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Managing Diabetes To Reducing Weight, Some Amazing Health Benefits Of Jicama

Jicama, considered a superfood, is a starchy root vegetable and a potent medicinal plant. This tuber has been a staple food in many parts of the world like Central America, Asia and Mexico for centuries.

Jicama is shaped like a globe and has a golden-brown peel and a fleshy, starchy, crunchy white interior. The taste and flavour resemble a savoury apple or pear. Jicama is often recognised as a hybrid of potato and turnip due to its potato-like exterior and shape and turnip-like white interior.

Jicama is scientifically known as Pachyrhizus erosus, and it is popular by the names shankh aloo, Mexican turnip, yam bean, Mexican potato and Mexican water chestnut. Jicama belongs to the bean family or a family of legumes as it is a root of a plant that produces lima bean-like beans. However, the jicama plant's beans are poisonous.

Here, we will discuss some of the health benefits of jicama. Take a look.

Nutritional Profile Of Jicama

Jicama contains bioactive compounds like flavonoids, saponin, choline, phytoestrogen, inulin, folic acid and pyridoxine. The tuber contains both soluble and insoluble fibres.

Jicama is also a good source of nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B complex. [1]

According to the USDA, 100 g of raw jicama contains 90.1 g of water and 38 kcal. It also contains: [2]

Health Benefits Of Jicama

1. Helps manage blood glucose

A study talks about the glucose-lowering properties of jicama. It says that jicama tuber can help reduce glucose spikes after meals and inhibit the actions of alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase, which are linked to carbohydrate digestion and an increase in glucose levels in the body. [3] The low calories, low-glycemic index and insulin-resistance properties of jicama also help in managing blood glucose.

2. Good for heart

A study talks about the cardiovascular benefits of fresh juice of jicama. It says that yam bean root juice can help inhibit platelet aggregation (or blood clot) in humans and decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke. [4]

3. May help in weight loss

Jicama is low in calories and high in fibre. A cup of jicama containing around 120 grams of the tuber has only 46 calories. This is why consumption of this root vegetable may help reduce hunger and control weight gain. According to a study, jicama is also good for people with obesity as it works at cellular levels and helps improve body weight to a great extent. [5]

4. May help boost immunity

Jicama, also known as Bengkoang in Indonesia, contains high amounts of crude fibre and carbohydrates. A fibre extract made from jicama may help facilitate the production of antibodies like gM, IgG, and IgA that help boost the immune system and fight against pathogens entering the body.

5. Good for the digestive system

Jicama contains starch and high amounts of fibre, which is good for the digestive system. It may help bulk up the stool and aid constipation. The high amounts of water in jicama are also good to ease constipation and prevent the risk of dehydration. Jicama is also a prebiotic due to the presence of inulin and helps maintain good gut health.

Side Effects Of Jicama

Jicama is a tuberous root vine; the roots of jicama are safe to consume while other parts like its beans, flowers and leaves are toxic as they contain a natural insecticide rotenone. The toxin is also present in the roots but in very small amounts such that it does not affect human health.

Consumption of the beans of jicama may lead to seizures and coma in severe cases and may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease. It is always good to peel the tuber before eating. [7]

To Conclude

Jicama is a crunchy and tasty tuber highly consumed in Eastern India. It is available year-round in the country, but mostly from October to spring. Include this superfood in your diet and get its health benefits.

Story first published: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 16:30 [IST]
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