If there’s one thing that can bring us back to a fond memory or comforting feeling, it’s an aroma. Of the five tanmatras (senses—hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell) of Ayurveda, the sense of smell corresponds to the earth element and nose. So it stands to reason that root vegetables, such as yams, are a food that feed our need for feeling comforted, warm, and grounded; not to mention that they smell great when they are being cooked.
If ever you are feeling bloated or gassy, nervous, or have anxiety, dry skin, or constipation, these are some signs of vata (space and air) vitiation, meaning that an abundance of space and air have over-accumulated and taken up residence in you. In winter, it’s easy to become vata vitiated because winter is the vata season, with its cold, light, and dry qualities. These qualities provoke an excess of vata in the body and mind.
Yams to the rescue! With their warm, sweet, unctuous, soothing juiciness, yams are a vital vegetable for vata balancing. They are easy on digestion, and possess vitamin A, C, potassium, and beta carotene, acting to increase lymphatic circulation. Yams are a warm hug on a cold winter day.