What Food Promotes Digestive Health and Boosts Immunity?

Fresh yam tubers isolated on white background

Discover the Remarkable Health Benefits of Nagaimo

Nagaimo, a Chinese yam or “Ma” in Korean, boasts centuries of traditional medicinal use, particularly for diabetes, diarrhea, and asthma. Rich in nutrients, it regulates blood sugar, fat absorption, and cholesterol while aiding hypertension. Its distinctive resistant starches ferment in the large intestine, fostering good gut bacteria, improving glycemic control, and potentially reducing colon cancer risk.

Nagaimo is one of the Qi tonic Chinese herbs

Nagaimo is a Chinese yam, called “Ma” in Korean. This vegetable has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine. The primary uses of Chinese medicine are for diabetes, diarrhea, and asthma. The Chinese yam is a highly nutritious vegetable that has many health benefits. This crop has the ability to regulate blood sugar, control fat uptake, and cholesterol levels, and it can also help people suffering from hypertension. Studies have also shown that the Chinese yam reduces serum levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, often called “bad” cholesterol)

The yam has a high level of resistant starches. To learn what resistant starch is, it is important to understand what normal starches do in your body. Regular starches are turned into glucose when digested. What makes resistant starches so unique is the fact that it is not digested in the small intestine, this means they will not raise the levels of glucose in the blood. Additionally, it begins to ferment in the large intestine which promotes the formation of good gut bacteria and diminishes the bad bacteria in the gut. Increasing the healthy gut bacteria has the ability to improve glycemic control. Some other foods containing resistant starch include plantains, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, and cooked rice. 

 

It is important to understand if you are working with the Chinese yam, it can cause skin irritation. There is calcium oxalate in the skin of the nagaimo which can cause itching on the hands. To best protect yourself, wear gloves when touching the skin of the yam. Another special characteristic of nagaimo is that it can be eaten raw or cooked. The yam is comprised of about 65% starch, 9% protein, and 1.2% fiber. It also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. It is rich in antioxidants which improve the immune system by regulating inflammation. 

 

Interestingly, several studies have reported that nagaimo has anti-tumor effects due to the creation of good bacteria in the gut. The probiotic effects improve colonic health which can in turn reduce the risk of colon cancer. In conclusion, this powerful superfood has many different health benefits that have been studied for decades. My favorite way to incorporate nagaimo into my diet is through soup. In the winter I enjoy warming it up, and in the summer, I eat it cooled down. We hope you will try the nagaimo soup recipe, and experiment with different ways to add nagaimo into your diet!

 

Unlocking the Potential: Nagaimo Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

200 grams of Nagaimo (Chinese yam)
6 tablespoons of milk
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
A pinch of salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Shield your hands with gloves to avert irritation from the yam’s fine hairs.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the Nagaimo, also known as Chinese yam.
  3. Peel the yam to remove its brown skin.
    Dice the yam into small cubes, roughly ½ inch thick.
  4. Steam the yam for 7-8 minutes. (Note: Place the yam above the water, not directly in it.)
    Test the tenderness with a fork; if needed, steam for a few more minutes until it resembles the texture of a cooked potato.
  5. Combine the steamed yam, 6 tablespoons of milk, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and a pinch of salt in a blender.
  6. Blend the mixture until smooth and creamy.

 

Embrace the wealth of health benefits that Nagaimo offers, backed by centuries of tradition and contemporary research. Whether through its regulation of blood sugar, fostering gut health, or fortifying immunity, this superfood promises holistic wellness. A delectable approach to incorporating nagaimo into your diet lies in the enticing nagaimo soup recipe.

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