Jicama is a legume native to Central America and Mexico. It is a perennial vine that grows to a length of about 20 feet or more. It is available from November – May and is also grown in Southeast Asia.
This large bulbous root can weigh up to 40 pounds. Its sweet, nutty flavor is good both raw and cooked. Jicama must be peeled before using. When cooked, jicama retains its crisp, water chestnut-type texture. In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jicama plant is very poisonous.
There are so many nutrition, minerals, vitamins, proteins and nutritional benefits attached to this vegetable which makes it ideal for all those healthy food seekers. Due to its high nutritional value and low calorie content, this vegetable offers numerous nutritional benefits, of which some are given below:
- It is an excellent source of fiber, potassium, calcium, molybdenum, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin E, A and also vitamin C and copper. This vegetable root is low in sodium and calories. Moreover Jicama has absolutely no fats and no cholesterol
- Since it is high in vitamin C, it acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in subsiding the symptoms of asthma like wheezing especially in young children. Also being rich in vitamin C, it helps to cure common cold and flu.
- Jicama also strengthens and supporting the structure of capillaries, thereby reducing the risks of having capillary fragility or damage.
- Being rich in folic acid, beta-carotene and many other vitamins, jicama is quite effective in lowering the homocysteine levels in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid that affects the cellular metabolism and production of proteins in the body and can also increase the risks of heart disease by damaging the lining of blood vessels. Moreover, studies show that people, who eat jicama regularly, are found to have 11 percent lower homocysteine levels as compared to those who don’t eat this vegetable.
- Jicama is an extremely low-calorie food, making it an excellent snack option if you are monitoring your daily caloric intake, or looking for a low-calorie, flavorful snack jicama is an excellent choice. One hundred grams of raw jicama contains just 35 calories.
- It boosts the body’s immune system and helps in enhancing the overall body functioning.
Jicama is best eaten raw not to loose its proprietary nutritional value during the cooking process.
CHOOSING AND STORING JICAMA
When purchasing jicama, select tubers that are firm and have dry roots. Make sure that the jicama has an unblemished smooth skin and that is not bruised and is firm to the touch. Jicama can be stored up to two weeks in your refrigerator.