Ube isn’t just an eye-catching Filipino food, it’s also a rich source of essential nutrients and vitamins. Hearing that ube is healthy may cause native Filipinos to raise an eyebrow since the traditional form of ube (ube halaya) is a thick sweet jam-packed with sugars. It’s also commonly found in ice cream, cakes, cheesecake, donuts and other popular desserts—not your typical healthy foods. However, ube in its purest form is simply a purple yam predominantly grown in the Philippines and is full of health benefits.
Ube Nutrition Facts (1 cup of cooked ube)
- Calories: 140
- Carbs: 27g
- Calcium: 2% of DV (Daily Value)
- Fat: 0.1g
- Fiber: 4g
- Iron: 4% of DV
- Potassium: 13.5% of DV
- Protein: 1g
- Sodium: 0.83% of DV
- Vitamin A: 4% of DV
- Vitamin C: 40% of DV
Ube Health Benefits
Purple fruits and vegetables are known to provide a range of health benefits. These Philippine yams contain anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that not only give this vegetable its vibrant purple hue, but provide antioxidant properties as well. This includes the reduction of symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as asthma and colitis.
Can help reduce blood pressure
Inflammation has been scientifically linked to high blood pressure. Because the antioxidants in ube help reduce inflammation, they have also shown to reduce elevated blood pressure due to the improved dilation of the innermost layer of arterial blood vessels. In other words, since the blood vessels can better expand, the blood flow is improved resulting in a reduction of blood pressure.
Can help lower blood sugar
Not only can ube help with the reduction of high blood pressure, it can also help reduce high blood sugar in those who have type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids help with blood sugar regulation while its low glycemic index can help inhibit spikes in blood sugar.
Prevents cell damage
Since ube is high in antioxidants including vitamin C, it also prevents free radicals from damaging cells. (Free radicals can be produced by fried foods, alcohol, smoking tobacco, air pollution and many other harmful substances and chemicals.) This can contribute to the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.
Can help improve gut health
Because purple yams are complex carbohydrates, they can help with digestion. They can also increase the good bacteria in your gut, which creates a healthy gut microbiome. This may even aid in preventing more serious digestive diseases like inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.