts About Growing and Storing Purple Yam:

Here are some important facts about growing and storing purple yam:


  • Climate: Purple yam grows best in warm, tropical climates with temperatures between 25-30°C (77-86°F) and high humidity.
  • Soil: Purple yam prefers well-drained, sandy loam soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5.
  • Planting: Purple yam can be propagated by planting vine cuttings or by planting the entire tuber. The best time to plant is during the rainy season, as the crop requires consistent moisture.
  • Care: Purple yam requires regular watering, fertilization, and weed control. It is also important to provide support for the vines to grow on, such as trellises or stakes.


  • Harvesting: Purple yam can be harvested 6-9 months after planting when the leaves start to yellow and dry out. The tubers should be carefully dug up to avoid damage.
  • Cleaning: After harvesting, the tubers should be cleaned and washed to remove any soil or debris.
  • Storage: Purple yam can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. It is important to store them in a well-ventilated area to prevent mold or rot.
  • Preservation: Purple yam can also be preserved by drying, grating, and storing in an airtight container. This can extend its shelf life and make it easier to transport.

Overall, growing and storing purple yam requires attention to detail and proper care. With the right conditions and care, however, purple yam can be a productive and rewarding crop to grow.


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