Yam is a staple food in many tropical countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.
Yams have brown tough skins and the flesh can vary in colour — anything from white to yellow to purple — depending on the variety.
Although it is uncertain from which country yams originated, yams are one of the oldest food plants known. They have been cultivated since 50,000 BC in Africa and Asia. Currently, yam grow in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of North and South America.
Yams are members of the Dioscoreae family. There are about 200 species of yams in the world. Specific types of yams include Dioscorea alata (Hawaiian yam), Dioscorea batatas (Korean yam) and Dioscorea esculenta (sweet yam).
Yams are a good source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C and B6, manganese and potassium, which controls blood pressure.
Extracts from wild yams can help provide a natural alternative to hormonal replacement in women who have reached the age of menopause and also lowers the risk of osteoporosis (weakness of bones to a point where they break easily).