Jicama, a legume native to Mexico, is prized for its delicious taste and crisp texture. Since Jicama stores exceptionally well, it quickly reached Asia and Europe once the Spaniards explored central America. Today, Jicama is mostly used in South American and Asian cooking. Jicama has many aliases including Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean and the Chinese turnip. While low in nutrition value, the Jicama is packed full of moisture, making it an ideal addition to any summertime meal.
Jicama is a food high in fiber and potassium. It is also a great source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and beta carotene. Being a vegetable high in water content, the amount of fat in jicama is decidedly low.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A, when converted into retinaldehyde, is a vital compound for healthy eyes. Furthermore, vitamin A is believed to fight against cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Vitamin A strengthens the membranes of the human body such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. It is also essential for the lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that fight infection once in the body.
Vitamin C – Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infections and scavenges harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Vitamin C also helps to prevent respiratory problems such as asthma and lung cancer. Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, and therefore lessen the probability of hypertension.
Beta Carotene – Beta carotene has been well-studied as a dietary antioxidant. Carotenoids are also thought to benefit eye health. Some studies support a role of carotenoids in reducing macular degeneration.
Calcium – Calcium is an important mineral for bone and teeth growth and maintenance. It is also an important mineral in terms of cardiovascular function.
Magnesium – Magnesium helps to keep muscle and nerve tissues functioning normal, as well as promotes a proper heartbeat. It also assists in the support of a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong.
Jicama grows in the summer months, but since it stores so well, you can find this unique vegetable year round in all supermarkets.
Per 1 Cup (65 grams):
Calories (cKal): 25
Protein (grams): .47
Total Fat (grams): .06
Carbohydrates (grams): 5.73
Fiber (grams): 3.2
Buying and Storing
Buying jicama is simple, since this vegetable is easy to grow and stores very well. When storing at home, you can keep jicama on your countertop for up to two months.
Best Way to Add to Diet
The best way to enjoy jicama is to remove the tough outer core and slice in to strips. While it is difficult to cook with, Jicama is a great addition to any soup.