Do you sometimes feel like if you eat one more stalk of broccoli you’re going to turn into one? Or does the thought of eating another piece of broiled trout make you want to go jump into a lake yourself?
Eating healthy is a balancing act. It’s important to make the right choices to give your body the fuel it needs to thrive. But it’s also vital that you enjoy what you’re eating. Because, let’s face it, boredom leads to binging on the WRONG choices.
Finding new foods to try, and exciting new flavors to savor, can make sticking to your healthy eating habit nearly effortless.
And today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. There’s a crisp sweet snack hidden away in the produce aisle that can add that extra crunch to your salad, or zip to your side dish, you’re looking for.
Jicama is a root veggie from Mexico. Pronounced “HICK-ah-mah” or “HEE-kah-mah” without the “j” sound, it’s exactly the boredom killer you need right now. And it happens to be one of the most versatile and nutritious veggies that most folks have never tried.
6 healthy reasons to put jicama on the menu
Since grocery stores usually place the jicama near the white potatoes, you may have mistaken it for another starchy, high-carb food. But unlike white potatoes, jicama can help lower and control blood sugar, thanks to the veggie’s low spot on the glycemic index.
And better blood sugar is just the start of jicama’s health benefits.
1. Great for the gut:
Jicama is rich in gut-healthy fiber. But it’s not just any fiber. Jicama is swimming in inulin, a prebiotic fiber I’ve talked about before here in Healthier Talk.
Inulin is essentially probiotic chow, feeding the good gut bugs that keep your digestive system and entire body healthy. And since all fiber is good for digestion, jicama helps keep you regular too.
2. Drops colon cancer risk:
The inulin benefits don’t stop with feeding the probiotics in your belly. Experts say the fiber in jicama could help us fight off cancer too.
A study out of Germany found that inulin could help lower the risk of colon cancer. Plus it may be able to slow and even prevent its spread to other parts of the body if you do develop the disease.
3. Healthier heart:
If your doctor has been on you about your cholesterol numbers, jicama’s high fiber content could help. But that’s not all this root veggie can do for your heart health.
Jicama is a good source of nitrates, which help keep your blood flowing for better circulation. Plus it provides plenty of potassium which helps widen your blood vessels, lowering your blood pressure.
4. Invigorated immunities:
Thanks to its high vitamin C content, jicama is a free-radical-fighting superstar. A single cup of this delicious veggie provides an astounding 40 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
That means with every serving you’re fighting the oxidative stress which damages cells and tissues in your body. Plus the prebiotic fiber fuels your good gut bugs powering up your immunities to fight off illnesses and disease.
5. Better bones:
We naturally lose bone mass as we age. And that puts us at risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. But jicama can help. And once again, it starts with that fiber content I’ve already talked so much about.
Inulin fiber can help prevent bone loss by encouraging your bones to absorb and process calcium. Plus the potassium, magnesium and manganese you get in every bite of jicama are all nutrients your bones need to mineralize and stay strong.
6. Brain boosting:
They say wisdom comes with age. Which is true. But often so do vitamin B deficiencies. And when your vitamin B-6 levels drop too low, it can start to affect your memory and overall brain health.
But putting jicama on the menu can bypass those brain problems by providing you with a B-6 boost with every serving.
The ways we can enjoy jicama are only limited by our imagination. Following are a few of my favorite ways to use this delicious vegetable.
- Peel and slice into strips and add it to a fresh salad.
- Cut into matchsticks and toss into some coleslaw.
- Roast slices in the oven to replace potato chips.
- Cut into cubes and drop into a stir fry.
- Snack on slices straight from your fridge like carrots or celery.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy jicama and its many health benefits.