Chances are jicama is a vegetable you aren’t serving up every night. It hasn’t quite achieved the popularity of carrots or corn, but its just as beneficial. The vegetable (pronounced hee-kah-ma) is an edible round bulbous root that originated in the Mexican peninsula. Jicama in English is sometimes referred to as Mexican yam bean, Mexican turnip or simply yam bean.
Today, it grows typically in tropical regions. Jicama is still a rather exotic vegetale in the Western world. So, you may be wondering whether jicama is good for you and what are the benefits of jiacama. Read on to see jicama health benefits, its nutritional value and all the main uses.
Jicama Health Benefits
This edible root is chock-full of nutrients, but low in calories. This makes jicamas a great addition to any weight loss regiment. It also contains quite a lot of nutrients. Below are just a few of the jicama health benefits you can start taking advantage of.
Jicama provides a quarter of your daily recommended fiber intake. It is infused with oligofructose inulin, which doesn’t metabolize in the body and doesn’t have any calories.
- Absorbs calcium from other foods and helps protect against osteoporosis
- Promotes good bacteria growth and helps build a healthy colon
- Reduces exposure and toxic impact of carcinogens in the colon
- Low glycemic index is good for diabetes
- Low in calories for weight loss
You can get a huge amount of your daily recommended Vitamin C intake by eating jicama. Vitamin C provides a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer, inflammation, colds, coughs and other infections.
The high amounts of potassium found in jicama. As far as jicama health benefits go, this makes a great vegetable to include in your diet to help you stay protected against heart disease.
Added Vitamins and Minerals
Jicama. contains a variety of other vitamins including folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin. It also contains several minerals including magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.
Nutritional Value of Jicama
A recommended serving is approximately 3.5 ounces, raw. One serving contains just 38 calories, only one from fat. In addition, it contains a small amount of both sodium and sugar.
One serving contains twenty percent of your recommended daily value of dietary fiber. However, one serving also contains nine grams of carbohydrates. There are small amounts of calcium and iron in jicamas, but a high amount of Vitamin C. One serving contains 34 percent of your recommended intake.
One unsavory part is the peel. Unlike other similar root vegetables, such as potatoes and yams, you cannot eat the jicama peel under any circumstance. The peel contains significant levels of the fat-soluable organic toxin, rotenone. Rotenone has been used as an organic pesticide foor decades. Recently, studies have linked rotenone to the development of Parkinson’s Disease. Though we should mention that it would take a high amount of jicama peels to actually feel the effects of rotenone, it is best to remove and discard the peel before cutting the vegetable.
What does jicama taste like? Jicama is juicy and sweet in flavor. Some compare it to the flavor of an apple, some a water chestnut and some a pear. The peel has a bark-like appearance and the insides are a stark white. Even slightly-cooked, it will still have a crunchy texture. Also, it will not brown when you cook it.
This next section will give you some suggestions as to how to eat jicama. Bear in mind that, regardless of the recipes you choose, you will need to peel it first. If you’re wondering how to peel jicama, think of carrots. There’s no need to use a vegetable peeler, as the thin, papery skin of the vegetable can be easily scrapped off with a knife.
The vegetable can be prepared many ways. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be chopped, cubed or sliced. Jicama sticks are also a versatile way of preparing the root, as it can be served raw with dips, or incoporated in dishes. You can find it in stir fries, soups, salads or as a side. There are lots of other interesting ways to try it out, including raw with dip, diced into a salsa or sliced into a spring roll. Below are a few recipes that will help you start taking advantage of jicama health benefits.
Chilled Jicama Slices Recipe
Jicama chilled slices is a popular Mexican dish. The recipe is about as simple as it gets. Peel the jicama and slice it up. Cover with lime juice, add chili powder and a dash of sea salt. You can replace the spices with tajin seasoning, another popular favorite. Some will argue the best part of this snack is the red juice leftover after you finish your snack.
This recipe takes thirty minutes to make and needs to sit for fifteen minutes, for added flavor. It will make four servings.
In a small mixing bowl add lime juice, chili flakes, rice wine vinegar, sugar and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Combine the jicama with carrots, cabbage and onion, cucumber, red pepper and cilantro in large bowl and toss. Add dressing to vegetables and let sit for 15 minutes, stirring two or three times. Serve.
Pineapple-Jicama Salsa Recipe
This recipe takes twenty minutes to prepare and will make four servings.
For this recipes you will need:
- Red onions
- Lime juice
- Pineapple fruit
- Pineapple juice (you can use the juice in the can, if you are using canned pineapple)
- Brown sugar
- A bowl to mix it all together
In a bowl, combine the red onion with the lime juice and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the jicamas to the pineapple, pineapple juice, cilantro, brown sugar, jalapeno and scallion to the bowl and toss.
You can serve this salsa with a jerk pork tenderloin for a savory complement.
Prepare a delicious salad for four as a terrific side to your favorite Mexican dish.
Besides jicama, you will need the following ingredients:
- Bell peppers
- Red onion
- Cayenne powder
- Paprika powder
Toss together jicama slices with bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, orange and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Pour lime juice over all. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Season generously with salt. Let sit for half an hour before serving.
The Mexican yam bean may be unfamiliar to you, but it is definitely worth a try. It isn’t just a delicious side, but also will help with a clean check-up at the doctor’s office. Help protect your body against colon cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and more by adding it to your diet. There’s many options to try: raw in a salad or slaw or cooked as a side or in a stir fry. Try out a new recipe tonight and it may just become a family favorite.