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Posted Aug 23 2008 11:40pm

I love yams and was excited to read a 2005 study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition about yams.

Taiwanese researchers fed postmenopausal women yams (Dioscorea alata) for 30 days which resulted in improvements in hormone and cholesterol levels.

The investigators concluded that yams "might reduce the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women."

I read another account of a women with severe menopausal symptoms — irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, depression, dryness and fuzzy thinking.

Somewhere she had heard that yams could help support hormones. After only five days of eating yams (one half per day, depending on size), she says that she stopped having hot flashes and night sweats altogether! Her thinking cleared up, and her depression began to lift.

In the U.S., sweet potatoes and yams are often confused, but they are from completely different plants. Sweet potatoes are also nutritious, but do not seem to have the same effect on hormones, so make sure you look closely at the supermarket produce labels.

It seems that more studies are needed to determine if yams can help all women with severe menopausal symptoms, but eating yams certainly cannot hurt you. Yams are filled with vitamins A, C, B6 as well as potassium and manganese. Try them baked with a little butter and brown sugar or oven fried( cut into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper then roast in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes or until crispy).

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