Often mistaken for sweet potatoes, the red yam has a number of uses. You can eat them roasted or incorporate them into soups and casseroles, like yams topped with marshmallows, which is popular at Thanksgiving dinner. You can often find red yams, also known as garnet yams, in grocery stores and specialty markets. This fat-free vegetable features a range of nutritional value and contains fiber as well.
Calories and Protein
A serving of one medium red yam -- 130 grams or 4.5 ounces -- adds 130 calories to your daily meal plan. If you eat a red yam as part of a meal, consider serving this vegetable roasted without adding butter to keep the calories and fat low. Add a portion of lean meat, such as fish or poultry, and a green vegetable to make it a balanced meal. Combining red yams with meat can also boost protein, as you will not consume much in one red yam -- each serving provides 2 grams, little of the 46 to 56 grams recommended for daily consumption by the Institute of Medicine.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Red yams are high in carbohydrates, containing 33 grams per serving, or 25.3 percent of the 130 grams you should eat daily. The carbohydrates in red yams serve as a fuel source, keeping your body energized throughout the day. You’ll get 4 grams of fiber per serving of red yam, and this nutrient boosts your health in a number of ways, from helping you to lose weight by making you feel full to protecting you against diabetes.
Sugar in Red Yams
The taste of a yam trends toward sweetness, and the 7 grams of sugar that occur naturally in red yams speak to that flavor. While 7 grams of added sugar would put your dental health and weight at risk, natural sugars, such as that found in yams, generally will not harm your health according to the Cleveland Clinic. For diabetics, the yam is a smart choice, as it can help provide a sweet taste without offering the kind of sugar that can increase blood sugar levels.
Vitamins and Minerals
Those with eyesight problems or who are at risk of age-related macular degeneration should consider putting red yams in their diet, as each serving contains 440 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. According to MedlinePlus.com, vitamin A plays a significant role in eye health. Red yams are a significant source of vitamin C as well, with 30 percent of the amount you need each day to bolster your immune function. You will also get 2 percent of the calcium and iron per serving of red yam.
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Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.