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Jicama: 10 Health Benefits And How To Add Them To Your Diet

Jicama is a root vegetable that is native to Mexico. It’s somewhat similar to a radish, turnip, or water chestnut in taste and in the way that it is used in cuisine. Jicama itself looks like a pale brown potato, but since it is much softer, it is used more frequently when raw. When boiled or baked, it becomes very sweet. It can also be eaten raw after being thinly sliced.

On the outside, jicama is a simple-looking fruit. It has a thin, brown outer shell and white flesh similar to that of an apple or a pear. On the inside, however, it is bursting with nutrients. It helps solve many health-related problems. 

This article provides detailed information about jicama nutrition and its benefits. Likewise, additional details on the extensive range of health benefits provided by this vegetable. It also gives you ten reasons why you should include it in your daily diet and how.

What Is Jicama?

Jicama  (pronounced “hee-CAH-mah”) in English. It is also known as yam bean, Mexican turnip or Chinese turnip, a root vegetable that you turn into chips by baking it. It is scientifically known as Pachyrhizus erosus, a specie in the genus Pachyrhizus.

Also, it looks very much like a large water chestnut. However, it has a mild, sweet flavour unlike anything else (a little like an apple). It’s not technically a root and doesn’t grow underground. Rather it grows above ground, attached to the roots of the plant itself.

Jicama is a root vegetable in the sweet potato family. It is grown in Mexico and Central America, but an increasing amount is being grown in California. This is where it is one of the most popular vegetable crops.

Additionally, it is one of the most delicious and versatile vegetables. It contains more fibre than potatoes, and it makes a perfect substitute for French fries. Furthermore, it’s inexpensive and widely available.

How Does Jicama Grow?

Growing jicama is not difficult and can be done in most temperate climates. However, growing it takes some time and patience. It is a root vegetable that can grow up to 6 to 8 feet long. The skin is thin, light brown, and the flesh inside has a white colour with little fibres running in between. It has a crisp texture similar to that of the water chestnut both in freshness and in cooking.

When growing jicama, you’ll need to provide a warm and humid atmosphere, rich in nutrients and free from pests, for best results. You can grow it from seed or from a tuber when planting from the storage method.

Since it is a root vegetable, it can be left in the ground and harvested during hot summer months when other vegetables have been long done. It’s a favourite of gardeners because it’s relatively easy to grow and takes little effort.

What Does Jicama Taste Like

Fresh jicama is crunchy and juicy, with a flavour similar to water chestnuts. It can be eaten raw, usually slivered. The taste of jicama has been compared to that of an apple, cucumber or potato.

Nutrition Facts

100 g of Jicama contains the following nutrition;

Calories- 38

Fat- 0g

Protein- 1g

Carbohydrate- 9mg

Saturated fat- 0g

Cholesterol- 0mg

Sodium- 4mg

Potassium-150mg

Fiber- 4.9 g

Vitamin C.- 33%

10 Health Benefits Of Jicama 

Jicama, also known as the Mexican Yam, is a delicious vegetable grown in the tropics. It is an underutilized vegetable with many health benefits. It’s high in fibre, water and vitamins. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and copper. Here are ten health benefits of jicama.

1. Packed with nutrients 

It also contains small amounts of vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. This root vegetable is low in calories and high in fibre and water.

2. Helps lower cholesterol

Jicama’s high fibre content helps to keep cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels under control. This makes it heart-healthy too. According to a recent study, jicama (due to its dietary fibre content) may help lower cholesterol. It does this by preventing bile from being reabsorbed in the intestines.

3. Regulates blood sugar 

Jicama contains insulin, which can reduce blood sugar levels. It is very effective for people with type 2 diabetes to help maintain normal blood glucose levels. So far, it has been studied for its role in diabetes and hypertension. Research suggests that it may be beneficial for both of these conditions. However, jicama needs to be taken in moderate quantities due to its effect of reducing blood sugar.

4. Aids weight loss

Since it is low in calories and high in fibre, jicama can be an effective component of a weight loss diet. A cup (130  grams) contains only about 49 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate. Additionally, it is loaded with dietary fibre – 17% of the RDI for men and 23% for women. 

Jicama contains a high amount of dietary fibre. One benefit of fibre is that it can help you achieve long-term weight loss by reducing your appetite. 

Fibre not only fills you up but also prevents overeating by removing some of the carbohydrates that can spike blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are balanced, you are less likely to reach for sweets and other high-calorie foods to satisfy your hunger, which will keep you from gaining excess weight.

5. Serves as a prebiotic 

Jicama is a natural source of a soluble fibre which is known as inulin. Insulin acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon. It helps promote healthy digestion and supports healthy bacteria in the gut.

6. Boosts digestion 

The fibre content in jicama promotes good digestion and helps maintain bowel health. It aids in digestion and keeps blood sugar levels under control.

7. Reduces risks of cancer

Jicama has anti-diabetic and hypolipidemic activities. It helps in inhibiting blood glucose and cholesterol and reduces the formation and secretion of cancerous cells. Furthermore, it contains phytochemicals; it is an excellent source of vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids.

8. Improves heart health 

Jicama contains both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps to regulate cholesterol levels. Plant-based diets that are high in fibre have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease.

9. Antioxidants packed

Part of the health benefits of jicama stem from the high levels of antioxidants in this vegetable. The role of these antioxidants in food is to balance the production of molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and even increase your risk of disease. They accomplish this feat by donating an electron, which neutralizes the free radicals.

10. Supports healthy bones 

Jicama is very rich in Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. It also contains traces of essential nutritional elements like Thiamin (vitamin B1), Niacin (vitamin B3), Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Zinc and Iron. These are all minerals that are important for the musculoskeletal system of the body.

 

Additionally, Soluble dietary fibre in jicama may also help with constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders. Such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.

How To Cut Jicama 

How To Cut Jicama

The best way to cut jicama is to first peel with a vegetable peeler, then halve it from top to bottom. Using the tines of a fork, pierce each half on all sides. Place flat side down on your cutting board and use a serrated bread knife to cut into 1/2-inch-thick sticks. You can also cut it however thick you like.

How To Cook Jicama: Recipes For Jicama

Jicama is a crunchy, refreshing root vegetable. It is fairly resistant to rotting, which makes it great for prepping large amounts of food at once. Also, it’s versatile enough to be used in a variety of different dishes. Some of which are;

Baked Jicama fries

Baked Jicama fries

Baked Jicama fries is a great snack if you’re looking for an alternative to potato chips. They are definitely baked, so they are low-calorie, but you can still taste the deliciousness of fresh jicama. You can serve them as a side dish or with your main course.

 

Preparation 

  • Rinse jicama, slice lengthwise and cut into fries
  • Spray fries with cooking spray
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Prepare baked jicama fries in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with sour cream or salsa

Jicama salad 

Jicama salad 

Jicama salad is a delicious meal you can whip up at the last minute for your guests or just yourself. It’s very simple to make, has a nice, refreshing taste and may prove particularly pleasant on hot summer days.

 

Preparation 

  • Wash and peel the jicama
  • Cut into thin slices or cubes
  • Cut finely red cabbage with a knife
  • Slice the bell pepper
  • Cut up the celery
  • Mix equal parts of each ingredient together.
  • Add other foods and flavours (example: chilli and lime and vinegar)
  • In a small bowl, mix the ingredients together evenly.

Strawberry Jicama Lettuce Wraps

The Strawberry Jicama Lettuce Wraps are a sweet, juicy and very nutritious treat. In addition to strawberries and jicama, the recipe calls for napa cabbage, red pepper and fresh mint.

 

Preparation 

  • Wash and cut the lettuce
  • Cut the jicama into matchsticks
  • Slice the strawberries
  • Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl
  • Yes Pour mixture on top of lettuce on a plate
  • Squeeze lime juice over top
  • Serve with creamy sauce

How To Eat It

Jicama is very high in fibre and also contains significant amounts of vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Additionally, it has a very mild flavour and texture. 

It’s crunchy and juicy yet low in calories and carbohydrates, making it a smart choice for a healthy snack. Here are some fun ways to incorporate jicama into your diet:

  • Its gelatinous texture makes it popularly served as a salad or slaw accompaniment to seafood, chicken and pork dishes. 
  • Cooked jicama makes a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes, especially with a little butter, cream and gravy.
  • Like potatoes, it can be eaten fried or boiled or used as an ingredient in soups and salads. 
  • It is commonly eaten with or in place of lettuce in most Asian or Latin American cuisines.
  • Furthermore, it can be eaten raw, either alone or with a dip made from lime juice and chilli powder.

Side Effects And Allergies 

Only the root of the jicama plant is safe for consumption. If other parts of the plant are consumed, then it can lead to other side effects.

However, you need to be aware that it’s high in fibre and water content. Jicama is very high in water. For that reason, if you overeat jicama, you can end up with intestinal problems such as bloating and cramping. Just like overeating of anything else can cause your body problems.

FAQs

Is Jicama healthier than potato?

There is no such thing as fundamentally healthy or unhealthy food. Both are good for different things.

Is jicama good for your skin?

Yes, it is. The high content of water in Jicamas has a very high level of anti-inflammatory properties. This plays a significant role in keeping our skin looking healthy and fresh. The Vitamin C present in Jicama is very high and helps you prevent wrinkles and blemishes.

How do you know when jicama is ripe?

The best ones have rough brown skin that is easy enough to slide off with a sharp knife. If your jicama sheds the skin quickly when you try to peel it, it’s mature and ready to eat.

Is jicama a carb?

Yes, as It contains 9 mg of carbs.

What can you substitute for jicama?

It is an excellent substitute for apples in salads, especially in the winter when apples are out of season.

What vegetable is similar to jicama?

Jicama has many similarities to the potato, particularly in texture and appearance.  

Are jicama and rutabaga the same thing?

Jicama and rutabaga are not the same things. Rutabagas are another plant but are actually a root vegetable. It is closely related to turnips. Typical rutabaga looks like a sizeable yellowish-white carrot that is shaped like a light bulb. The taste of the rutabaga has an earthy aroma, similar to that of jicama.

Does jicama get soft when boiled?

The answer seems like it should be simple. The softness of the jicama depends on how long you boil it.

What is the best way to store cut jicama?

The best way to store cut jicama is to keep it in a container or plastic bag in the fridge.

Final Takeaway 

The jicama benefits can be attributed to the high water and fibre content. It has a low glycemic index. So you can eat as much as you want without worrying about getting fat or suffering from high blood sugar levels. 

Take into account the information provided here to help you decide if this fresh form of nutrition will benefit you.

You may also lean about these fruits;

10 Health Benefits Of Rambutan Fruit And How To Eat Them

Impressive Benefits And Uses Of Lingonberries (Ways To Add Them To Your Diet)

What Is Masago And How It Is Used

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1 Comment

  • by Benita
    Posted October 26, 2021 10:04 am 0Likes

    I am definitely trying out the jicama salad recipe this weekend. Hoping it turns out well.

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