13 October, 2021
Talk superfoods, and most of us would start with broccoli, berries, sweet potato, etc. However, one superfood closer home is neither a popular vegetable nor known as a superfood. Instead, it is elephant yam, also known as suran or jimikand. It is a true superfood that provides our body with many essential nutrients and prevents many health issues. It also helps treat many common ailments. In addition, its plant parts form part of traditional Ayurvedic preparations for many health issues.
However, this is not a commonly used vegetable in many households. Perhaps, the look of it or the rigmarole of cleaning and cooking it is keeping it away. It does make your hands itch at times when you wash them. Once cooked properly, there are no such issues, and it is safe for consumption. Suran is an all-rounder vegetable. It is versatile and can be used in curries, fried into chips, or stir-fried for a tasty dish. From boosting hormones to helping with digestive issues, building cardiovascular health, and preventing conditions like diabetes, suran helps immensely.
It is one of the best immunity-boosting foods, as it is a detoxifying agent and contains probiotics. There are also antibacterial compounds in it that help keep infections at bay. This humble veggie can work wonders, especially for people suffering from obesity, heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes. In many parts of India, suran is part of the rehabilitation diet for patients and even new mothers.
Wonder Veggie for Digestive Issues
It is a wonder veggie for solving many digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It provides for gut-friendly, healthy bacteria generation that helps improve digestion and appetite. The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of yam help immensely with gut health. Abdominal cramping, ulcers, worms, bloating, and flatulence are just a few of the gut issues that yam helps heal. It contains lots of fibre that can help with improved bowel movement and prevents constipation as well.
Helps Improve Cardiovascular Health
This superfood contains Omega-3 fatty acids and helps lower the bad cholesterol levels in the body. It is widely known as a slimming food. It contains little fat with high levels of fibre that are helpful in body weight management. It also has anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent clots in veins and arteries. All these attributes together contribute to making it a heart-friendly food.
Yam is loaded with antioxidants that not just slow down ageing but also helps prevent cancers of the colon, lung, and oral cavities. The fibre and Vitamin A content in yam helps in this property. In addition, vitamin C content works for the prevention of issues and boosting immunity.
With a low glycemic index, yam is one of those few veggies that diabetic patients can eat in peace. It also has some components that help with insulin promotion that makes it a diabetes-friendly food.
Yam is loaded with many essential nutrients like Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Phosphorous. These, along with Omega-3 fatty acids, improve brain functioning, thus improving memory and concentration.
Works as a Coolant
Yam also has immense cooling properties by reducing blood pressure and promoting the free flow of blood. In addition, some of its components have sedative-like properties that help in this cause as well.
Elephant’s foot also has many skin-friendly nutrients like beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6. Coupled with the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids, these act as anti-ageing agents and keep the skin young and glowing. It also comes loaded with many antioxidants that help in this cause. These not just promote hair growth but also prevent greying of hair.
Used as Piles Treatment
Dried yam powder is used for treating piles and chronic constipation in traditional treatments. Known as suran vataka, this has been a time-tested treatment for haemorrhoids in Ayurveda. However, a note of caution is to use this medication only under the guidance of a qualified doctor.
Almost all parts of the yam plant - the roots, leaves, tubers, flowers, fruits, etc. are consumed. It is the root that we consume as yam. It is readily available in most vegetable shops and supermarkets in small pieces that are easy to use up for one meal. You could also purchase the whole root, and it can be stored without refrigeration for a few days without getting spoilt.
The mud should be cleaned thoroughly, and then it can be cut into pieces and kept in water till use. Wash a few times to ensure no mud particles remain, and it can be pressure-cooked for use. Alternately, it can also be stir-fried on low flames or deep-fried into chips. Use Kokum or tamarind, if using, in gravies to counter the irritant properties.
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