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Jicama Three Ways

June 18, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

One of my favorite, summer snacks is fresh jicama. It’s got everything you can possibly hope for in a healthy, low carb treat. Jicama is crunchy, refreshing and is kissed with just the right note of sweetness. This under appreciated root vegetable, which is also known as Mexican turnip or yam bean, is a noteworthy source of dietary fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. And, since it’s largely comprised of water, jicama is also an excellent way to stay hydrated as the thermostat rises. As a bonus, a generous, one cup serving of jicama contributes less than 50 calories to your daily tab.

When I mention my love of jicama to the uninitiated, I’m often asked, “What do you eat it with?”. So, here are three of my preferred ways. All involve dipping fresh jicama sticks into homemade savory mixtures. As an aside, each of the following recipes carry significant health benefits.

Dip #1 – Combine almond butter with a hint of cayenne pepper and a splash of soy sauce. Almond butter is nutrient dense and proven to help manage appetite, blood sugar and elevated lipids. Cayenne pepper supports healthier circulation by improving endothelial function and health. Soy sauce, in particular dark soy sauces, inhibit advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and manage oxidative stress due to its potent antioxidant (phenolic) content. In short, this Asian-inspired, mini-recipe is a powerhouse for anyone concerned about diabetes and heart disease.

Dip #2 – A mixture of unsweetened Greek yogurt and Blue cheese makes a delicious counterpoint to the apple-like taste and texture of jicama. According to recent studies, this simplified version of Blue cheese dressing may be useful in bolstering the immune system and discouraging cellular changes and growth that can result in common cancers including leukemia.

Dip #3 – I’m a big fan of garlic hummus. As you may already know, the primary ingredients of this dip/side dish are: ground chick peas, pressed garlic and tahini. Chick pea (garbanzo bean) consumption has been found to lower adhesion molecules and inflammatory biomarkers that are associated with cardiovascular risk. The addition of tahini or sesame seed butter further enhances the cardioprotective properties of this dip by lowering LDL cholesterol and lipid peroxidation. Finally, adding garlic to vegetarian dishes may very well increase the bioavailability of select nutrients (iron and zinc) that are naturally found in grains and legumes.

Mrs. Healthy Fellow and I recently celebrated her birthday at the restaurant of a famous, celebrity chef here in Los Angeles. On the the menu was jicama wrapped guacamole. The jicama was sliced super thinly with a mandolin and then used to make little dumpling-like pouches filled with a luscious and mildly spicy guacamole. Absolutely delicious! So for you all you home chefs and foodies out there, you are only limited by your own imagination!

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Nutrition Facts: Raw Yambean (Jicama) (link)

Study 2 – Acute and Second-Meal Effects of Almond Form in Impaired Glucose (link)

Study 3 – Influence of Capsicum Extract and Capsaicin on Endothelial Health (link)

Study 4 – Antiglycation and Antioxidant Properties of Soy Sauces(link)

Study 5 – Effects of Highly Ripened Cheeses on HL-60 Human Leukemia Cells (link)

Study 6 – Reducing the Risk of Infection in the Elderly by Dietary Intake of (link)

Study 7 – Legume Consumption Is Inversely Associated with Serum(link)

Study 8 – Effect of Sesame Seed on Lipid Profile and Redox Status (link)

Study 9 – Higher Bioaccessibility of Iron and Zinc from Food Grains in the (link)

Study 10 – Nutrition Facts: Chickpeans (Garbanzo Beans), Cooked, Boiled (link)

“Ripened” Cheeses May Inhibit Cancer Cell Growth

Source: Journal of Dairy Science Volume 93, Issue 4, April 2010 (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition

4 Comments & Updates to “Jicama Three Ways”

  1. Marcy Says:

    Fantastic looking, I would eat this in a heartbeat, guacamole wrapped in paper thin jicama,…if I could ever find anything like it in Denver! I never think to buy or use jicama. I am on a quest.

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Marcy,

    It’s worth seeking out! When you find it, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do!

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2016 Jan;58(1):56-63.

    Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) extract increases insulin sensitivity and regulates hepatic glucose in C57BL/Ksj-db/db mice.

    This study investigated the effect of jicama extract on hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity in an animal model of type 2 diabetes. Male C57BL/Ksj-db/db mice were divided into groups subsequently fed a regular diet (controls), or diet supplemented with jicama extract, and rosiglitazone. After 6 weeks, blood levels of glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin were significantly lower in animals administered the jicama extract than the control group. Additionally, glucose and insulin tolerance tests showed that jicama extract increased insulin sensitivity. The homeostatic index of insulin resistance was lower in the jicama extract-treated group than in the diabetic control group. Administration of jicama extract significantly enhanced the expressions of the phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase and Akt substrate of 160 kDa, and plasma membrane glucose transporter type 4 in skeletal muscle. Jicama extract administration also decreased the expressions of glucose 6-phosphatase and phosphoenol pyruvate carboxykinase in the liver. Jicama extract may increases insulin sensitivity and inhibites the gluconeogenesis in the liver.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/16:


    Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2015 Jun;20(2):88-93.

    Hypoglycemic Effect of Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) Extract on Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Mice.

    The purpose of this research was to investigate the inhibitory effect of jicama extract on α-glucosidase activity, α-amylase activity, and postprandial hyperglycemia in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. Jicama extract showed prominent inhibitory effects against α-glucosidase and α-amylase. The IC50 values of jicama extract against α-glucosidase and α-amylase were 0.083±0.004 and 0.091±0.017 mg/mL, respectively. The increase in postprandial blood glucose levels was more significantly suppressed in the jicama extract-administered group than in the control group of both STZ-induced diabetic and normal mice. Blood glucose levels of the control group increased to 383.75±11.54 and 402.50±15.32 mg/dL at 30 and 60 min after a meal and decreased to 349.67±11.62 mg/dL at 120 min. However, postprandial blood glucose levels were significantly decreased, when diabetic mice were fed with jicama extract (342.00±15.73, 367.00±13.00, and 329.67±12.43 mg/dL at 30, 60, and 120 min, respectively). Furthermore, the area under the curve was significantly decreased with jicama extract administration in diabetic mice (P<0.05). Therefore, these results indicate that jicama extract may help decrease postprandial blood glucose level by inhibiting α-glucosidase.

    Be well!


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