Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet is crucial to remaining healthy. It ensures your body gets different vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and phytochemicals — which encompass all biologically active compounds found in plants, like flavonoids, phenolic acids, curcumin, and carotenoids. Additionally, getting your vegetables in helps to prevent nutrient deficiencies, chronic diseases, or other illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It also strengthens bones and keeps your skin, teeth, and eyes healthy. There are some experts who believe eating a rainbow of foods can even extend your lifespan! If you are looking to diversify your diet or simply want to add some more assortment to your home garden, there is no better place to begin your journey than by incorporating vegetables that start with Y!
Importance of Yellow Vegetables
Did you know the color of your fruits and vegetables greatly impacts the vitamins and nutrients they hold within them? Well, if not, now you do! To further explain their importance, carotenoids are responsible for the pigments that give yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their bright, recognizable color. Many vegetables that start with Y are yellow vegetables.
Yellow vegetables are unique because they provide the body with a plentiful number of antioxidants, as well as beta-carotene. This powerful antioxidant converts to vitamin A in the body and helps protect it from damaging free radicals, which are the primary causes of aging and degeneration. It also inhibits the skin from forming harmful UV-induced erythema, irritation, and redness. Along with beta-carotene, yellow vegetables are frequently high in vitamin A and C. Vitamin A — also known as retinol — is great for improving vision, boosting your immune system, and supporting cell growth. Your body’s tissues require vitamin C for proper growth, development, and repair.
Vitamin B complex is another component that is high in yellow vegetables that start with Y. This blend is composed of eight water-soluble B vitamins. These increase the body’s energy levels, boost happiness, and reduce anxiety, stress, or depression. Yellow vegetables are also high in potassium, iron, and soluble fiber. Having said that, let’s dive into the expansive world of vegetables that start with Y!
One of the more unknown vegetables is yacon, which is a tuberous root native to South America. Other common names for yacon include jacon, the Peruvian ground apple, and the apple of the earth. This crop grows most predominately in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. It thrives in warm, low-frost areas and does not require protection from fungi or insects due to its durable exterior. Yacon looks most similar to a potato thanks to its dark brown skin and earth spots.
The flavor is mildly floral and sweet, with notes of apple, celery, pear, and watermelon. The consistency is also similar to these aforementioned items, with a crisp, tender texture reminiscent of apples or pears. Yacon needs to be peeled before it can be eaten either raw or cooked. This is because, if left on, the thin layer of skin would impart a strong, bitter taste that would detract from the dish’s overall flavor. That being said, raw yacon can be added to smoothies or served in fruit and vegetable salads. Additionally, this root vegetable goes great in sauces, jams, and desserts, or even fried into chips! Yacon syrup is a popular sugar alternative.
Nutritional Benefits of Yacon
Yacon acted as a natural medicine for centuries, treating a wide range of chronic illnesses and other diseases. To start, the leaves of yacon contain high levels of protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic, and ferulic acids. When made into an infusion or herbal tea, all of these components contribute anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. It also helps with settling constipation, inflammation, excess weight gain, and diabetes. This is likely due to the vegetable’s high levels of natural prebiotics and probiotics, which help maintain a healthy gut and digestive system.
The potassium in it can lower blood sugar and improve liver function as well. Experts have identified yacon as a great food to consume to prevent the buildup of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” in the arteries. In the body, this can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, yacon root is rich in niacin as well as vitamins B1, B2, and C. It also contains selenium, caffeic, and phenolic compounds — all of which work to slow the body’s cell aging.
Though many people believe yams and sweet potatoes are the same thing, this is not the case. They taste very different, grow differently, and even look different! Though yams grow most oredominately in Africa, they are native to Asia and the Americas as well. They grow from slips, not seeds, sourced from the sprouts of adult yams. They grow from underground tubers and reach maturity within 9 to 12 months. There are many different varieties of yam, all varying in size from a small one-pound potato up to a record 130 pounds. Ancient civilizations as far back as 12,000 years ago utilized this crop.
Nutritional Benefits of Yams
Though often mistaken for sweet potatoes, yams are less sweet and starchier. Their flesh is also different, with colors ranging from white, yellow, purple, or pink depending on the maturity of the yam. One similarity they do share with sweet potatoes, though, is their high nutritional value. Yams are a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins. Just one cup of baked yams provides 18% of your daily necessary value (DV) of vitamin C, 9% of vitamin B5, 22% of manganese, 19% of potassium, 11% of thiamine, and 23% of copper. This is excellent for supporting bone health, growth, metabolism, and heart function. Copper, in particular, is vital for red blood cell production and iron absorption.
Yams relieve the symptoms of menopause and help lower blood cholesterol levels. This crop also contains diosgenin, which is a unique compound that promotes neuron growth in the brain. This works to enhance brain function as well as improve memory and learning abilities. Experts even conducted a 12-week study in which they analyzed the effects yam extract supplements had on people’s cognitive function. Those who were taking the supplement scored higher on a brain function test than those in the placebo group. While more studies are required to fully understand the effects yams have on the human body and brain, it will not hurt to include them in your diet!
Yam Bean (Mexican Turnip)
Yam beans actually have no relation to yams, as the name suggests. Instead, they are an exotic, ancient Mexican root vegetable that grows from jicama. The most well-known characteristic of this large, round tuber is its crunchy, white texture. If you are unfamiliar with this crop, it is most similar to the radish, though the peel of this vegetable is entirely inedible. However, in comparison to the more popular radish, the flavor is also less peppery. Yam beans actually have a taste that is sweet and watery, similar to apples, nashi, or water chestnuts.
Jicama is a great addition to many raw and heated dishes because it keeps its crunch even after cooking. It is a popular snack in Mexican cuisine. It consists of jicama sticks, lemon or lime juice, and Tajin seasoning. Adding it to stir-fries is the most popular way to serve cooked jicama. It is crucial to remember that this plant’s pods and beans are poisonous and should not be eaten. The plant’s toxic parts are ground up and used as an insecticide to prevent waste.
Nutritional Benefits of Yam Beans (Jicama)
No matter how you serve jicama, it consistently delivers a plethora of health benefits. Most of the calories in jicama come from carbs since it offers very little protein and fat. It does contain many important vitamins and minerals, though, as well as a significant amount of fiber. This vegetable contains vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Jicama is also high in antioxidants, which can decrease oxidative stress and the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and Alzheimer’s. This vegetable that starts with “y” is revered as a weight-loss-friendly food. This is mainly because it is low in calories and mostly water, but still has a high fiber content.
Yangmei is a tropical tree grown for its fruit. This crop goes by many names, including yamamomo, Chinese bayberry, red bayberry, yumberry, waxberry, or Chinese strawberry. Taking the U.S. by storm, this fruit gained popularity primarily for its remarkable taste. Most similar to strawberries and raspberries, yangmei fruits have a slightly more tart flavor profile, with a unique herbal taste mixed in. Although it is a fruit, it is important to include it on this list because this unheard-of crop packs a powerful punch full of health benefits!
One of the most prominent benefits of eating this fruit is for its high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin C. These antioxidants help protect the body against harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and increase the risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, this fruit contains vitamins B6, B9, and B12, which help to protect eyesight, prevent cataracts, and reduce inflammation. For centuries, Chinese people have utilized yangmei to aid digestion after large meals. Though the theory has not yet been proven, some believe it can even neutralize E. coli bacteria. Having said that, studies have found that eating yangmei does lower LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure levels.
This fruit is typically dried, candied, baked with, or used to flavor teas. It is also used to make infused baijiu alcohol. Yangmei-infused baijiu is great for sipping or cooking foods like shrimp and other seafood products.
Yu choy is native to and is a subspecies of the mustard family. Other names for this vegetable are “yao choy” or “choy sum” which is a Cantonese name that translates to “heart of the vegetable”. This leafy vegetable also goes by the name choi sam, or Chinese flowering cabbage. It is native to China, though it can grow in other warm climates during the spring period. Yu choy is a good source of vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and folate. It is also high in iron, fiber, and calcium.
At maturity, yu choy has a mild, bitter flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. When they are young and tender, they usually have a very sweet flavor. To prepare this leafy green vegetable, it is common practice to wash it at least three times to fully get rid of sand and dirt before cooking. Once clean, yu choy is usually steamed or sautéed for stir-fries, soups, or wraps. Others opt to serve it fresh and eat it in salads or on its own. A common pairing for yu choy is with chili beef or cashew nuts to complement its unique natural flavors.
Yardong beans are another vegetable that starts with “y”. It is a member of the Fabaceae (pea) family. Unlike other crops in this group, this vegetable is able to grow even after flowering and fruiting. They are a popular vegetable in Asia and go by different names depending on the region. This bean is known as juro- kusasagemae in Japan, dow-guak in China, sitaw in the Philippines, taao-hla-chao in Hmong, or dau-dau in Vietnam. Referred to as snake beans or asparagus beans in the United States, yardlong beans are identifiable by their long, thin shape.
Although yardlong beans are typically served cooked, they can also be eaten raw to enhance the texture of salads. Once heated, these crunchy beans develop a tender texture and a nutty flavor. This makes them perfect for use in stir-fries with shrimp and potatoes, like in Bodi, a famous West Indian dish. In Chinese cooking, they are often prepared Szechuan-style. Furthermore, yardlong beans are great in vegetable or meat stews, fried rice, curries, or chili sauces.
Nutritional Benefits of Yardlong Beans
This vegetable is one of the most popular pod vegetables in East Asian cuisines. It is closely related to black-eyed peas. Yardlong beans are an ancient, cultivated crop with a plethora of health benefits. First, they are low in calories, with 100 grams of beans containing a mere 47 calories. They also contain large quantities of soluble and insoluble fiber. These two fibers are important to include in your diet since they both help to reduce the risk of colon cancer, high LDL cholesterol, and acid reflux.
Yardlong beans are one of the best sources of folate, which is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division. This vegetable is also high in vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as minerals like iron, copper, manganese, calcium, and magnesium. These all work together to build immunity, maintain blood vessel elasticity, enhance skin complexion, and improve eyesight.
Yellow Beetroot (Golden Beet)
Grown for centuries, yellow beets are a nutrient-dense yellow vegetable. They are native to the Mediterranean Coast but also grow along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North Africa. Also known as golden beets or the “golden eye” variety, this subspecies is generally less sweet than red beets and tastes earthier. It is identifiable by its bright orange skin and golden-yellow flesh. The leaves have a peppery, bitter taste that is most similar to that of chard. Golden beets have a crunchy texture that turns soft and buttery when cooked.
Golden beets provide a whole host of benefits for the body. This yellow vegetable is a great source of fiber, potassium, and calcium. Additionally, they provide high levels of folate, manganese, beta-carotene, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Phosphorus, in particular, is helpful to include in your diet due to its ability to grow, maintain, and repair tissues and cells in the body. Along with that, golden beets provide vitamin B6 and vitamin C. This crop is a heart-healthy vegetable thanks to its high antioxidant levels, which help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Furthermore, they have been used in homeopathic recipes for centuries to treat anemia and fatigue.
Yellow Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are staple vegetables across many different cuisines. They are served raw on crudité platters and in salads. As an alternative, they are blended into healthy pasta sauces or stir-fried with meats and other vegetables. Having said that, bell peppers originated in parts of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. The pepper seeds were first brought to Europe and Asia in 1493. In the United States, bell peppers grow most predominately in Florida, California, and Georgia.
Many people know that bell peppers come in a variety of colors, but did you know the color also affects their nutritional benefits? Even though red peppers are the most nutritious, yellow bell peppers have their benefits, too! To start, yellow bell peppers are extremely high in vitamin C, with just one providing a whopping 169% of the daily recommended dietary intake. Other nutrients found in this yellow vegetable are vitamins K, E, A, folate, and potassium. Violaxanthin is the most common carotenoid antioxidant in yellow bell peppers, which is an antioxidant that exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-cancer properties.
Many people have enjoyed orange carrots, but did you know they also come in other colors as well? Yellow carrots are heirloom variants of wild carrots, which originally grew throughout Europe and Southwestern Asia. Later on, yellow carrots were introduced as a medicinal herb in North America.
Yellow carrots are a simple vegetable that go well in just about any recipe. Raw yellow carrots are great in salads, smoothies, juices, and slaws. They are quite tasty when roasted, grilled, sauteed, boiled, or baked. Yellow carrots are great add-ins for boosting the nutritional value of soups, stews, stocks, and sauces. This yellow vegetable is highly beneficial to the body due to its high levels of beta-carotene. As we have analyzed previously, this compound is crucial to enhancing vision, eye health, and skin health, as well as improving the immune system.
Yellow cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, turnips, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. Like regular white cauliflower, yellow cauliflower has the same flavor and texture. The distinction between the two is simply their nutritional value. As its color suggests, this variation contains higher levels of beta-carotene. Surprisingly, it also contains almost every necessary vitamin and mineral. It is even high in fiber.
Cooking yellow cauliflower is no different from cooking white cauliflower. This makes it the perfect candidate for steaming, roasting, frying, or pickling. This yellow vegetable can also be pureed, boiled, or steamed. It is a great vegetable to add to soups, sauces, and casseroles. Along with that, this yellow vegetable pairs well with seasonings and spices like cardamom, cumin, curry, garlic, and onion.
Yellow Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes come in a variety of colors, such as red, orange, purple, or yellow. One of the most popular varieties is the Sungold tomato, which features a vibrant yellow color. While they are small, they pack a flavorful punch! The juicy center of these thin, crisp-skinned fruits has a sweet and earthy taste.
Yellow cherry tomatoes are great sources of vitamins A and C, as well as a few different antioxidants. This versatile yellow vegetable is adaptable to fit recipes from all cuisines around the world. Their bright skin adds a bold pop of color to fresh salads, sauces, and salsas. They also make great additions to pizzas, roasted vegetable medleys, and pasta dishes.
Yellow Sweet Corn
Yellow corn, otherwise known as sweet corn, is one of the most popular vegetables that start with “y”. This crop originated in central Mexico an estimated 7,000 years ago. It came from teosinte, a wild grass that served as both food and habitat for animals like turkeys, doves, and quail. Today, the United States alone produces 354.19 million tons of corn per year. Sweet corn is harvested when its kernels are soft and tender. This is typically during the immature milk stage.
Yellow corn is made almost entirely of soft starch. It is also the most sugary of all corn varieties. While that is true, yellow corn is slightly more nutritious than white corn due to its higher levels of beta-carotene. It is also a great source of magnesium, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These components naturally improve eye function and slow macular degeneration. Many people prepare this yellow vegetable on the barbecue and serve it with butter and salt. It is a frequent addition to salads in its raw form. Corn is a versatile vegetable and can even be used in soup, risotto, salsa, and bread.
Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Pear tomatoes, otherwise known as teardrop tomatoes, are the common name for any subspecies in the indeterminate heirloom tomato family. Yellow pear tomatoes, which are the most common color variety, are sweet and have a tangy, citrusy flavor. The plants are known to vine and grow up to 8 feet tall! Similar to yellow cherry tomatoes, they contain high levels of vitamins A and C. These yellow vegetables are eaten raw, roasted, sauteed, stewed, steamed, or blended into soups, stews, and sauces.
Yellow Summer Squash (Crookneck Squash)
Though there are many different subspecies of squash, yellow summer squash is one of the best. Also known as crookneck squash, it is high in vitamins A, B6, and C. This yellow vegetable also contains folate, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally, yellow summer squash is relatively high in fiber. It is commonly served baked, sauteed, or in a skillet with other vegetables. This vegetable also goes great in salads, spaghetti, fritters, or bread!
Yellow Wax Beans
Yellow wax beans were first introduced in South America, sourced from the Algerian wax bean. This variety is responsible for the development of several varieties of wax beans from the 18th to the 20th centuries. This yellow vegetable is a low-calorie, underrated legume. It is a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help aid in heart and digestive health. These unique legumes are staples in salads, stir-fries, and as a colorful side dish.
Yellow Winter Squash
Like yellow summer squash, yellow winter squash is yet another vegetable that starts with Y! This crop is tender, with a lighter and cleaner flavor reminiscent of butternut squash and zucchini. In many recipes, it is used as a low-calorie, high-fiber alternative to traditional pasta. This is mainly because of its strong, stringy interior texture. In a heaping two cups of cooked yellow winter squash, this yellow vegetable has only 84 calories and provides beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, manganese, and pantothenic acid. Furthermore, spaghetti squash contains small amounts of potassium, thiamine, magnesium, calcium, iron, and folate.
Yellow zucchini was imported from the Americas, where it was a staple crop among the indigenous people. Golden or yellow zucchinis, in particular, were first developed in the United States. This crop is part of the gourd family and has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Its texture is firm and crisp when raw but develops a wonderful, tender, creamy texture when cooked. It is a versatile ingredient that works well in savory as well as sweet recipes. This yellow vegetable has a high fiber content and is remarkably low in calories. It also contains many essential minerals, like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Yokohama Velvet Bean
The Yokohama velvet bean is another vegetable that starts with “y”. This crop is native to Africa and tropical parts of Asia. It goes by a variety of English names including monkey tamarind, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, and lacuna bean. The leaves, pods, and seeds are edible and frequently utilized in a variety of culinary recipes. One of the most popular dishes that highlight this ingredient is tempeh, an Indonesian fermented paste made of boiled seeds.
The seeds, stems, and leaves of the Yokohama velvet bean contain L-dopa, a very important non-protein amino acid. Found in only a few plant species, this amino acid is a potent anti-Parkinson disease agent. Along with that, it also helps increase sperm production, motility, and viability. The high levels of antioxidants found in this legume also are great for treating nervous disorders like brain or spinal cord injuries, Bell’s palsy, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Surprisingly, Yokohama velvet beans also contain DMP (dimethyltryptamine), which is a highly hallucinogenic substance. Because of this, it is recommended not to eat excessive amounts of this vegetable. Having said that, it is a common ingredient in animal feed.
Yucca originates from southern North America, the Caribbean, and South America. It is in the agave subfamily of the asparagus family. This plant is identifiable by its stemless base, which features sword-shaped leaves and waxy, white flowers. It has a unique starchy flesh and light white or cream color similar to that of a potato. It has a generally neutral flavor with a somewhat nutty aftertaste. While it does not offer as good of a nutritional value as some other vegetables on this list, it does have its benefits. Yucca is an excellent source of vitamin C, offering up to a third of an adult’s daily requirement in a single serving. Additionally, it contains choline, folate, magnesium, and calcium. It is also exceptionally high in potassium.
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are another vegetable that starts with “y.” They were first developed in Canada in 1966 in Ontario, Canada. This subspecies of potato is a large variety with thin, smooth, eye-free skin and yellow-tinged flesh. These potatoes are native to tropical mountains and grow best in cool, dry weather. Though they are native to Canada, they do not tolerate any frost and they do not like cold weather.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables and are suitable for a wide variety of recipes. Mashed potatoes, French fries, or baked potatoes are some of the most popular methods for preparing Yukon Gold potatoes. They also make hearty additions to soups and stews. While they are not always served in the healthiest manner, they are still very nutrient-dense vegetables! They are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. With a low sodium count and a small amount of manganese and folate, Yukon Golds are some of the best potatoes to consume!
Summary of the 20 Vegetables That Start with Y
|Number||Vegetable||Scientific Botanical Name|
|3.||Yam Bean||Pacgtrhizus erosus|
|5.||Yu Choy||Brassica chinensis var. parachinensis|
|6.||Yardlong Bean||Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedalis|
|7.||Yellow Beetroot||Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris conditiva|
|8.||Yellow Bell Pepper||Capsicum annuum|
|9.||Yellow Carrots||Daucus carota|
|10.||Yellow Cauliflower||Brassica oleracea|
|11.||Yellow Cherry Tomato||Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme|
|12.||Yellow Corn||Zea mays|
|13.||Yellow Pear Tomato||Solanum iycopersicum|
|14.||Yellow Summer Squash||Cucurbita pep var. recticollis|
|15.||Yellow Wax Beans||Phaseolus vulgaris|
|16.||Yellow Winter Squash||Cucurbita moschata|
|17.||Yellow Zucchini||Cucrbita pepo|
|18.||Yokohama Velvet Bean||Mucuna pruriens|
|19.||Yucca Root||Manihot esculenta|
|20.||Yukon Gold Potato||Solanum tuberosum|
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