7 Benefits of Purple Yam (Ube), and How It Differs from Taro
This tuberous root vegetable originates from Southeast Asia and is often confused with taro root. An indigenous staple of the Philippines, it's now cultivated and enjoyed worldwide.
Purple yams have greyish-brown skins and purple flesh, and their texture becomes soft like a potato when cooked.
They have a sweet, nutty flavor and are used in a variety of dishes ranging from sweet to savory.
What's more, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which may benefit your health.
Here are 7 surprising health benefits of purple yam.
1. Highly Nutritious
The purple yam (ube) is a starchy root vegetable that's a great source of carbs, potassium, and vitamin C.
One cup (100 grams) of cooked ube provides the following (1):
- Calories: 140
- Carbs: 27 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sodium: 0.83% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 13.5% of the DV
- Calcium: 2% of the DV
- Iron: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 40% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 4% of the DV
In addition, they are rich in powerful plant compounds and antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which give them their vibrant hue.
What's more, purple yams are rich in vitamin C, which helps keep your cells healthy, boosts iron absorption, and protects your DNA from damage (5).
Purple yams are starchy root vegetables that are rich in carbs, potassium, vitamin C, and phytonutrients, all of which are important for maintaining good health.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Purple yams are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and vitamin C.
Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals (6 Trusted Source).
Free radical damage is linked to many chronic conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders (7 Trusted Source).
Purple yams are a great source of vitamin C, which acts as a potent antioxidant in your body.
In fact, studies have shown that consuming more vitamin C can increase your antioxidant levels by up to 35%, protecting against oxidative cell damage (8 Trusted Source, 9 Trusted Source, 10 Trusted Source).
The anthocyanins in purple yams are also a type of polyphenol antioxidant.
Promising research suggests that two anthocyanins in purple yams — cyanidin and peonidin — may reduce the growth of certain types of cancers, including:
- Colon cancer. One study showed up to a 45% reduction in tumors in animals treated with dietary cyanidin, while another test-tube study found that it slowed the growth of human cancer cells (14 Trusted Source, 15).
- Lung cancer. A test-tube study observed that peonidin slowed the growth of lung cancer cells (16 Trusted Source).
- Prostate cancer. Another test-tube study noted that cyanidin reduced the number of human prostate cancer cells (17 Trusted Source).
That said, these studies used concentrated amounts of cyanidin and peonidin. Thus, it's unlikely that you would reap the same benefits from eating whole purple yams.
Purple yams are a great source of anthocyanins and vitamin C, both of which are powerful antioxidants. They have been shown to protect against cell damage and cancer.
3. May Help Manage Blood Sugar
The flavonoids in purple yams have been shown to help lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes.
Obesity and inflammation caused by oxidative stress increase your risk of insulin resistance, poor blood sugar control, and type 2 diabetes (18 Trusted Source).
Insulin resistance is when your cells don't respond properly to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for maintaining your blood sugar control.
One test-tube study observed that flavonoid-rich purple yam extracts reduced oxidative stress and insulin resistance by protecting insulin-producing cells in the liver (19).
In addition, a study in 20 rats found that administering them higher amounts of purple yam extract lowered appetite, encouraged weight loss, and improved blood sugar control (20).
Finally, another study reported that a purple yam supplement reduced the rate of blood sugar absorption in rats with elevated levels, resulting in improved blood sugar control (21).
This is likely due in part to purple yams' low glycemic index (GI). The GI, which ranges from 0–100, is a measure of how fast sugars are absorbed into your bloodstream.
The flavonoids in purple yams may help promote blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Also, purple yams have a low glycemic index, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes.
4. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Purple yams may have blood-pressure-lowering effects. Researchers believe this is likely due to their impressive antioxidant content (25).
A test-tube study found that purple yams contain antioxidants that may help lower blood pressure in a way similar to that of common blood-pressure-lowering medications called angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) (26).
Another test-tube study showed that the antioxidants in purple yams could prevent the conversion of angiotensin 1 to angiotensin 2, a compound responsible for elevated blood pressure (26).
While these results are promising, they were obtained in a lab. More human research is needed before concluding whether eating purple yams can lower your blood pressure.
Lab research has demonstrated the impressive blood-pressure-lowering effects of antioxidant-rich purple yam extracts. Still, more human studies are needed.
5. May Improve Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways.
One review of 40 studies found that the occurrence of asthma in adults was associated with low vitamin A intake. In fact, those with asthma were only meeting about 50% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, on average (29).
In addition, the incidence of asthma increased by 12% in those who had low dietary vitamin C intake.
Purple yams are a good source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, helping you reach your daily intake levels for these vitamins.
Antioxidants like vitamins A and C in purple yams may help reduce the risk and symptoms of asthma.
6. Promotes Gut Health
Purple yams may help improve your gut health.
They are full of complex carbs and a good source of resistant starch, a type of carb that is resistant to digestion.
One test-tube study showed that resistant starch from purple yams increased the number of Bifidobacteria, a type of beneficial gut bacteria, in a simulated large bowel environment (30 Trusted Source).
They may even help reduce your risk of certain conditions, such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They also produce healthy fatty acids and B vitamins (32 Trusted Source, 33 Trusted Source, 34 Trusted Source, 35 Trusted Source).
Furthermore, one study in mice found that purple yams had anti-inflammatory effects and decreased symptoms of colitis (36 Trusted Source).
However, more research is needed to know if eating whole purple yams has anti-inflammatory effects in humans with colitis.
The resistant starch in yams helps increase the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are healthy bacteria that play a vital role in maintaining your gut health.
7. Very Versatile
Purple yams have a wide range of culinary uses.
These versatile tubers can be boiled, mashed, fried, or baked. They are often used in a variety of dishes in place of other starchy vegetables, including:
In the Philippines, purple yams are made into a flour called ube, which is used in many desserts.
Furthermore, ube can be processed into a powder that can be used to make vibrantly colored foods, including rice, candy, cakes, desserts, and jams.
Purple yams can be converted into various forms, making them one of the most versatile vegetables in the world.
Purple Yam vs. Taro Root
Taro root (Colocasia esculenta) is a root vegetable native to Southeast Asia.
Often called the potato of the tropics, it varies in color from white to grey to lavender and has a mildly sweet taste.
Purple yams and taro root look similar, hence the confusion between the two. Nonetheless, when stripped of their skins, they are different colors.
Taro is grown from the tropical taro plant and is not one of the nearly 600 types of yams.
Taro root grows from the taro plant, and unlike purple yams, they are not a species of yam.
The Bottom Line
Purple yams are an incredibly nutritious starchy root vegetable.
Their powerful antioxidants may help reduce your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
They are tasty and versatile with a vibrant color, making them an exciting ingredient that can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Tim Radford
German scientists now know why so many fish are so vulnerable to ever-warming oceans. Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning.
Nearing the Brink<p>Since <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/abundant-fish-need-cool-seas-and-protection/" target="_blank">fish in the temperate zones already experience a wide variation</a> in seasonal water temperatures, it hasn't been obvious why species such as <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/sardines-swim-into-northern-waters-to-keep-cool/" target="_blank">cod have shifted nearer the Arctic, and sardines have migrated to the North Sea</a>.</p><p>But <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-warming-spurs-marine-life-to-rapid-migration/" target="_blank">marine creatures are on the move</a>, and although there are other factors at work, including overfishing and <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/fish-cant-smell-well-in-more-acidic-seas/" target="_blank">the increasingly alarming changes in ocean chemistry</a>, thanks to ever-higher levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, temperature change is part of the problem.</p><p>The latest answer, Dr Dahlke and his colleagues report in the journal <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aaz3658" target="_blank">Science</a>, is that many fish may already be living near the limits of their thermal tolerance.</p><p>The temperature safety margins during the moments of spawning and embryo might be very precise, and over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, marine and freshwater species have worked out just what is best for the next generation. Rapid global warming upsets this equilibrium.</p>
By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach
The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.
When a neurologist examined him, Tom was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes abnormal sensation and weakness due to delays in sending signals through the nerves. Usually reversible, in severe cases it can cause prolonged paralysis involving breathing muscles, require ventilator support and sometimes leave permanent neurological deficits. Early recognition by expert neurologists is key to proper treatment.
We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.
Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.
Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.
To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.
Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.
The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.
Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.
Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?
The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.
Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.
It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.
Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.
Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.
Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.
Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.
Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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By Jake Johnson
Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.
"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."
The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."
In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."
"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."
Today the 6 Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces are unveiling final language. The Climate Task Force accomplished a gr… https://t.co/gz3broq2qe— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1594240617.0
The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.
Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."
"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."
Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."
"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.
On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.
Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.
"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."
We rein in #pharma's greed by: 1) Allowing Medicare to FINALLY negotiate Rx drugs FOR ALL AMERICANS 2) Using Rx d… https://t.co/6k9iUCLMp7— Abdul El-Sayed (@Abdul El-Sayed)1594238411.0
Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."
Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."
"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."
"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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