Trader Joe’s product page offers a brief but informative description of jicama, a root vegetable that is the main ingredient in these delicious wraps: cuisines for centuries. In terms of texture, this tuber resembles a crunchy cross between a water chestnut and an apple. In terms of taste, it is a bit like a radish, minus the spices. Some people even say it’s a little nutty. Overall, however, jicama is mild and neutral.”
Now that we’ve covered the roots (pun intended) and flavor profile, what are the top health benefits of jicama? Plus, aside from buying these wraps on your next Trader Joe’s run, how else can you use the whole vegetable in recipes? These questions are answered below.
Jicama’s Key Nutrients and Benefits
Before we dive into the top health benefits of jicama, Los Angeles-based dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, shares some highlights of the vegetable’s nutritional benefits. “Jicama is packed with complex carbohydrates. For this reason, it’s a good source of fiber with a serving providing just over six grams,” she says.
Next, it’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, or more specifically, it provides a “significant amount of ascorbic acid,” according to an analysis published in Food chemistry. “In fact, a cup of jicama can help you meet more than 40 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C,” adds Vaca-Flores. But that is not everything. “As with most root vegetables, jicama also provides small amounts of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6 and E, calcium, folate, iron, potassium, manganese and zinc.”
Both figuratively and literally, I’m eating all of this — and that’s before I dive into how these nutrients all benefit your health. Here’s a look at some of the biggest wellness wins you can expect from adding jicama to your diet:
1. Jicama is gut friendly
Jicama contains inulin, a specific type of prebiotic fiber. “Prebiotics like inulin promote a balanced gut microbiome by helping the good bacteria (also called probiotics) grow in the gut,” says Vaca-Flores. A balanced gut is a happy gut, promoting a cascade of benefits for your digestive system, skin health and more.
2. It provides much-needed fiber for healthy digestion and beyond
Fiber is the gift that keeps on giving – and almost all of us could use more of it. According to a 2021 study from the American Society of Nutrition, only seven percent of adults in the U.S. meet fiber recommendations (currently 31 to 34 grams per day for men and 22 to 28 grams per day for women, according to the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans ). According to the USDA Nutrient Database, one medium contains as much as jicama 32 grams of fiber, which means that with just one of these tubers, you will well exceed your daily intake. “Jicama’s high fiber content may help promote regularity and normal digestive function. Plus, eating enough fiber can help with blood sugar control, among other things,” says Vaca-Flores.
3. Jicama supports immune function
Again, jicama is rich in vitamin C, aka the antioxidant we know and love for its immunity-boosting powers. “Vitamin C helps support the healthy function of cells that are part of both the innate and adaptive immune systems,” says Vaca-Flores. So the next time you feel like you could use an immune system boost, consider switching things up from the standard OJ and adding jicama to your cart instead.
3 jicama recipes to boost your fiber and micronutrient intake
Sure, you can slice your jicama and enjoy it raw, or just sub jicama wraps (from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere) for tortillas on taco night. But if you want to get a little more creative, get inspired with these tasty jicama recipes.
1. Baked jicama fries
If you like fries and are open to nutritious alternatives, jicama fries are the way to go. In her baked jicama fries recipe, Michelle Blackwood, RN, the blogger and recipe developer behind Healthier Steps, mentions that while crunchiness on the outside shouldn’t be a problem, the key to softening them on the inside is to pre-bake them. to cook. And while it’s best to eat them freshly prepared, you can edit the recipe to your liking — whether you want to add cayenne pepper for extra heat, use butter instead of olive oil, or prefer to air-fry them.
Get the recipe: fried jicama fries
2. Jicama And Citrus Salad (Xec)
In her jicama and citrus salad (Xec) recipe, Mexico’s Mely Martinez shares in My Kitchen that this classic Yucatan side dish is especially popular on the Day of the Dead. While traditional recipes call for bitter/Seville orange — which may be harder to find — she shares that a mix of orange and grapefruit plus a dash of lime juice is all it takes to build the flavor profiles of this healthy and refreshing salad.
Get the recipe: Jicama and citrus salad (Xec)
3. Black bean tacos with spiralized jicama and avocado puree
Do you feel like your food choices are getting *out of control*? Hear the cues from cookbook author Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized who — you guessed it — uses a spiralizer to create spaghetti-like jicama slices in her plant-based recipe for black bean tacos topped with jicama salsa and avocado puree. She adds that you can substitute lettuce wraps instead of tortillas… but if you want to double the health benefits of jicama, you might as well go wild by using jicama wraps.
Get the recipe: Black bean tacos with spiralized jicama and avocado puree