Occasionally known as the Mexican turnip or yam bean, jicama (hee-kah-ma) has the natural ability to increase energy levels, boost the immune system, strengthen bones, and promote healthy digestion. It is a root vegetable that is native to both Central and South America, and it has been consumed for thousands of years. Jicama is high in starch and is typically consumed raw in salsas, with various fruit, or with some chili powder and lime juice.
Roughly 86-90% of jicama is water and it is naturally low in calories. Many people eat it to help boost the immune system because of its high magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C content. The only edible portion of the plant is the root; the leaves and seeds are toxic. The white flesh of the bulbous root has a slightly sweet flavor that is crunchy like an apple. It’s pretty darn delicious! Add it to your diet for the following benefits.
Jicama has been referred to as a superfood because of its inulin content. Inulin is a natural prebiotic, which is essential for establishing healthy gut flora. One cup of jicama satisfies 25% of your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which is integral for moving food through the digestive tract. For those with diabetes, jicama is a great fruit option because it doesn’t metabolize into simple sugars, helping to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Jicama contains a lot of iron and copper, both of which are beneficial for maintaining a healthy circulatory system. Iron and copper are also two essential components of red blood cells. The high fiber content is beneficial for improving arterial health and reducing inflammation, meaning jicama is beneficial for those with high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
One of the most prominent nutrients in jicama is vitamin C, which is an essential antioxidant that stimulates white blood cells, the first line of defense against illness. One cup of jicama provides approximately 40% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods can help you stave off inflammation and oxidative stress.
Great For Bones
The oligofructose inulin works to maintain bone strength because it helps with mineral retention. This decreases the rate of bone loss and it also helps bones absorb and use calcium efficiently. The magnesium, manganese, iron, and copper in jicama also help to build stronger bones and repair existing bone damage.
Weight Loss Food
Part of losing weight is limiting your caloric intake, but you have to simultaneously replenish the body with nutrients. Considering that jicama is nutrient dense, mostly water, and only has about 35 calories per cup, it is a great food to include in your weight loss diet. Additionally, eating it as a snack helps to curb cravings and reduce your appetite.