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A Jicama is...
A jicama is a delicious fruit that it’s well known for its taste, juiciness and tropical flavor. Its scientific name is PachyrhizusErosus, it is an edible tuber that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although they are not related. It is a leguminous plant, herbaceous, with a globular root, juicy and sweet. Its texture is crunchy and watery if consumed raw.
The jicama is native to Mexico, where it is also known as “the jicama”, “Mexican potato” or “Mexican turnip”, also grown in South and Central America and California. It is also very popular in the Philippines and Eastern and Southeast Asia.
Its root is the only edible part and it is consumed as a fruit or vegetable. This plant is in season all year, but its best moment is from December to June in the northern hemisphere. Plants grow best in hot, dry climates. Those planted in the summer produce the tastiest fruit, although they are usually somewhat smaller. The plant prefers full sun and moderate rainfall, making it a bad choice for northern climates. In addition, jicama produces a natural insecticide on the vine above the ground, which means that the plant is protected from harmful pests.
The jicama has numerous benefits, and these are based mainly on the optimal and unique blend of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other organic compounds which include dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate; in addition to vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and a small amount of protein.
Next, you can explore the nutritional elements that make the jicama so important to the diet of diverse cultures around the world.
One of the most important elements of the jicama is the high levels of dietary fiber it contains. The dietary fiber helps to mobilize the digestive tract and reduce the negative conditions of it, such as constipation.It is also a rich source of insulin oligofructose, the soluble fiber, which comprises a sweet and inert carbohydrate that is not metabolized into simple sugars. This means that the jicama can be a good sweet supplement for diabetic patients, without compromising the fluctuation of blood sugar too much.
Strengthens the immune system.
There is a huge amount of vitamin C in the jicama. In fact, a 100 grams of jicama is equivalent to approximately 40% of the total daily requirement of ascorbic acid. Therefore, due to this high vitamin value, jicama helps to strengthen the immune system and to stimulate white blood cells, which are body’s main line of protection against diseases.
In this way, jicama fights against bacterial, viral, fungal or pathogenic diseases, adding vitamin C to the body after its consumption. In addition, the antioxidant potential of vitamin C makes it possible to fight cancer by interrupting the effects of free radicals, which have been widely associated with heart disease and cancer itself. Free radicals are found in the body as a result of cellular metabolism.
Manages blood pressure
Since the jicama is a rich source of potassium, it is able to help control blood pressure, establishing itself as a vasodilator, reducing the tension in the blood vessels and arteries. That is why it helps reduce stress in the cardiovascular system. Potassium is also essential to maintain the balance between liquids and salts throughout the body, which helps to keep it hydrated and functioning optimally.
Improves brain functioning
Vitamin B6 has been linked to increased brain function and cognitive abilities, and the jicama contains it in significant amounts. This vitamin is also one of the main contributors to the breakdown of proteins into usable amino acids and other forms of protein for humans. This expands metabolic processes and the effectiveness of different organ systems.
Increase bone strength
The levels of manganese, magnesium, iron and copper found in the jicama mean that this root can be used as an important reinforcement for bone mineral density. These compounds are essential for building strong bones and repairing any damage to their structure. In this sense, the jicama prevents the appearance of conditions such as osteoporosis, a disease that millions of people suffer throughout the world.
Low-calorie foods are very important for those trying to lose weight. Also, it is very important if these foods, in addition to being low in calories, are also full of nutrients and dietary fiber in order to make the body feel plenty.
In this regard, the jicama is an excellent appetite reducer and appease cravings in a healthy way, without gaining weight or losing nutritional benefits.
Warnings about the jicama
It should be noted that although the root of the jicama is edible, the rest of the plant is highly toxic. Care should be taken not to eat the pods of the seed, the leaves, or the vines.
The reason for this is that the jicama plant contains significant levels of a fat-soluble organic toxin called “rotenone”. This toxin is concentrated especially in the upper part of the leaves, stems and pods of the seeds, but at much lower concentrations in the roots.
Putting all this aside, the jicama is a very healthy food that can bring plenty of nutrients to our diet and bring a series of great health benefits.