Péi vegetables: apple-in-the-air lé dann soubik

The apple-in-the-air is one of the most antioxidant plants in the world. Coming from prehistoric times, this yam allowed the animal to become human. This food has great value for all of us and its consumption should be encouraged.

Originally from Africa and tropical Asia, the apple-in-the-air is also called hoffe (Dioscorea bulbifera), bulbiferous yam, or Edward apple in the Seychelles, apple-in-the-air in the island of Reunion, masako in Guyana, koko-bourik (koko-milé) in Martinique or adon in Guadeloupe.

It is a species of plant in the Dioscoreaceae family (same family as yam, sweet potato or cambar, sometimes considered an invasive species. This Yam is, in fact, a vine that grows on the soil of our tropical forests and climbs to seek light; which makes the apple-in-the-air an aerial tuber.

One of the most antioxidant plants in the world

According to a 2010 study by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, apple-in-the-air is one of the most antioxidant plants among the 56 studied in this study.

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals thus reducing oxidative stress which is, the result of an imbalance between excessive amount of free radicals. Oxidative stress is implicated in many degenerative diseases.

Mention may be made, among others, of atherosclerosis, coronary diseases, aging and cancers. Minimizing oxidative stress thus promotes our physical condition and, at the same time, prevents certain degenerative diseases.

Yam tubers are a good source of calories. They are quite rich in vitamin C and promote metabolism. They also contain vitamin B1 (thiamin) and B3 (niacin) which help assimilate carbohydrates, as well as iron, which is excellent for the blood. They contain 25% starch (as much as potatoes) and 7% protein (4 times more than cassava). Their antioxidant content would explain their beneficial action on health.

At the origins of humanity

In a 2011 publication, “Yam plant food miracle”, published by the association Energie Environnement, we can learn that, according to the latest scientific discoveries, yams were on the menu of prehistoric men and, probably, even of their hominid ancestors. several million years ago.

Taking us back to the very origins of humanity, the apple-in-the-air is a food that has everything to seduce lovers of the Paleolithic diet. The hypothesis is, in fact, put forward that the first cooked food would be a variety of yam which has the characteristic of producing aerial tubers (Dioscorea bulbifera), the famous apple in the air; reminding us of the myth of the forbidden fruit.

The yam family has between 200 and 600 varieties in the world, of which about 10 are commonly cultivated. We know 2 or 3 of them in Réunion: the Cambar (Dioscorea alata and probably D. pentaphylla) and the pomme-en-l’air (Dioscorea bulbifera) which, locally, is also called shoot in the air, potato in the air or hoffe.

In traditional Malagasy medicine, the dried pulp of the apple-in-the-air is used against wounds, wounds, boils. In India, they are also used to treat ulcers, haemorrhoids, syphilis and dysentery.

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