NutritionHealth Benefits of New Zealand Yam (Oca)

Health Benefits of New Zealand Yam (Oca)

New Zealand yam is called that way due to the fact that it’s so popular in that island nation situated in the Pacific Ocean. However, the root vegetable is actually native to the Andes in South America where it is referred to as “oca”, and where it is the second most widely cultivated root vegetable, with potato being the first.

Just like potato, New Zealand yam is a nutritional powerhouse. It doesn’t come as a surprise why it is loaded with vitamins and minerals since it grows below ground level.

However, it’s not just the nutritional content that makes New Zealand yam similar to potato — it can be cooked and eaten just like a spud. New Zealand yam can be boiled, fried, baked and roasted. And just like your good old potato, you may enjoy New Zealand yam mashed, too.

New Zealand yam can also be turned into flour so that it can be used for baking purposes. By the way, the flowers, young shoots and leaves may be consumed as well!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits New Zealand yam offers:

Increased Energy

There are a couple of reasons why the consumption of New Zealand yam can provide your body with good amounts of energy. First, it has carbohydrates. But there is no need to stay away from it because the carbohydrates it supplies is the healthy kind. Second, New Zealand yam has B vitamins that help turn food into fuel.

Controlled Blood Sugar

New Zealand yam is an excellent source of fiber, and this means that it’s so beneficial for people who have diabetes. Fiber in this root vegetable helps regulate the release of sugar into the bloodstream, keeping the levels of sugar in it from getting too high. New Zealand yam is also ideal for pre-diabetics.

Regulated Bowel Movement

Being rich in fiber, the addition of New Zealand yam in the diet on a regular basis can help in keeping constipation at bay. This is especially true if plenty of fluids and lots of physical activity are paired with its consumption. As a bonus, New Zealand yam can help in lowering your risk of hemorrhoids (piles) and colorectal cancer.

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Improved Heart Health

Fiber in New Zealand yam is good for your heart. It’s for the fact that the said indigestible form of fiber helps drive bad cholesterol out of the body, as well as unclog arteries. As a result, your heart can be kept from working too hard pumping blood to your various tissues and organs.

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Lowered Blood Pressure

Here’s another reason why eating New Zealand yam is beneficial for your heart: it helps keep high blood pressure at bay. One of the nutrients found in the root vegetable is potassium, which has the ability to dilate the blood vessels. As a result, blood can flow so much freely and thus keep the blood pressure from getting high.

Prevented Anemia

The heart perks offered by New Zealand yam doesn’t end here. According to experts, it is something that supplies your body with iron. The said mineral is important for the production of red blood cells, which are components of your blood that help distribute oxygen to your cells.

Strengthened Bones

Consuming New Zealand yam on a regular basis also helps in saving you from ending up with osteoporosis. It’s because the root vegetable is a good source of calcium. Earlier, it was mentioned that New Zealand yam also has potassium, which actually encourages your bones to absorb calcium in the blood.

Optimized Immunity

Last but not least, New Zealand yam can help save you from frequently having a bout of the common cold, flu and other types of infection. That’s because it is an excellent source of vitamin C, something that helps strengthen your immune system. By the way, vitamin C is also essential for healthy and young-looking skin.

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