Jicama is a root vegetable that resembles a very large potato or brown turnip. When eaten raw, it has a mild flavor with a crisp texture, not unlike an unripe pear. Eat it raw, sprinkled with salt and lime juice, or use it as a vehicle for dips from ranch dressing to hummus. Jicama may also be used in a stir-fry to create a crunch similar to water chestnuts or sauteed on its own for a side dish. A ½ cup serving of jicama counts toward your 2 to 3 cups of vegetables adults are recommended to eat each day.
The jicama is also known as the yam bean root and is a relative of the sweet potato. It is native to South America and Mexico. Jicamas may grow as large as 6 pounds. You must peel a jicama before eating or cooking it.
Macronutrients and Calories
One cup of jicama, amounting to about 4.6 ounces, contains just 49 calories and virtually no fat. Jicama are mostly carbohydrates--offering 11.47 grams per cup. Jicama is not a significant source of protein, with just 0.94 grams of protein per cup.
Jicama provides 6.4 grams of fiber per cup. This is about 16 percent of the 38 grams recommended daily for men and 25 percent of the 25 grams recommended daily for women by the Institute of Medicine. Fiber is important to digestive health, contributes to lower cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar and aids in weight loss.
A cup of jicama provides 40 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, notes Joanne Larsen, R.D. on Ask the Dietitian. It also provides about 16 percent of your daily folic acid needs. Jicama, per cup, is a moderately good source of potassium offering 195 milligrams--the same amount as you get in a peach, notes Drugs.com. Potassium is important for fluid balance and blood pressure control.
Jicama can be included with other fruits in a Mexican-style fruit salad. Combine cubes of jicama with mango, pineapple, watermelon and cucumbers to make a refreshing tropical dish with loads of nutrition. Jicama can also add crunch to green salads without all the calories and fat of croutons, nuts or bacon bits.