Never Thought You'd Be Eating Jicama Root?


jicama root

Don't feel bad. This warm-climate tuber is often overlooked in produce sections of grocery stores as another variety of potato. But, it is not. Grown along the Mexican peninsula as well as in Central American, the Caribbean and the Andes Mountain region of South America, jicama root is quickly becoming a popular veggie in the United States. With a taste that is often compared to that of a crisp apple, the root is naturally low in calories and high in vital nutrients.

Jicama (also called Mexican Water Chesnut) is shaped like a large turnip but is best known for its white meat and solid texture. Unlike turnips, the peeling is not edible and contains rotenone, an organic toxin. Part of the legume family, the root grows on vines and is also an important food in many parts of Southern Asia. It is a starch that acts more like a super food when consumed. As an excellent source of fiber, jicama does not metabolize in the body and enhances the absorption of calcium from other foods.

The fibrous vegetable contains many important nutrients and vitamins such as potassium, vitamin C, folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, thiamin, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. It also contains a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer, inflammation, viral cough, colds and infections. Jicama has a very low glycemic index and is consider to be a great food source for diabetics as well as individuals who are trying to lose weight.

Jicama root is a carbohydrate but one cup only contains about 50 calories. Wash the root like you would a potato, peel and then slice into French-fry sized sticks and dip them in salsa or chill the slices sprinkled with a chili powder, salt and lime juice. Culinary applications are almost endless as jicama can be used in salads, stir fries, casseroles, soups and many Asian dishes. As a quick snack or part of an entree, jicama root should be added to your menu plan.

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