Jicama (pronounced hee-ka-mah)or yam bean is known as healthy snack that we can eat at home. It used to eaten raw or cooked. People know that jicama is great source of vitamin C and best thing for people who are in diet program is the jicama does not contain any fat. It usually cooked in different recipes such as salad, stew, fruit bars and you also can enjoy it as juice. In Chinese dishes, jicama usually use to replace water chestnuts and in some country it served with cilantro, lemon and even chilli powder.
Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus ) is member of potato family. It also known as Mexican turnip, and Mexican or Chinese potato. It is a light brown root vegetable with juicy and watery flesh. The appearance of jicama is more likely a large turnip. It has crisp textures and it can grow into 5 pounds tuber. It has been consumed since ancient Mexican culture by Aztec tribe.
Jicama plant is usually grow best in warm and dry climates with adequate sun exposure. It used to be found in warm climate or tropical countries. People said that jicama which planted in summer will have the best taste. The light brown skin of jicama usually has blemish on it.
Jicama has been used as food since ancient Mexican culture by Aztec tribe. It was the Spanish sailors who cultivated jicama when they arrived on Mexico. Later Spanish spread the jicama from Mexico to other countries such as Philippines then it made its way to Indonesia. From Indonesia, jicama spread to China and other Southeast Asian countries and it is still popular and can be found everywhere around the globe until today.
In Philippines and Laos jicama used to be consume as salad while in Indonesia jicama is usally eaten as fruit bars with spicy peanuts condiment called rujak. Jicama is known as “bengkuang” in Indonesia and one of Indonesian city is produce most of bengkuang that is Padang in West Sumatra. Almost all part of Padang city grow bengkuang as crop so the city also called as “city of bengkuang”. The biggest jicama also found in Indonesia
Jicama contains most water and fiber. It also rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients. The list below show you the nutrient content of jicama root
Percentage of RDA
* Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus), Fresh, raw, Nutrition Value per 100 g, (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Health Benefits of Jicama can we get from its nutrients. Since jicama contains some nutrient, it may provides benefits to your health. Some of these benefits are listed below
1. Promotes good digestion
Jicama is one of the best source of fiber., it is known as source of soluble fiber called oligofructose inulin. Inulin is a type of carbohydrate which help digestive function. Fiber is required in keeping healthy bowel movement and help the intestine to absorb other nutrients.
2. Prevent constipation
Since jicama can promotes healthy digestion by its fiber, it also may help to prevent and relieve constipation. Usually constipation occur because unhealthy bowel movement which is lack of fiber. Jicama also contain copper which is effective to relieve and prevent constipation.
3. Lowering cholesterol level
Health Benefits of Jicama for control and lowering cholesterol level already proven as one powerful vegetables. Fiber contained in jicama can help to lower cholesterol level by binding the cholesterol and prevent the intestine to absorb bile of cholesterol to the body. Cholesterol later will be brought out of the body through excretion system.
4. Prevent cardiovascular disease
By removing cholesterol away from the body, fiber contained in jicama is very useful in keeping cardiovascular problem. Cholesterol can trigger the development of plaque in the blood vessel and may give tribute in cuilding atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis will result in high blood pressure and causing heart disease and stroke.Jicama also ccontains some amount of magnesium which can keep healthy heart function.
5. Brighten skin
Jicama or bengkuang has been used as natural beauty remedies since old times especially by royal people in ancient Indonesian kingdom and nowadays its popular as brightening agent which is ingredients of many skin care and cosmetic product. The vitamin C in jicama is the one who serve this benefits
6. Maintain normal blood sugar
Jicama is perfect snack for people who suffer diabetes. The sweet fresh taste of jicama doesnt contain sugar which can rise the blood level. Inulin which give sweet flavor that contained in jicama has zero calories and it is one of carbohydrate type which will not undergo into metabolism process.
7. Strengthen immune system
You may wonder why jicama can boost or strengthen immune system. As mentioned before that jicama is excellent source of Vitamin C which act as antioxidant and immune system booster. It help the immune system properties to fight better in preventing pathogen infection.
8. Prevent from osteoporosis
Jicama contains amount of calcium which important to keep bone mass and prevent osteoporosis. It also contains some amount of magnesium that will balance the presence of calcium and help the body in absorb the calcium.
9. Calming nerves and muscle
Magnesium that contained in jicama has many benefits to our body. It may help to calming nerve and help to alleviate stress. It has relaxing muscle effect that will make you feel better when your muscle feel tired after work or exercise.
10. Help in weight loss
Contain most water, low calories, and high in fiber makes jicama is one of best food that should be consumed duirng diet. Consuming jicama will help you to feel full in longer time and prevent you from hunger.
11. Prevent from cancer
Antioxidant is the main component in protecting the body from free radicals effect to the body. Free radicals is the main cause of most types of cancer, it leads the DNA damage that later cause the cell to grow abnormal.
12. Maintain healthy metabolism
Jicama contain Vitamin B complex such as pyridoxine, riboflavine, folate, pantothenic acid and thiamin which are required in body metabolism to break down nutrient and produce energy.
13. Prevent anemia
Jicama contains some amount of iron which is required to produce red blood cell. Anemia is a condition when the body lack of red blood cells and it can cause another health problem such as weakness and fainting.
14. Prevent scurvy
In about 100 mg Fresh jicama provides you 20.2 mg or 34% of Vitamin C RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance ). Vitamin C is powerful antioxidant which can prevent your body from inflammation such as scurvy.
15. Promotes healthy pregnancy
Jicama contains some amount of folate which is needed during pregnancy to help the development of fetus. It is also may prevent the new born baby from developing neural tube defects.
How to Purchase and Store
If you wanna buy some jicama on store you better watch these tips :
- When you gonna purchase jicama, make sure you choose one with well form and firm root.
- The skin of jicama should not has many blemish on it so avoid to purchase jicama with wet and soft spots that indicate the jicama is rotten inside.
- You can store fresh jicama on open place for 1 to 2 weeks but if you store it in cool and dry place it will last until 4 weeks.
- Store in fridge unwrapped when it is uncut but once it cut, store it in plastic wrap for about one week.
How to Prepare and Consume
- Before consume jicama, wash it under running water until all the skin clean from soil debris or pesticide residues.
- Peel the skin before cut
- Dont worry after cutting jicama you can just let it on container and eat it later because unlike apple, jicama will not gonna turn into brown
- Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked as salad, stew, stir fry, baked, boiled and mashed.
- If you want to enjoy jicama flesh with different way, you can preserve jicama and make it as food condiment. Jicama can be pickled as well as other vegetable like cucumber.
- Jicama can be used as natural beauty remedy. Just shred the jicama into smooth texture and let the stach of jicama retain on the bottom of the bowl. Use the jicama starch as face mask regularly.
After acknowledge all those benefits of jicama, you can start to consume it today. But remember even the fiber is very healthy, don’t eat it in excessive amount. Too many soluble fiber in body may also effect the digestion function and cause constipation. If your usual diet low in fiber, try to increase the fiber consumption gradually.