5 Health Benefits of Jicama Root
(BeWellBuzz) Originally grown in South and Central America, jicama is a root vegetable that exhibits characteristics similar to those of any bean species plant. The plant grows best under tropical and subtropical climates and is famous for its flesh, which is sweet taste and has a crunchy texture. A highly nutritious vegetable, jicama has a sweet-starchy taste, much like a sweet potato. However, unlike potato, Jicama’s skin is inedible.
Jicama Nutritional Value
Jicama, described often as a cross between two common starchy tuberous crops, turnip and potato, is loaded with important minerals and vitamins. It is extremely rich in Vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium, and fiber. Another good thing about it is that it has practically no fat content or calories and is low in sodium.
A serving of raw jicama (equivalent to one medium-sized cup) offers you:
- Fiber – 5.8 grams
- Calories – 46
- Carbohydrate – 10.6 grams
- Protein – 0.86 grams
- Total fat – 0.11 grams
Health Benefits of Jicama
Jicama offers myriad of health benefits, some of which are detailed below:
1. Boosts the immune system
Jicama is a great source of Vitamin C. A 100-gram serving of jicama provides you with 34% of daily recommended amount of Vitamin C.
As jicama is rich in Vitamin C, it exhibits antihistamine properties and boosts the immune function. In addition, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and is especially useful for people who have asthma or who suffer frequently from cold and sneezing. This starchy root reduces wheezing, a common symptom of asthma attack, and is also useful in the treatment of common cold and flu. Further, owing to its high Vitamin C content, jicama is also good for eyes and skin.
2. Lowers cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels, often a result of poor eating habits, is a factor for many serious health conditions such as heart attack and hypertension. It has been proven time and again that people who eat more fiber have a lower risk of high cholesterol blood levels. Fiber-rich diet is also useful for people who have high cholesterol because fiber has a strong detrimental effect on cholesterol levels. Jicama is an extremely rich source of soluble fiber, which according to the Mayo Clinic, aids in reduction of cholesterol levels and stabilization of blood sugar levels. A 100-gram serving of jicama allows you to meet 13% of your daily recommended value of soluble fiber.
3. Aids weight loss
To lose weight or for managing your weight, you must reduce your daily calorie intake. As jicama is a low-calorie food – a 100-gram of raw jicama serving contains only 35 calories – it is an excellent choice for people who want to lose weight.
Note: Cooked jicama contains more calories. For cooking or dressing, we recommend you use healthy low-calorie oils if you are on a weight management program.
4. Reduces the risk of capillary damage
Jicama supports or strengthens the structure of capillaries, reducing the risk of having broken capillaries or capillary damage.
5. Lowers the homocysteine levels
Homocysteine, a type of amino acid, is listed as an independent factor for heart disease. In addition, homocysteine, present in extremely high quantities in meat products, is also linked to renal disease. Jicama exhibits strong anti-homocysteine property – that is, it reduces the levels of this amino acid – and in turn, reduces the risk of cardiovascular and renal disease.
The potency of anti-homocysteine capability of jicama can be easily gauged by the results of recent studies that conclude that people who regularly eat this vegetable have approximately 11% lower homocysteine levels than people who do not eat it at all.
How can you consume Jicama?
Jicama can be consumed in its raw or cooked form. When consumed raw, it gives a flavor similar to an apple or pear. As its skin is inedible, peel it off before consuming it. When cooked, jicama absorbs flavors of all other ingredients that are cooked with it. Due to this reason, in its cooked form, it is often used with stir-fried dishes.
We round off this article with a delicious, but simple, jicama salad recipe. Enjoy your meal!
Ingredients you require:
- A large jicama (approximately 1.5 pounds). Peel and cut the vegetable into small pieces.
- 1/2 yellow and red bell pepper (cut them into small cubes)
- 1/2 cup red onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cucumber (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup of cilantro (chopped)
- 1 seedless orange. Remove the peel and cut into eight small pieces.
- 1/3 cup of lime juice
- A small amount of paprika and cayenne
How to prepare:
Add jicama, red onion, bell peppers, cilantro, orange, and cucumber to a serving bowl. Next, sprinkle a pinch of paprika and cayenne and add salt. Let the salad sit for about 30 minutes before eating.