African yam bean is a plant that produces both tubers and bean seeds (legumes). African yam bean is scientifically known as Sphenostylis stenocarpa. The plant is native to Ethiopia but has spread to other parts of the continent. The part that is enjoyed depends on the location. For example, in Nigeria, the plant is grown for its bean seeds while in countries like Ghana, Togo, and Zimbabwe, it is grown for its tubers. It is known by many local names. Including jirijiri.
Although the African yam bean has been cultivated for a long, long time, it is only just being studied to determine its health benefits. As far as nutrients go, the African yam bean is packed with a lot, including carbohydrates, protein, zinc, fat, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, and so on. With a well-stacked nutritional profile, the African yam bean is a very healthy food crop.
So today, we would be looking at some of the health benefits of the African yam bean.
1. It Promotes Good Digestion
African yam bean contains a high amount of insoluble fibre, which helps to ease digestion. This allows easy movement of the food and adds bulk to stool, making it easier to pass out waste. Another good thing about this is that it prevents indigestion, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other gastrointestinal diseases.
2. It Helps With Weight Loss
Another benefit of the African yam bean is that it can help you lose weight. This is because it contains soluble fibre, which makes it more satisfying. When you include African yam bean in your daily diet, you would eat less during the day and you would always feel more satisfied. This makes it great for those who are planning to lose weight. Rather than go on a hunger strike, which is always difficult to stick to, just eat more of African yam bean.
3. It Is Good For Diabetics
People who have high blood sugar would appreciate the African yam bean as it does not cause an increase in their blood sugar levels. This is because it is a low glycemic index food. Low glycemic index food is foods with complex carbohydrates that have to be broken down slowly. This slows the digestion process and does not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.
4. It Reduces The Risks Of Hypertension
African yam bean is rich in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that help to reduce the risks of hypertension or high blood pressure. They do this by relaxing the blood vessels, which helps to lower the blood pressure. This makes it a great meal choice for someone that is diabetic.
5. It Gives You Stronger and Healthier Bones
Eating African yam bean would make your bones stronger and healthier. This is because it is rich in calcium and phosphorous, two minerals that increase bone strength and density. This makes it particularly great for those with osteoporosis.
6. It Is Rich In Antioxidants
African yam bean contains flavonoids and other antioxidants that help to fight free radicals from your body. These free radicals infiltrate your cells and could even turn them cancerous. Antioxidants remove these free radicals from your body, keeping your body healthy.
7. Packed Amino Acids and Proteins
A 1995 study analzyed the amino acids and the fatty acids content of African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa). The study found out that plant contained the useful quantities of most of the essential amino acids. The tubers of African yam bean are higher in protein than the yam been seeds.