Jicama, derived from the root of a vine plant, is a globe-shaped, golden-brown vegetable with white flesh. Delicious both raw or cooked, it is a good addition to various dishes. Jicama is also oozing with health benefits, including its ability to help you build stronger bones, manage diabetes, increase energy levels, prevent various types of cancer, boost immunity, optimize digestion and manage weight. If you want to know more about these benefits, give this article a read!
Jicama: What Is It?
Jicama, scientifically known as Pachyrhizus erosus, is actually a root vegetable native to South and Central America. It has been consumed for thousands of years as both a delicious food and used for medical purposes. Its name actually refers to the entire vine from which is grows, although the main part of the plant that is eaten is the tuberous root.
Jicama root may grow up to two meters long and weigh around 20 kilograms, even though these are significantly large proportions. The vegetable usually takes 6-9 months away from frosty conditions to grow, which is why it is cultivated in warmer climates such as Mexico. Although originating in Mexico, it has since spread to the Philippines, China and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is popularly used in various cuisines.
The inside of jicama look like a pear or a potato in terms of colour and consistency. Like any other root vegetable, it is rich in starch. It is commonly eaten raw as a snack, but it can be cooked. However, cooking it may reduce its health benefits. It’s important to note that, although the jicama root is delicious and healthy, the rest of the plant is very poisonous, including its seeds.
Jicama: Nutrition Facts
Jicama has outstanding health benefits, offering a mixture of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. It has ample amounts of essential organic compounds, including vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E, vitamin C and dietary fiber. It also contains protein in small amounts, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium and pantothenic acid.
The vegetable is rich in vitamin B complex, with large amounts of potassium and sodium that help it alkalize blood. Truly, this vegetable isn’t just good at quenching your appetite; it also helps ensure you have the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need.
Health Benefits of Jicama
Here are some of the best health benefits of jicama:
Helps with brain dysfunction. The vitamin B6, together with the other vitamin B complex in the vegetable, increases brain function. It also breaks down proteins into soluble amino acids, maximizing the body’s metabolic process.
Helps improve circulation. The iron and copper contents of jicama maintain blood circulation, thus helping you avoid illnesses such as anemia.
Helps manage blood pressure. Jicama’s rich potassium content makes it a vasodilator, reducing tension in the arteries and blood vessels and lowering stress on the system.
Helps boost immunity. 100g of jicama contains about 40% of your entire daily vitamin C requirement. This vitamin is essential in strengthening immunity and stimulating white blood cell production. Moreover, since vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, it helps fight various illnesses, including cancer, by neutralizing the effects of free radicals.
Helps improve digestion. The dietary fiber in jicama is very high, which helps increase the bulk of the stool and move along the digestive tract, reducing conditions such as constipation.