Lately, many friends have come to me for advice on how to lose weight and more importantly to change their complete diet or as we say it- to go healthy! It`s true, this may be a big step for every person as well as difficult and demanding, but once you get used to the new healthy lifestyle you will never want to go back. I truly wanted to help my friends and got interested in this topic.
I came across an article about Weight Watchers and the successfulness of the program. Different people had plenty of stories and experiences about their healthy lifestyle, but my favorite was Oprah`s Winfrey. She is a true inspiration and motivation to people and some of her healthy habits really draw my attention.
What is jicama?
Jicama is a vegetable which resembles the turnip, but it differs in color and taste. The color is more similar to the sweet potato and the taste is crunchy, mild and fresh. It can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on the taste you want to achieve. It`s a root vegetable also known as yam bean (Mexican water chestnut, yacon, Mexican turnip,…) or scientifically known as pachyrhizus erosus.
This extremely healthy and one of the most popular vegetable is grown in Central America, Caribbean, South Asia and other regions with semitropical and tropical climate, similarly grown as lima bean. However, jicama`s skin is thick and inedible, unlike its related vegetables- turnip and potatoes. Regardless of this fact, it`s the inside of this miraculous vegetable which it`s incredibly healthy.
Health benefits of jicama
1.Rich in vitamin C- jicama is full with vitamin C. We all know the great benefits of this vitamin and its impact on the human`s body. Due to the fact of the presence of vitamin C, jicama boosts the immune system and has an inflammatory property. We`ve all got the same advice from the doctors- vitamin C protects us from cold and flu. Vitamin C also plays a great role in eye and skin health.
2. Low in calories- the benefit, which we all love to read and know, is that jicama has almost no fats! A great way to lose weight and maintain a healthy balance. A medium sized jicama contains around .01% polyunsaturated fat.
3. High in fiber- jicama is a great source of dietary fiber, especially oligofructose inulin- a soluble dietary fiber, which is extremely beneficial for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and improves the digestive system. The inulin make the jicama sweet, because it`s a sweet inert carbohydrate with zero calories.
4. Full in minerals- the presence of iron can increase our energy levels and jicama contains about 4mg of iron which it`s around 22% of the recommended daily dose. Jicama is also full with potassium, magnesium and calcium. These minerals play a crucial role in our overall health.
5. Promotes brain health- jicama contains a great amount of vitamin B-6 which improves brain functioning and promotes brain health. This vitamin also helps during the formation of the red blood cells and prevents the body from the attack of bacteria and viruses.
Oprah Winfrey no wonder she fell in love with this vegetable- not only is it healthy, but it is also tasty. Many people use it as a substitute to snack, especially the diabetics, but few are aware of its health benefits.
How to grow jicama?
I tried to grow jicama in my garden, but I have to admit that it was unsuccessful. Jicama requires long sunny days and a great amount of space. If you manage to provide the appropriate conditions, or at least 9 hour length of the day, you will need four months until the first roots start to develop, which are also edible. You should also take care of the plant height, you should preserve the bushy growth of the plant and remove flowers in order to encourage a better quality and production of the root.
Many cultivators protect the plant from shorter days with light set-up and portable cold frames, because of the frost and this may lead to the destruction of the jicama. Try to keep the jicama below ground levels, because like potatoes anything above ground level can be toxic and inedible. If you notice anything above the soil, cover it up again. Growing jicama may seem as a difficult, time-consuming process, but it`s definitely worth it! You will get a vegetable weighing about 250 to 1200 g.
How to cook jicama
Like any other vegetable, jicama calories are extremely healthy and beneficial for our body. You can also avoid the preparation and consume it raw, in this way you will preserve all the healthy, beneficial jicama calories and find a great satisfaction in its consumption.
Here are some of the jicama recipes, healthy and delicious:
1.Jicama fries (or jicama chips)
I found this recipe on the official site of Doctor Oz and I instantly tried it. It easy to prepare, tastes delicious and it`s healthy.
- Jicamas (depending on how much you want to prepare)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
*notice that I have made some moderations to this recipe, I made jicama fries, not chips, but the taste and preparation stay the same.
Clean the jicama from dirt and slice it in the shape of fries or chips. Put the slices on a backing paper, season it according to your taste and bake it in an oven at 400° Ffor about 25 to 30 minutes, until it`s crispy.
This recipe is low in calories and healthy, around 393 calories and you will need 3 jicamas for 4 servings. I have also tried to fry it, to get the original jicama fries, but I wouldn`t recommend it, if you want to preserve the healthy components of the jicama.
2. Jicama salad
I like my salads rich in vegetables, healthy and fresh. I recently came across a recipe which was just to my taste. I hope you`ll like it too, because it`s full with vitamins and beneficial nutrients.
- Red onion
- Red, yellow and green pepper
- Navel orange
- Cup of fresh cilantro
- Pinch of paprika and cayenne
- Lime juice
- Avocado (if you want)
- Olive oil
The preparation is very simple. You peel the jicamas and add it in a bowl. Next, slice the red, yellow and green pepper and add it to the jicama. Add also the orange, cucumber, cilantro and red onion. Pour the lime juice over the ingredients. Sprinkle the paprika and cayenne and add salt to your taste. Let it sit for an hour, so the ingredients can blend together.
3. Jicama slaw
This jicama recipe is extremely healthy, because you don`t cook or add extra oils. Enjoy you healthy jicama meals and don`t forget that you can always come up with your own healthy recipe.
- 2 carrots
- ½ Napa cabbage
- 2tbs rice vinegar
- ½ cup of lime juice
- 2tbs honey
- Salt and pepper
- 2tbs chili powder
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
Take a large bowl and place the peeled jicama, cabbage and carrots in it. Take a side bowl, mix honey, lime juice, chili powder, oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour the side bowl mixture over the large bowl. Fold in the cilantro and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional value of jicama:
|Jicama, Fresh, Raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient Data Base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.19 g||<1%|
|Dietary Fiber||4.9 g||13%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.135 mg||3%|
|Vitamin A||21 IU||1%|
|Vitamin C||20.2 mg||34%|
|Vitamin E||0.46 mg||3%|
|Vitamin K||0.3 µg||<1%|