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Jicama

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Jicama Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 90.1 g
Calories: 38 kcal
Protein: 0.7 g
Carbohydrate: 8.8 g
Dietary fiber: 4.9 g
Sugars: 1.8 g
Fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 20.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B9: 12 μg
Vitamin A: 1 μg
Vitamin E: 0.5 mg
Vitamin K: 0.3 μg
Calcium: 12 mg
Iron: 0.6 mg
Magnesium: 12 mg
Phosphorus: 18 mg
Potassium: 150 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

Jicama (also known as yambean or Mexican yam) is a root vegetable usually eaten raw, and fantastic in soups, stir-fries, salads and Mexican cuisine.

Unlike some other root vegetables, eating the leaves is not such a good idea (they are highly poisonous), but the jicama itself has a sweet, starchy flavour, sometimes described as being somewhere between an apple and a potato.

On top of being interesting in a culinary sense, the jicama is fantastic for digestive health and at reducing your risk of certain cancers.

Jicama has a good nutritional profile, being especially high in vitamin C, important for processes like iron absorption and wound healing.

One medium jicama (659g) contains 221% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C, in addition to 128% DV of dietary fibre, which has great digestive benefits (more on that below), and 28% DV of potassium, a mineral with proven cardiovascular benefits.

Jicama is not only high in vitamin C and fibre however. The large amounts of ‘dietary fibre’ in a jicama don’t do justice to the type of dietary fibre contained. Along with foods such as onions and leeks, jicama is very high in oligofructose and inulin, two members of the class of carbohydrate known as fructans.

Both are good for you for three main reasons: they stimulate bifidobacteria growth, they may have benefits for the prevention of intestinal diseases, and they may reduce your risk of cancer (see this review).

Firstly, oligofructose and inulin stimulate bifidobacteria growth. But what does this mean? Bifidobacteria are a kind of bacteria found in your gut, and eating oligofructose and inulin allows them to outcompete other bacteria in the gut that may be detrimental to your health.

Health benefits ascribed to having high levels of bifidobacteria include stimulating the immune system, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and aiding in the synthesis of B vitamins.

The digestive benefits of jicama don’t stop there, however. There is some evidence that they may help to prevent the incidence of intestinal disease, in particular the formation of aberrant crypt foci, clusters of abnormal tube-like glands in the colon. These are one of the earliest warning signs for problems that could be as bad as colon cancer, which, by the way, inulin has been proven to reduce the risk of.

In addition, there is some evidence that inulin and oligofructose reduce the risk of breast cancer. With the digestive and anti-cancer benefits of jicama so powerful, it’s no wonder that it’s made our list of healthiest foods.