Nutrition

Jicama- A Low-cal, Low-sugar Starchy Veggie

How many of you have heard about jicama? Many health-conscious people know about it, but for those who don’t know, here is everything that makes jicama an amazingly healthy vegetable.

Jicama is a starchy root, just like a potato or a turnip. It is sweeter than potatoes but has low sugar. Despite being a carbohydrate, it is an ideal choice for low sugar diet and diabetic patients.

It originally grows in Mexico and you may even find it in the international groceries section of your local superstore by the name of Mexican turnip or yam bean.

Fun fact about Jicama- Despite all the health benefits of the root, the rest of its plant even the beans are not safe to eat. In fact, they are toxic and may induce side effects in the consumer.

What makes Jicama an ideal dietary choice?

  • High nutritional value

Jicama has low calorie and sugar but high nutritional value. It is a perfect food ingredient for weight watchers and health conscious people. It is a perfect replacement of high carb, starchy staples in different recipes.

  • Source of fiber

Jicama is an excellent source of fiber. Only 1 cup (130g) of jicama has nearly 6.5 grams of dietary fiber, which is amazing. Not just in the USA, people from all around the world lack on their daily dietary fiber. The recommended daily dose of dietary fiber is 25g for women and 38g for men.

Taking a sufficient amount of dietary fiber can prevent constipation that is a common digestive issue. It also regulates the body’s sugar level, which is good news for all people who are at the risk of diabetes.

That’s not all. Taking high fiber will improve bowel movement and reduce the cardiac problems as well.

  • Acts as a prebiotic

Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that supports the growth of probiotics. Probiotics are the natural stabilizers of your gut microflora. There are several studies explaining the importance of probiotics for digestive health. Jicama is rich in inulin that is a special fiber acting as prebiotics. It means eating jicama will ensure an improved digestive system.

  • Provides antioxidants

Jicama has a high amount of vitamin C in it. A 138g serving on jicama has 26.3 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to get over the damaging effects of oxidative stress. This stress plays a vital role in early aging and risk factor for several diseases.

  • Improves blood sugar level

As written before, jicama has low sugar in it and it has a high amount of fiber. This combination is rare and that’s what makes jicama a healthy choice to maintain sugar level. It is exceptionally good for people with diabetes or at risk of diabetes.

Is jicama safe to use?

Only the root part of the jicama plant is edible. The rest of its plant is toxic because it has rotenone, a natural insecticide in it. This rotenone is harmful to human health.

Best way to eat jicama

If you add raw jicama to any recipe, it would taste like an uncooked potato but more juicier and sweeter than it. For the recipes where you require potatoes, jicama makes the best alternative. The most popular recipe of jicama is a Mexican fruit salad or a vegetable salad. One can also sauté it with other veggies and eat as a side with steak.

 

Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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