Nutritional Benefits of Jicama

Sophia Wesley
Sophia Wesley
7 Min Read

Medically reviewed by Jamie Johnson, RDN

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) is a root vegetable similar to a potato. Full of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and magnesium, jicama boasts a mild, crunchy, and slightly nutty flavor.

Research suggests jicama has multiple health benefits, including potential digestive support and disease prevention.

This article discusses jicama, its nutritional value, health benefits, and different ways to eat it.

Jicama: A Fruit, Seed, or Vegetable?

Classified as a root vegetable, jicama belongs to what’s known as the Fabaceae family, or legumes. This includes legume vegetables like peas, lentils, peanuts, and beans.

While jicama is native to Mexico and Central America, it has been introduced to and cultivated in southeast Asia and parts of Africa. It is sometimes called a Mexican turnip or yam bean.


Jicama is what’s known as a starchy vegetable, which also includes potatoes, corn, green peas, and parsnips. Starch is a complex carbohydrate, so starchy vegetables like jicama have slightly higher carbohydrates than other vegetables. They’re digested slowly, triggering a steady glucose (sugar) release into the bloodstream.

Jicama Nutrition Profile

Though it’s not as commonly utilized as its potato counterparts, jicama packs a high nutritional punch that is worth considering as an option for your regular dietary routine.

A 1-cup—or 120 gram (g)—serving of sliced jicama has the following nutritional content:

  • Calories: 46
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 5.9 g
  • Sugar: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Starch: 3 g
  • Sodium: 4.8 milligrams (mg)
  • Calcium: 14 mg
  • Magnesium: 14 mg
  • Potassium: 180 mg
  • Iron: 0.72 mg

A good source of carbohydrates, jicama is naturally low in fat but high in fiber. Jicama’s high fiber content makes it a low glycemic index (GI) food, meaning it doesn’t cause blood sugar (glucose) levels to spike. Nutritionists often recommend these low-GI food options to people with diabetes or to anyone who monitors their blood sugar levels.

Jicama Benefits and Reasons to Try It

Studies show that jicama’s vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients may contribute to several health benefits.

Lowers Chronic Disease Risk

The vegetable’s antioxidant support comes primarily from its high vitamin C content—nearly 40% of the daily recommended amount in one serving.

Antioxidants are key for shielding cells from damage, leading to a lower risk of chronic (long-lasting) diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also contribute to a strong immune system, helping to fight off germs that cause infections.

Protects Heart Health

The high amount of fiber and potassium that jicama boasts may also help heart health. That’s because a solid fiber intake has been linked to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (considered bad cholesterol) levels, while potassium has been shown to help lower blood pressure.

Supports Healthy Digestion

In addition, jicama supports healthy digestion through its fiber content. Fiber is essential for keeping bowel movements regular and preventing constipation. The prebiotic compounds found in fiber also contribute to a healthy bacterial environment in the gut, which supports digestive health and overall health.

Should Anyone Not Eat Jicama?

Like any food, there is the potential for an allergic reaction to jicama in certain people. While it hasn’t been widely documented in scientific research, there have been some reports of an oral allergy related to jicama consumption. Itching around the mouth and other skin reactions have been documented in these cases.

As a high-fiber food, eating large amounts of jicama could cause an upset stomach or other digestive side effects, like constipation. Because of this, people with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may want to check with a healthcare provider before adding fiber-rich foods such as jicama to their diet.

In addition, be careful to consume only the flesh of jicama. Other parts of the plant—like the stem and seeds—have a toxic compound that may have the potential to cause symptoms like vomiting, muscle shaking, low blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat.

How to Eat Jicama

It is not quite as well-known in the Western diet as potatoes, but jicama can be a versatile addition to your regular meal routine. Remove the vegetable’s tough outer skin with a vegetable peeler or knife before eating it raw or cooked.


Jicama’s crispy texture and light, savory flavor make it a solid choice for slicing it and enjoying it raw. If desired, try it with salt, lime juice, and chili powder.

You might add it to a veggie tray or as a carrot substitute with salsa, hummus, or other dips. Raw jicama could also be presented as a traditional salad topper, in coleslaws, or with cold shrimp salads.


Just like potatoes and other root vegetables, jicama is tasty when cooked. Nutritionists recommend trying jicama in a stir-fry, using it as a potato substitute when mashed or sautéed like hash browns, with peppers and onions to taste. Jicama can also be added to cooked dishes that traditionally use water chestnuts, like spring rolls or cold pasta salads.


When it’s whole and unpeeled, jicama can be refrigerated and stored for one to two weeks. If you prefer to peel and cut your jicama ahead of time, place it in the freezer until ready to use.


Full of fiber and vitamin C but low in calories and fat, jicama can be a healthy, nutritious addition to your diet. Research suggests jicama’s nutritional benefits may span digestive support and disease prevention.

This light, crunchy, starchy root vegetable can be swapped into cooked potato recipes or served raw and sliced with dips. If you have a digestive condition, check with a healthcare provider first to ensure this high-fiber veggie is suitable for you—and be mindful of only eating jicama’s flesh, as its stem and seeds can be toxic.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.

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