Jicama is a sweet, delicious tuber vegetable that belongs to the genus Pachyrhizus and family Fabaceae. It is a member of potato family, and is commonly cultivated in Latin America, typically in Mexico and Central America. Also known as the Mexican potato or Mexican yam bean (or yambean), jicama is as sweet as a fruit, and has a light crunchy texture. It has a brown skin, a round, turnip-like form, a tail, and smooth white flesh. Hence, at times, it looks like a cross between a potato and a turnip.

Being a versatile vegetable, jicama can be either consumed in its cooked or raw form. In its raw form, it has a flavor similar to a pear or apple, however, it has to be peeled off before consuming. The skin is thick, tough, and it contains an organic toxin called rotenone. Jicama has a juicy texture, and when left in open after peeling, it does not get discolored or spoiled. Hence, it is often used as an accompaniment to many raw vegetable platters. Whereas when cooked, it tends to absorb flavors of the ingredients it is combined with. Therefore, it serves as an excellent complement to various stir-fried dishes and recipes. After having a brief idea about jicama vegetable, let us now move on to jicama nutritional facts.

Nutritional Value of Jicama

Jicama is loaded with different vitamins and minerals. In fact, it is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and folate, and the minerals potassium, iron, and calcium. It is also low in sodium. Moreover, it contains no fat and cholesterol, so serves as an essential ingredient in many health food recipes. However, because of the high carbohydrate content, it should be consumed in moderation.

Jicama (100 g), Cooked, Boiled, Drained, without Salt
Calories38 kcal
Water90.07 g
Fiber4.9 g
Sugars, total1.60 g
Total fat0.09 g
Carbohydrate8.82 g
Protein0.72 g
Calcium11 mg
Sodium4 mg
Potassium135 mg
Magnesium11 mg
Zinc0.15 mg
Iron0.57 mg
Phosphorus16 mg
Vitamin A, RAE1 µg
Vitamin A, IU19 IU
Vitamin B60.040 mg
Niacin0.190 mg
Riboflavin0.028 mg
Thiamin0.017 mg
Folate8 µg
Vitamin C14.1 mg
Cholesterol0 mg

Source: USDA

Nutritional Benefits of Jicama

As jicama is low in calories and fats, and high in vitamins and minerals, it offers numerous nutritional benefits, of which some are given below:

As jicama contains no fat and cholesterol, it can be incorporated in a diet that is designed to lower the cholesterol levels. It helps reduce the risks of having any heart problems like heart attack, hypertension, etc. As it does not provide cholesterol, it helps lower the chances of having a stroke.

It is high in vitamin C. It exhibits powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps lower the symptoms of asthma, like wheezing, especially in young children. Being rich in vitamin C, it helps to cure common cold and flu.

Deficiency of vitamin C can increase the incidence of bruising in some people. Hence, people who suffer easy bruising can overcome this problem by increasing their vitamin C intake. They can include this vegetable in their daily diet.

Jicama also strengthens or supports the structure of capillaries, thereby reducing the risk of having capillary fragility or damage.

Jicama is rich in calcium and jicama's fiber contains oligofructose inulin. The vegetable helps improve bone health as it enhances the process of absorption of calcium from ingested foods. Thus, it lowers the chances of having osteoporosis. Along with bones, it can strengthen your teeth too.

Inulin also promotes the growth of good (essential or helpful) bacteria in the intestine. This helps maintain health of the colon and balanced immunity.

The vegetable comes with a very low glycemic index, and is a great food for diabetics.

It can be incorporated in a weight loss diet, as it is low in calories and fats.

To sum up, jicama basically boosts the body's immune system, and helps in enhancing the overall body functioning. However, make sure you buy medium-sized jicama, as the larger one may not be as sweet. Select firm tubers with dry roots. Jicama with wet or soft spots can be rotten. Do not store jicama in your refrigerator, as low temperatures are likely to damage the vegetable. Jicama, peeled and cut, can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Before cutting, you may store the vegetable in a cool, dark place for up to four weeks.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.