Jicama: Health benefits, nutrition, and diet tips

Originally from Mexico, the jicama is sometimes also known as a Mexican turnip or yam bean.

Although the root is safe to eat, the rest of the plant, including the beans, are toxic.

In this article, we discuss some of the potential health benefits of eating jicama. We also cover its nutritional content, safety, and how to use this vegetable.

Healthful source of dietary fiber

Jicama is a good source of fiber. A 1-cup or 130-gram (g) serving of raw jicama contain 6.4 g of dietary fiber.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most Americans do not get enough fiber. The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 25 g a day for females and 38 g for males. For those over 50 years of age, the daily intake recommendations are 21 g for females and 30 g for males.

Dietary fiber can prevent or treat constipation. It can also help stabilize a person’s blood sugar, which may help treat or prevent diabetes. High-fiber diets also promote regular bowel movements and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the FDA.

Furthermore, getting more fiber in the diet may contribute to people living longer.

A 2016 study followed 1,609 adults, aged 49 years or older, for 10 years. The researchers found that participants who consumed the most fiber had a greater likelihood of aging successfully.

Among the nutritional factors the study assessed, fiber intake was the most significant predictor of health and longevity. This epidemiological data suggests that increasing fiber-rich foods in the diet may decrease disease during the aging process.


Probiotics are bacteria and yeast that are beneficial to human health.

Living in every person’s gut is a large community of bacteria. Consuming foods or supplements that contain probiotics can help restore the natural balance of this community. Studies link probiotics with a range of health benefits, including improved gut health and a lower risk of certain infections.

Prebiotics are a type of fiber that the body cannot digest. Prebiotics support the growth of probiotics by providing them with food. Jicama is rich in inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber.

Jicama is low in calories and sugar, very low in fat and protein, and high in fiber. A single 100 g serving of raw jicama contains:

  • 38 calories
  • 8.82 g of carbohydrates
  • 1.80 g of sugar
  • 0.09 g of fat
  • 0.72 g of protein
  • 4.90 g of fiber
  • 150 mg of potassium
  • 12 mg of calcium
  • 20.20 mg of vitamin C


For people interested in trying jicama, it is essential to know that only the root vegetable is safe to eat. The rest of the plant, including the beans and flowers, contain rotenone.

Rotenone is a natural insecticide that is toxic to humans, especially in large doses. Research suggests that consuming rotenone may raise a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s.

A person should also remove the brown skin before eating jicama. Anyone who develops an allergic reaction or digestive symptoms after consuming jicama should avoid it in the future.

How to use

Eaten raw, jicama tastes similar to an uncooked potato but slightly juicier and sweeter.

A person can use jicama to add flavor and texture to a variety of dishes. Try adding it to a Mexican fruit salad or thinly slicing it to give some crunch to a vegetable salad.

Some other, easy ways to prepare jicama include:

  • thinly slicing the jicama, sprinkling it with sea salt and lime juice, and serving on top of avocado
  • sautéing it and tossing with other vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots
  • using it as a substitute for water chestnuts in a stir-fry


Jicama is a starchy root vegetable that people describe as tasting like a sweeter and juicer version of potato. It is low in calories, sugars, and fats, but rich in fiber and contains several essential vitamins and minerals.

Jicama may be a good choice for people with diabetes or those on a low-sugar diet. The root vegetable is safe to eat cooked or raw and can add texture to a wide variety of meals. However, the rest of the plant, including the flowers and beans, is toxic.

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