Health benefits of Cocoyam

Cocoyam also called Xanthosoma sagittifolium is native to West Africa. It can be roasted, cooked, fried, baked, pounded and milled. In Nigeria, it can serve as a thickener for soups. There are several health benefits that can be derived from eating cocoyam that can be seen below.

It possesses high nutritional values when compared with others like cassava and yam. It contains vitamins such as vitamins B, C, E, minerals such as thiamine, calcium, niacin, manganese, copper, magnesium, riboflavin, and protein. It is a great source of dietary fiber and starch that can generate energy to the body. The benefits include:

1. Aids digestion:

The starch in cocoyam is quite small and can aid easy food digestion. It is also a good source of dietary fiber that supports gastrointestinal health and help prevent excess gas, cramping, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. It is also gluten free and therefore suitable for those allergic to gluten.

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2. High in antioxidants:

Cocoyams are high in antioxidants which help to boost the immune system and help eliminate free radicals from the system. Cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant in cocoyam is directly related to a lowered chance of developing both lung and oral cancers.

3. Reduces symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

Cocoyam is a good source of vitamin B6 which is beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis as it can help curb pain and control aches in the muscles and joints.

4. Maintains blood pressure:

Cocoyam contains a good amount of potassium, an essential mineral for health. It enables healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body and also help to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries thereby, maintaining blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

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5. Improves the immune system:

Cocoyam contains vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system by creating more white blood cells to help defend the body from harmful pathogens and agents.

6. Improves muscle strength:

Cocoyam consists of about 615mg potassium. Being high source of potassium, it can help decrease muscle cramps and improve muscle strength.

7. Improves vision:

Antioxidants like beta-carotene and crpytoxanthin can help to improve vision by preventing free radicals from attacking ocular cells and causing age related macular degeneration or cataracts.

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8. Promotes dental health:

Cocoyam consists of phosphorus which is essential for maintaining teeth and gum health. It supports tooth enamel and also helps prevent or treat tooth decay.

9. Prevents anemia:

Cocoyam is a good source of iron and therefore can prevent anemia and boost circulation throughout the body. They also help in the production of red blood cells.

10. Improves brain function:

Cocoyam consists of vitamin B1 which is also known as thiamine. This helps to increase focus, fight chronic stress and prevent memory loss. In all, it can help to enhance learning and retaining capabilities.

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