Jicama Nutritional Information

Calories, Carbs and Health Benefits of Jicama

Jicama
Jicama, whole and chopped. Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Getty Images

Jicama is a root vegetable which is not at all starchy. It is low in carbohydrates and calories and high in fiber. The texture is somewhere between an apple and a raw potato. It is mostly water and has a mild, refreshing flavor. It is usually eaten raw, but can also be used in cooked dishes. It provides a refreshing crunch to salads and can be used as a vegetable dipper to replace chips or crackers.

Jicama (pronounced HIH-ka-ma) is the tuber formed by the root of the plant Pachyrhizus erosus, which is a member of the bean family and grows as a vine above ground. The plant and its seeds are poisonous and are not eaten. It has lots of different names, mostly depending on where in the world you are. It can be called yambean or yam bean (although this is technically a family of different plants), Mexican water chestnut, Mexican potato, Mexican turnip, sengkwang, Chinese potato, ahipa, and saa got. To make it more confusing, in some areas of Central America, the words yacon and jicama are both used for an unrelated plant.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Jicama

  • 1 ounce of raw jicama: 1 gram of effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram of fiber and 11 calories
  • 1 cup of raw jicama slices: 4.5 grams of effective (net) carb plus 6 grams of fiber and 46 calories
  • 4 ounces (1/4 pound) of jicama: 4 grams of effective (net) carbohydrate plus 6 grams of fiber and 42 calories

    Glycemic Index for Jicama

    As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of jicama.

    Estimated Glycemic Load of Jicama

    • 1 ounce of jicama: 0
    • 1 cup of raw jicama slices: 2
    • 4 ounces (1/4 pound) of jicama: 2

    Using Jicama

    Jicama has a tough brown skin that is not edible but is fairly easy to remove.

    Once you get the process started with a knife you can often peel it with your fingers. Then it can be sliced, cubed, or cut into strips.  It is great for dipping into dips or as a vehicle for spreads instead of crackers. Examples of low-carb spreads and dips that work well with jicama dippers:

    You might also use jicama in a low-carb recipe such as for Thai-style chicken salad.

    Health Benefits of Jicama

    Jicama is a very good source of vitamin C and fiber, with about 5 grams of fiber and 24 percent of the RDA of vitamin C in 100 grams (3.5 ounces).  In addition, some of its carbs are in the form of inulin, an oligosaccharide that is a prebiotic, feeding the friendly bacteria in your colon. The inulin gives jicama its slightly sweet flavor.

    There have been studies on animal models and humans to begin to explore whether jicama extracts have effects on platelets and insulin sensitivity.

    Sources:

    Park, CJ and Han, JS. Hypoglycemic Effect of Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) Extract on Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mice. Preventative Nutrition and Food Science. 20(2):88=93 (2015).

    Thaptimthong T, Kasemsuk T, Sibmooh N, Unchern S. Platelet inhibitory effects of juices from Pachyrhizus erosus L. root and Psidium guajava L. fruit: a randomized controlled trial in healthy volunteers. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2016;16(1). doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1255-1.

    USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.

    Continue Reading