Low calorie jicama (pronounced hi-ka-ma) is a vegetable in the bean family that is a taproot. Taproots are large, tapering roots — like carrots, radishes and beets — that grow downwards and form a center. Roots then sprout from the center. This strange-looking vegetable has a crisp, fleshy interior and an inedible, rough outer skin on the outside.
Jicama grows in the topical and semi tropical climates of Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines and Southeast Asia. In Mexico, you will find jicama in salads, fresh fruit dishes, soups and other dishes. In the U.S., it is often seasoned with lemon, lime, salsa, red onion, ginger, chili powder, cilantro, oranges, red onion and sesame oil.
Low calorie jicama is an excellent source of dietary fiber in the form of oligofructose inulin, which is a soluble dietary fiber. All root pulp is 13% fiber. Inulin has zero calories, does not metabolize in the digestive system, which mean that it speeds up the digestive system!
Jicama is a good snack for dieters as it is only 35 calories for a 100-gram portion. (One hundred grams is roughly the size of a medium tomato.) It is a phytonutrient with dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Phytonutrients enhance immune function, sweep away free radicals and inhibit cancer and enzymes that destroy collagen. These phytonutrients are building blocks for cell growth and repair.
Jicama is loaded with vitamin C, which is a water-soluble antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radicals.
What is a Free Radical?
Free radicals are clusters of atoms with an irregular number of electrons. They develop when oxygen intermingles with certain molecules. Once they appear, these free radicals start a chain reaction. They damage the DNA in cells and the cell membrane, causing the cells to either malfunction or die.
Antioxidants (like those found in jicama) search out free radicals and stop the chain reaction before life-giving molecules are damaged.
To Sum It Up. . .
- low in calories, carbs and fat
- packed with fiber
- high in vitamin C
- a phytonutrient and antioxidant
- low in sodium
- versatile in recipes — both hot and cold
Easy Jicama-Mango Slaw:
- Toss julienned mango and jicama, cilantro, red onion and radish.
- Add cayenne, salt and cumin.
- Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil.
Jicama and Watermelon Salad:
Combine watermelon and jicama with orange juice, honey, black pepper, salt and fresh mint leaves for a delicious salad.