Jicama a root vegetable that is native to central and South America, and has been used for thousands of years as a dietary element and a medicinally beneficial substance. The common name “jicama” (pronounced hih-cama) is also the name of the vine of this vegetable, although the tuberous root is the most commonly eaten part. Some other names for jicama include the Mexican yam, yam bean, or the Mexican turnip. The scientific name of this root vegetable is called Pachyrhizus Erosus.
The root itself can grow up to two meters long, and can weigh up to 20 kg, although those are certainly extreme sizes. They require between 6-9 months of frost free growth time, so they are mainly cultivated in warm weather, making Mexico and various regions in the Americas ideal for growing. It then moved to the Philippines and from there, it moved to China and other parts of Southeast Asia. It’s not necessarily a popular food item there, but here in the U.S. jicama is a huge food source!
The interior of the jicama is similar to a potato, apple or a pear in terms of consistency and color. Like most root vegetables, it is high in starch, like other potato varieties. It is most commonly eaten raw, perhaps seasoned with various spices or fruit juices, as well as chili powder.
Jicama can also be cooked in soups and stir fry dishes, however, some of its health benefits can be diminished under heat. Jicama can also be dried into slices like potato fries and used in dips. They are also good elements to add to various salads and side dishes.
Many people don’t realize that while the jicama root is very beneficial and delicious, the rest of the vine vegetable is highly poisonous, including the seeds, so stay clear of those!
Jicama Nutrition Facts
Jicama’s health benefits are mainly derived from the unique mixture of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other organic compounds, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and a small amount of protein. In short, jicama is really good for you!
A one-cup serving of sliced raw jicama (pronounced hih-cama) has about:
6 grams fiber
1 grams protein
11 grams carbs
2 grams sugar
2 milligrams vitamin C (40 percent DV)
180 milligrams potassium (5 percent DV)
1 milligram manganese (4 percent DV)
7 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
4 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
4 micrograms folate (4 percent DV)
Health Benefits Of Jicama
• Improves Digestion
One of the most important elements of jicama is the high levels of dietary fiber that it contains. Dietary fiber helps to boost the bulk of stool, thereby helping it move through the digestive tract and reducing conditions like constipation. Furthermore, jicama is a rich source of a particular soluble fiber called oligofructose inulin, which is a sweet, inert carbohydrate that does not metabolize into simple sugars. This means that for diabetic patients, jicama can be a great way to have some sweet food without worrying about the blood sugar fluctuation that is usually a result. It is considered one of the best probiotics and probiotics you can get anywhere!
• Boosts The Immune System
There is a very large amount of vitamin C found in jicama; 100 grams of jicama is approximately 40% of our entire daily requirement for ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is an essential part of our immune system health and stimulates the white blood cells, which are the body’s first main line of defense against illness. Battling bacterial, viral, fungal, or pathogenic diseases is greatly helped by adding vitamin C to your body. Also, the antioxidant potential of vitamin C means that it helps in the fight against cancer by neutralizing the effects of free radicals that have been connected with heart disease and cancer. Free radicals are found in the body as a result of cellular metabolism.
• Manages High Blood Pressure
As a rich source of potassium, jicama is able to help manage blood pressure, since it is a vasodilator and reduces the tension on blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering the stress on the cardiovascular system. Potassium is also essential for maintaining fluid balance in opposition to sodium throughout the body, thereby keeping our bodies hydrated and functioning at a high level.
• Improves Blood Circulation
The significant amounts of copper and iron found in jicama make it very good for maintaining the health of the circulatory system, since those two minerals are important elements of red blood cells. Without those components, people suffer from anemia and low functioning of the organs that require fresh, oxygenated blood to properly function.
• Improves Brain Functionality
Vitamin B6 has been linked to increased brain function and cognitive abilities, and jicama has this vitamin is significant amounts. Furthermore, vitamin B6 is integral in breaking down proteins into usable amino acids and other forms of protein for humans. This maximizes the metabolic processes and efficiency of various organ systems.
• Increases Bone Strength
The levels of minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, and copper found in jicama mean that this root vegetable can be a major booster for our bone mineral density. These minerals are essential for building strong, new bones and healing any damage to existing bones. This is also the best way to prevent the onset of conditions like osteoporosis, which millions of people suffer from all over the world.
• Great for Weight Loss
Low-calorie foods are very important for those trying to lose weight, especially when those low-calorie foods are also packed with nutrients and dietary fiber to make your body feel full. Jicama only has 35 calories per 100 grams, and is clearly filled with nutrients and fiber. Jicama is an excellent snack to reduce your appetite and curb cravings, without gaining any weight or losing any nutritional benefits.
A Word of Caution
As we mentioned earlier, the root of jicama is edible, but the rest of the plant is toxic. Do not to eat the seed pods, leaves, or vines. Just stick to eating the jicama and you’ll begin to feel the positive effects right away!
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