Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Yams Reduce Your Risk for Developing Heart Disease

TheBUZZ Yams reduce your risk for developing heart disease.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Yams contain potassium, fiber, and vitamin C … all of which can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

WHAT WE KNOW

Yams are full of nutrients that aid in heart health. Some of the main nutrients that promote heart health include fiber and potassium. Potassium aids in the reduction of blood pressure by blunting the effects of sodium, and the amount of sodium in the American diet is a growing concern. Minerals that contradict the effects of sodium, such as potassium and calcium, have gained much popularity in heart disease prevention. So, foods that are rich in potassium are key in a heart-healthy diet.

Fiber reduces your risk for heart disease by binding to circulating cholesterol and removing it from the body. Yams and other fruits and vegetables are packed full of fiber, making them great heart-healthy foods.

Another way yams promote heart health is their vitamin C content. Vitamin C has several functions in the body that affect heart health: strengthening blood vessels, speeding healing, and boosting your immune system.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

Elevated levels of sodium have been associated with the development of high blood pressure. So any nutrients that combat the effects of sodium are very important for the management of blood pressure; this is a function of potassium in the body. A low intake of potassium coupled with a high intake of sodium is one of the leading causes of hypertension. The daily recommendation for potassium is 4,700 mg. One-half cup of yams provides 456 mg of potassium (that’s 10% of your daily recommendation!).

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (D.A.S.H.) eating plan study* found that compared to the control diet (what the average American eats), a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grain foods, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and unsalted nuts reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The D.A.S.H. diet promotes the consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain potassium but also dairy products which are rich in potassium as well.

Yams are a good source of fiber (providing 3 g per half cup) which helps to reduce blood cholesterol and, in turn, the chance of developing heart disease. One-half cup of yams also provides 8 mg of vitamin C, which is about 10% of your recommendation, depending on your sex (male: 90 mg, female: 75 mg).

OUR ADVICE

Add a little color to your dinner with a side of yams! Not only do yams promote heart health, but they’re delicious too! What? Yams aren’t your favorite? No problem! There are tons of other fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium as well.
Try some of these …

Just remember that fruits and vegetables are part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to give your body the best recipe of vitamins and minerals to promote a long life. Check out our Fruit and Vegetable Recipes to help incorporate these potassium-rich foods into your diet.

 

*D.A.S.H. Research Findings

Other Stories