Yam Porridge Nutritional and Health Benefits

Published on: June 27, 2022 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

Yam porridge which is usually made with yam has lots of health benefits. Yams are a group of tuber crops of Discorea species and variety. They are root crops with a high starch content and high level of fibre. This food crop is native to Africa and has a rich cultural significance amongst the Ibos in Nigeria. 

Yam porridge
Yam porridge - Photo credit: Sisi Jemimah

In Nigeria, yam porridge is a meal of high regard in many homes. It is the most respected Yam meal after the pounded yam and one of the most beneficial nutritionally. Garnished with Sliced pepper, vegetables, palm oil, fish, minced beef, and onions and seasoned to taste, Yam Porridge is yam empowered. This garnishing is what makes yam porridge the most nutritious meal that can ever be made with yam. 

Yam Porridge provides the body with easy and seamless availability of the nutrients contained in Yam.

Below are 7 nutritional and health benefits of yam porridge

1. Yam porridge provides a high value of energy

The calorie content of yam is almost unrivalled. For every one gram of yam, there is about one and a half calorie to be obtained. This makes yam porridge a very healthy source of energy necessary for the daily wellness of the body. Yam Porridge makes the energy level higher due to the presence of palm oil and the other condiments used to garnish the meal. 

2. Yam porridge aids the digestion process

When yam is cooked into porridge, it becomes easy to eat and swallow and therefore easier for the body to absorb its nutrients. This is quite amazing for a crop as hard as yam. But this wholesome meal also contains a high fibre content necessary for effective bowel movement.

Oils aid the absorption of food, so the palm oil used in preparing porridge helps the body digest the meal. More to this, when vegetables are used to garnish the porridge, it adds some fibre and more nutritional value to the food generally. Therefore, with the porridge, you can finally say "NO" to indigestion and constipation.

3. It helps to optimize the functions of the Brain: Almost every source of knowledge and information attests to this health benefit usually accrued to yam. Diosgenin which is the principal compound present in yam has been found to improve and repair memory dysfunction. Yam is recommended for growing children and elderly people to improve their mental capacity. 

4. Regulation of blood sugar

The onions, beef, palm oil and vegetables which are often a trademark of a typical homemade Nigerian yam porridge can help sustain the body's blood sugar. Inorganic minerals found in these vegetables (such as iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and thiamine) can aid in regulating blood sugar levels. Along with the rich antioxidant properties of these minerals, yam porridge definitely tops the list of healthy Nigerian foods. 

5. It helps maintain skin freshness and anti-ageing: This is one of the most surprising benefits of yam porridge on this list. Yam is a well-recognized source of vitamins. These vitamins are potent antioxidants. They help in cell and tissue formation which ultimately leads to clear, fresh and healthy skin. Therefore, an increase in the intake of yam porridge along with vegetables can be added to one's skincare routine

6. Increase in body mass

Fish and Meat aside are excellent sources of protein. But do you know that yam is also a source of protein? Yam porridge empowered with meat and fish can therefore be an all-inclusive meal for bodybuilding. Protein is a nutrient which aids in cell and tissue formation which are of inestimable importance in body mass increase. A friendly reminder that yam also contains carbs which also help in muscle mass building.

7. They aid hormonal control and balance

Diosgenin which is found in yam and yam meals is a compound predominantly found in medications used to control female hormones. It is strongly indicated in hormonal imbalance and very essential in controlling the levels of progesterone in the body. This, therefore, shows that a yam meal can be used in managing postmenopausal symptoms in women. It does this by stimulating the gonads in the production of estrone and estradiol. 

Advantages of yam porridge over plain yam

1. It is easier to digest: More time is spent on cooking the porridge, hence it becomes softer and easier to swallow and digest. 

2. It is more nutritious: This is due to the added garnishment to the yam. This leads to increased health benefits compared to plain white yam.

3. It is more delicious to taste: Thanks to the numerous additives, yam porridge becomes sweeter to the taste buds, and more physically inviting to consume than the plain boiled or fried yam. 

Isolated compounds of yam

1. Vitamins

2. Proteins

3. Fibre

4. Inorganic minerals: potassium, iron etc

5. Carbohydrates

6. Carbs

As seen in this article, yam porridge is not just a delicacy common to our homes and villages, it contains immense nutrients which are essential to the general wellness of the body. So get your yam, slice it, get your pepper, onions, vegetables, fish, beef, and palm oil, and enjoy the wholesome content of good health that yam porridge provides.