When it comes to keto diets, they are very strict in terms of the overall number of carbs that you consume. This is because keto diets only allow you to eat foods that have a low number of carbs, which is the primary prerequisite of putting your body in ketosis.
Now, whether you’re new to keto or have been on a keto diet for a while, you might be on the hunch for adding as many keto foods as possible to your diet. Because, quite frankly, if you’re consuming the same foods every week, it may get boring.
Ultimately, you will end up thinking of switching to alternate diets. However, doing that wouldn’t be wise as you will have to sacrifice your weight goals. There is a way you could add some fun to your keto diets by looking for foods like Jicama to add to your diets.
But is jicama keto? Can you safely eat jicama on a keto diet as it is a type of root vegetables which are usually considered forbidden in keto. Well, that may not be the case for jicama. Here is an insight into what a jicama is and whether or not it is keto friendly.
What is Jicama?
Jicama is essentially a part of the bean family. Ideally, the tuberous root part of the jicama is consumed and is treated the same way as other root vegetables. It originates from Mexico and goes by different names including:
- Yam bean
- Mexican turnip
- Mexican potato
- Mexican yam
- Mexican water chestnut
- Chinese potato
Although jicama is considered a root vegetable it is way different than other root vegetables in terms of its texture. It has a crunchy texture and is extremely juicy which makes it substantially refreshing.
Not only that, but it is also very delicious (slightly sweet flavored) and can be consumed by simply peeling it and consuming it raw. Jicama is also considered an alternative of potatoes which is why it is referred to as the Mexican potato.
Generally speaking, the difference between the two is that potatoes cannot be consumed raw, whereas jicama can be consumed raw. Jicama grows on vines which can go as high as 20 feet high.
Regardless of how high the vines go, only the underground root parts of jicama are consumed. Talking of the size of jicama, these are medium sized and can range from a small sized gala apple to as large as two fists combined.
Ideally, jicama requires specific growth conditions and grow best in areas that are warmer year round. If we put this on a map, the two best regions for jicama growth include Mexico and South America which is where jicama usually comes form.
Apart from these two regions, jicama is also grown in other parts of the world including Asia and the Philippines.
However, a point to be noted is that only the underground root part of Jicama is edible, and the bean parts are not safe for your consumption. The bean parts are toxic and determinantal for your health.
The root parts are low in carbs; a 100 gram serving of jicama has as little as 9 grams of carbs -thus making it ideal for low carb diets.
How is Jicama usually consumed?
Jicama is a versatile food, and it can be consumed in a number of ways. The traditional way to consume jicama is usually in its raw form by peeling it and slicing it into small pieces.
It can be served with lemons or freshly squeezed lime juice seasoned with chili powders for a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
Since it is a refreshing and fresh food, it pick-ups flavors as well. You can marinate it with any types of spices and serve them with a combo of a salad. Or you can serve it as a main meal as well.
Apart from consuming it raw, jicama can also be consumed in cooked forms. This makes it an excellent all-rounder vegetable and allows you greater flexibility in terms of how you tend to consume it.
However, if you intend to serve it cooked, you should know that jicamas are heat sensitive. For best results and cooking, you need to cook it over medium to low heat, or simply steam or roast it.
Now that you have an understanding of what jicama actually is, let’s focus on whether jicama is keto or not.
Is Jicama Keto?
Fortunately, yes! Jicama is keto friendly and absolutely safe for adding to your keto meals. It has a low amount of carbs, sugars, calories, and a high amount of fibers. A 100 gram serving of jicama has only 9 grams of carbs, and over 4.9 grams of fibers.
Considering the carb content of jicama, it can safely be added to your keto diet plan without taking up much of your daily carbohydrates content -thus allowing you to keep it under 30 – 50 grams of carbs per day easily.
It is an excellent alternative for starchy foods like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips which are considerably high in carbs. It contains less than half of the amount of carbs in potatoes, so unlike potatoes and other root vegetables, jicama would not put you out of ketosis.
Jicama is an excellent addition to your keto diet because it can be prepared in a lot of ways. In fact, you can also make jicama fries which many people often crave on keto diets. More on keto friendly jicama recipes is mentioned in the later part of this article.
However, do not let this distract you from the fact that despite jicama being low in carbohydrates content, you still need to avoid eating excess amounts of jicama. Excess consumption of any food will kick you out of ketosis and the same goes for jicama as well.
So, make sure you keep your serving sizes balanced and ensure you are not exceeding the 30 – 50 g carb per day intake when eating jicama.
When consumed in balanced amounts, there are a lot of health benefits you can receive from jicama. But, before we get into the health benefits of jicama on keto, let’s first look at the overall nutritional profile of jicama.
Jicama: Nutritional Profile
Jicama has an excellent nutritional composition and can provide you with a number of nutrients including fibers, proteins, and minerals. According to the USDA, a 100 gram serving of jicama has the following nutrients:
|Energy||38 kcal / 159 kJ|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.09 g|
|Total dietary fiber||4.9 g|
|Vitamin C||29.2 mg|
|Vitamin A||1 mcg|
|Vitamin A||21 IU|
|Vitamin E||0.46 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.33 mcg|
As you can tell from the nutritional profile of jicama, you can receive a wide number of health benefits from the vitamins, and mineral content.
Health Benefits Of Jicama:
Here is an insight into the health benefits of jicama:
1. Improved Immune System:
Jicama is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is substantially beneficial in terms of improving your immune system and strengthening it to fight off diseases easily. Moreover, the vitamin C content in jicama also serves as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants essentially reverse the damage caused due to the oxidative stress in your body. When this oxidative stress is lowered, not only are the harmful free radicals removed from your body, but it also lowers the risk of certain health complications. This includes
- Cardiovascular complications
2. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels:
Jicama has a high amount of dietary fibers and lies between the lower end of glycemic index. Ideally, when you consume jicama as part of a balanced diet, it will allow you to maintain your blood sugar levels without taking any supplements for it.
Moreover, sudden spikes in your blood sugar can also be prevented simply by eating jicama. So, if you’re trying to maintain a certain level of blood sugar or have diabetes, eating jicama will be an excellent option for you.
3. Rich In Prebiotics:
Interestingly, jicama is also a rich source of prebiotics including inulin. These are essentially a good type of bacteria and yeast that can be potentially beneficial in terms of improving your health.
As you might already know, your gut contains certain bacteria. When you eat probiotics containing foods like jicama, it will allow your body to maintain a balance of the good bacteria in your gut.
As a result of this, it will significantly improve your gut health and reduce the risks of gut complications. Keep in mind, probiotics are essentially a form of fibers which go undigested by your stomach.
So, even if you consume small amounts of jicama, you will be benefiting from all of the inulin (prebiotic) content in your serving.
4. Significantly Improves Digestion:
Dietary fiber is a crucial part of our diets and an important aspect of digestion. Fortunately, jicama is also a good source of these dietary fibers. When consumed as part of a regular diet, it will help your body in digesting foods better.
Moreover, it will also allow the food to move efficiently in your intestines. Ultimately, an improved digestion and normally moving foods through the intestines helps in lowering the risks of digestive complications.
In addition to this, the dietary fiber in jicama is a special kind of dietary fiber referred to as inulin which is essentially a prebiotic as well.
Despite dietary fibers being helpful for your body, it is often overlooked, and many people are not even consuming the recommended amounts of dietary fibers per day. Over 25 grams of dietary fibers per day are required for women, whereas men require over 30 grams.
If these dietary requirements are met by eating fiber rich foods like jicama, it can also lower the risks of constipation, regulate your blood sugar levels and may even be helpful in preventing health complications like diabetes and heart diseases.
5. Helps In Hydrating Your Body:
Over 85% of the nutritional content of jicama is water which is why it is often served in Mexico as a refreshing treat on hot summer days. Since jicama is mostly water, it will keep your body hydrated which allows you to maintain kidney health and lowers the risks of dehydration.
6. Rich in Antioxidants:
Jicama is an excellent source of antioxidants including vitamins C & E, and selenium. Antioxidants are known to remove free radicals from your body which helps fight off a number of chronic diseases thus lowering their symptoms and preventing them.
7. Promotes Healthy Heart Health:
Jicama root vegetable is an excellent supplement for promoting heart health and preventing the risks of cardiovascular complications. The reason behind this is that jicama allows you to lower the LDL cholesterol levels in your body.
Apart from this, jicama also contains natural nitrate. It promotes a healthy circulation of blood throughout your body, which also prevents blood clots. Thus, making jicama ideal for improving your overall health and bodily functions.
8. Builds Strong Bones
Jicama contains a number of nutrients like:
All of these collectively help in strengthening your bones and preventing bone loss. As a result of strengthened bones, you will be able to perform all of the physical activities like exercises without the risks of bone fractures.
Keto Friendly Jicama Recipes
There are hundreds of keto friendly jicama recipes. But here are some of the most popular and easy jicama fries recipes to get you started on adding jicama to your keto diets.
1. Plain Salted Jicama Fries – A French Fries alternative
- Jicama – 1 Cup
- Avocado Or Olive Oil – 1 Tablespoon
- Sea Salt (To Taste) – 1/4 Teaspoon
- For making jicama fries, you need to set the temperature of your air fryer to precisely 390 degrees Fahrenheit and preheat your air fryer.
- Grab a large bowl and mix together all of the ingredients thoroughly.
- Prepare the jicama and put them in the air fryer (must be preheated).
- Let them cook for over 15 – 20 minutes. Make sure to flip them mid-way to ensure they are properly cooked from all sides.
- After the fries are cooked, get any dip sauce, serve and enjoy while hot!
2. Low Carb Keto Spicy Spiral Jicama Fries Recipe
- Jicama – 2 cups
- Avocado or olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Sea salt – 3/4 teaspoon
- Garlic powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Chili powder – 1/4 teaspoon
- Cumin – 1 teaspoon
- Smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon
- Grab the jicama root vegetable and wash them thoroughly. Start by peeling them and put them in a spiralizer to turn them into curly shaped fried.
- Take a medium sized pot, add some water, and salt. Set the temperature to medium heat and let it boil.
- Toss in the curly fries and boil them for 8 – 10 minutes. This will soften the fries.
- After boiling, drain the water, and place the fries in a big bowl. Add avocado or oil and toss in the seasonings.
- Let the fries season thoroughly and then put them on a baking sheet (large sized and must be greased).
- Set the temperature to 390 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the fries for 25 – 30 minutes. Make sure to flip them mid-way and ensure that the fries are tender and crisp.
- Get your favorite dipping sauce (sour cream or keto-friendly ketchup), serve and enjoy while hot.
Other Keto-Friendly Recipes Of Jicama:
- Roasted jicama with olive oil, chili and garlic powder or any other spices of your liking.
- Jicama stews and soup.
- A combo of jicama, cucumber, bell peppers, and other veggies in a salad.
- Sautéed jicama with avocado oil.
Is jicama keto? Yes, jicama is a low carb root vegetable with only 8.82 grams of carbohydrates per a 100 gram serving. It is rich in fibers, vitamins, antioxidants, and other minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and more.
Due to the low amount of carbs in jicama, it can be added to a ton of different recipes without having to compromise your keto diets or put your body out of ketosis. When consumed as part of a regular and balanced diet, jicama can be super beneficial for your health.
It can help you in improving your immune system, lowering your blood sugar levels, aiding in digestion, hydrating your body, strengthening your bones, and fighting off free radicals from your body. So, you will not only be staying in keto, but your health will also improve significantly.
If you're looking to learn more about keto friendly foods click on one of the links below: