It might look bland and boring on the outside, but inside, a jicama is jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins and tons of health benefits. They’ve been known to help manage diabetes, lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function and much, much more.
And the best part? They taste great, too. Unlike any other root veggie around, jicama has a sweet, crispy almost hydrating taste to it – and it’s been a staple in South and Central American cuisine for centuries.
Also called the Mexican yam or Mexican turnip, jicama is actually a root vegetable, like the potato. It takes about 6 to 9 months, so it can usually only be found in climates with very warm weather. On the outside, it has a thick, brown, mottled skin, and inside, it’s a milky, off-white color. It is shaped like a flattened circle, wider than it is tall.
You can usually find jicama in just about any grocery store, and when you spot it, make sure you buy one. These little babies can improve your health in more ways than one. Let’s take a look at some of the jicama’s health benefits now.
Amazing Health Benefits of Jicama
Jicamas can offer benefits for just about every system, organ and function in your body. They’re loaded with powerful nutrients, like vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron, copper and even protein, and they’re very low in calories (and have no fat!).
Here are some of the ways this powerhouse veggie can help your health:
- It can improve your digestion – Jicama is absolutely packed with fiber, an element that is crucial to a healthy digestive system. The fiber helps keep your bowels regular, and it can even prevent uncomfortable constipation.
- It can strengthen your bones – With important minerals like copper, magnesium and manganese, jicama can be great for your bones, too. In fact, they can help you build strong, new bones, as well as heal any bones that have been damaged or fractured. It can also help prevent osteoporosis later on down the line.
- It can help you lose weight – Thanks to its high fiber content, jicama can help you lose weight too. The fiber binds with liquids in your stomach, making you feel fuller longer. This makes it easier to avoid cravings and overeating, and it helps you take in fewer calories across the day. Additionally, jicama is also a very low calorie food itself. It offers only 35 calories per serving, so it can fill you up and keep you satisfied for very few calories at all.
- It can boost your immune system – Jicama is loaded with vitamin C, boasting about 40 percent of your daily value in just one serving. As vitamin C plays a crucial role in your white blood cell production, it can actually help stimulate your immune system and help you fight infection, illness and disease.
- It can lower your blood pressure – With high levels of potassium, jicama is great at balancing sodium levels in the blood. This can lower your blood pressure, reduce tension on your blood vessels and veins, and lower your risk of heart issues.
- It can improve circulation – In that same vein, jicama can also boost your circulation too, thanks to its high amounts of copper and iron. These minerals support red blood cell production, which transport oxygen through your body, tissues and cells.
- It can help with diabetes – Surprisingly, jicama can be a great choice for diabetics. It has a soluble fiber called inulin in it, which unlike other carbs, doesn’t metabolize into sugars in the blood stream. This makes it a great way to get a slightly sweet snack, without affecting your blood sugar levels.
- It improves cognitive function – With lots of vitamin B6, jicama can actually improve your brain function. B6 has been proven to increase a person’s cognitive abilities. So if you’ve got a big test coming up, be sure to load up on some jicama first!
Jicama is truly a wondrous vegetable, benefitting your body in dozens of ways from top to bottom. If you haven’t tried jicama before, it’s time to start making it a part of your life.
How do you eat it?
Well first, you have to peel it. The skin of a jicama is very thick, and it’s not easily digestible. Simply make a cut in the veggie, and start peeling away. The skin usually comes off with no problem.
Once inside, you’ll find a jicama looks much like a pear – crisp and white. To eat it, you’ll just cut off a chunk, and slice it into thin shards. These can be thrown on a salad, added to stir fry or put on any dish that could use a sweet little crunch. Remember, there’s no need to cook jicama. It’s delicious as it is, completely raw.
Do you plan to try jicama in the near future? If you do, let me know what you think in the comments!