When Usain Bolt won the Beijing Olympics 100 meter race his father was interviewed shortly after saying, “It is definitely the Trelawny Yam.” If he was asked about his wins in London and in Rio he would probably say the exact same thing.
The president of Jamaica’s University Of Technology added this, “Eating yams from a young age and running extensively will develop muscles. Yams include nutrients that have such effects.”
This article elaborates on potential steroidal effects that Yams may have. Luckily for Usain Bolt, it isn’t a banned substance so he can eat his heart out and break all the records he wants.
The Yams we know of in North America aren’t the Yams Usain Bolt or any of his Jamaican compatriots are eating. Regardless, sweet potatoes/yams are part of the morning-glories family. Despite being a “starchy” food, yams and sweet potatoes are high in fiber (about 4 grams per medium sweet potatoe) and are full of nutritents, including:
- Vitamin B1, B6, C
- Beta Carotene (mostly in the orange sweet potatoes)
On top of being a nutritional powerhouse eating sweet potatoes makes you feel fuller faster which is great if you’re trying to loose weight. Yes it’s a carb, but don’t get all crazy – it won’t make you fat. In fact, it’s a slow release carbohydrate with a low glycemic index providing little impact on insulin, even for those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Living in the Caribbean for the last 5 years I’ve come across the Trelawny (Usain Bolt) Yam and have eaten quite a bit of it. I love it. I don’t time my runs everyday but I do feel pretty speedy :). If there’s a store selling Caribbean food in your area I recommend you give it a try. Find out how to cook it here.
In the meantime, don’t fear the “starchy” orange fleshed America sweet potato. To get all the benefits and flavor, I suggest you:
- Bake it in the oven with the skin at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Cut it in half, add cinnamon and some grass fed butter to get some cancer fighting CLA as well as those much needed Omega3’s (or coconut oil for my vegan friends).
Eat’em up and enjoy!