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‘Yams & Sweet Potatoes’

The Difference- For Those Who Care

In the spirit of the upcoming (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I’d share a bit about one of my favourite festive foods.

Considered tubers or root vegetables (exactly which one, I’m unsure as the literature is somewhat contradictory), these starch carbs are colourful, flavourful and can be used in many ways.

Yams and sweet potatoes are great in soups, baking, straight up roasted, BBQ’d, in salads, desserts, integrated into pancakes, purees and probably good for a few other things.

Here’s the breakdown:

“Real yams are entirely different root vegetables [than sweet potatoes] that are more like yucca in texture and flavor. They have bumpy, tough brown skin (that looks almost tree trunk-like) with starchy, not sweet flesh. Yams are more easily compared to the texture and flavor of white russet potatoes (with more fiber and complex carbs) and are best boiled and served alongside hearty braised meats. The neutrally-flavored yams are often used in Caribbean or West African cooking, and are difficult to find in the U.S.; sometimes you can pick them up at specialty grocery stores.”-

“To make life even more complicated”, the above article continues, “there are a handful of varieties of sweet potatoes: orange, white, and purple.”

If you want to know more about these differences, check out this article:

Besides looks, the two also differ in nutrition content.

Sweet potatoes are (clearly) higher in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C and they are also lower in calories than yams. While both have reasonable amounts of various vitamin B’s, yams offer a more potassium while sweet potato wins the in the calcium department.

Further, “Yam is higher in fiber and resistant starches, which contributes to our digestive health. They prevent constipation, feed our healthy gut bacteria, and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and inflammation. Besides, they help with weight lose, since fiber turns into a gel, which feels stomach and keeps us full for a long time. Sweet potatoes, on the other side, help to gain weight,since they are good source of complex starches, vitamins, minerals and proteins, and are easy to digest.”-

Whatever you choose, know that both of these items each offer their own unique properties for health. Both are great starch carb options for any eating plan and did you know that yams are great for hormonal health in women?

Not all carbs act the same when metabolized in the body so if you’re on a journey to ‘eat better’, consider adding one of both of these to your diet.

Happy few-days-early Thanksgiving!


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