When browsing the produce section of your local grocery store, chances are you’ve come across some unfamiliar root vegetables.
One in particular resembles a mix between an apple and a turnip. So what exactly is this bulbous veggie — and can you eat it on keto?
I’m talking about jicama.
When it comes to root veggies on a low carb or ketogenic diet, you have to be aware of the total carb, net carb, dietary fiber count and overall nutritional content of the veggie you want to eat.
Today we’ll find out if jicama is safe to eat on keto or not and how nutritional it truly is. Let’s start with the basics:
What is Jicama?
Jicama (also known as yam bean) originates from Central and South America and it has played a key role in cultural dishes for centuries.
If you’re following a low carb or keto diet, you may take a look at this root veggie and assume it’s abundant in carbs.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case. A one-cup serving of raw, sliced jicama contains a total of:
- 49 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- 11 grams of carbs
- 5 grams of net carbs
- 6 grams of fiber
- 1 gram of protein
Five grams of net carbs per serving — not as much as you assumed, huh?
While jicama has a relatively low carb count, it still provides many key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and folate.
This is great news for ketoers because you need to pay special attention to micronutrients on keto to avoid deficiencies. Adding vegetables like jicama to your diet will help you get these crucial vitamins and minerals, along with their health benefits.
Health Benefits of Jicama
One of the key benefits of jicama is that it can improve gut health thanks to its abundance of fiber.
A one-cup serving of this root veggie gives you about 25% of your daily fiber needs.
But what makes the fiber found in jicama different from the fiber in other vegetables? Jicama’s fiber contains inulin.
Inulin is a natural soluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Not only does it encourage the growth of helpful bacteria, but it prevents harmful bacteria from growing as well.
Inulin and other prebiotic fibers in jicama also boost your immune system.
Along with being high in prebiotic dietary fiber, jicama is also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C — giving you over 40% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant — meaning it can protect you from free radical damage. Free radicals negatively impact your health because they harm healthy cells.
This means jicama is good for your gut, immune system, and heart, but is it keto-friendly?
Does Jicama Fit Into a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
To determine whether or not jicama fits into your ketogenic diet, you have to take a look at the net carb count per serving.
It is true when they say “not all carbs are created equal.” Net carbs are considered non-impact carbs, meaning they have little to no impact on your insulin levels.
You can figure out net carbs by subtracting the fiber count from the total carb count.
Since Jicama has 11 grams of total carbs and 6 grams of fiber, that means it has just 5 grams of net carbs.
Pretty cool, huh?
The low carb content of jicama (plus all its health benefits) means you can indulge in this vibrant veggie on keto. That’s why it’s part of our keto-approved low carb vegetables list.
When Should Jicama Be Avoided on a Low Carb or Keto Diet?
Worried about consuming too much jicama on a keto or low carb diet?
Not only does jicama lack any significant carbs (or calories), it’s phenomenal for your overall health.
There is really no need to avoid jicama on the standard ketogenic diet (SKD). Sliced, raw jicama is keto and low carb friendly since it contains 5 grams of net carbs per cup, which fits perfectly within the SKD carb limit.
If you’re following the SKD, your daily carb intake should range anywhere between 20 to 50 grams (sometimes less, sometimes more). But this isn’t the only plan you can choose from. In fact, there are a few different variations of the keto diet.
For example, the targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is meant for people that lead a more active lifestyle. The TKD allows an additional 20 to 50 grams of carbs up to an hour both before and after your training times. If you were concerned about your carb intake for the day, this is when you’d have more wiggle room.
Bodybuilders, athletes and other individuals training at high intensities might want to eat more carbs in order to adequately restore their glycogen. In this case, the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) comes into play.
The CKD follows your typical SKD for the majority of the week, with the other one or two days being dedicated to carb backloading, which involves a high carb intake of 400-600 grams of carbohydrates.
So Is Jicama Keto Friendly?
Looking for a substitute to your favorite type of potato? Want a new keto-friendly root veggie? Jicama is the answer.
You can enjoy this veggie in multiple ways, but the most popular is jicama fries.
To make jicama french fries, all you need is one jicama. Then follow these instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
- Peel and slice the jicama into sticks
- Toss the sticks with olive oil or melted coconut oil, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and pepper and place them on a prepared baking sheet.
- Bake these bad boys for up to 45 minutes or until they become crispy.
Can you say yum?
While you might be worried about depriving yourself of your favorite high carb veggies on keto, jicama proves you don’t have to. This root veggie is a perfectly safe alternative to your favorite carb-heavy side dishes.
Jicama is low carb and keto friendly.
Now go to make some keto fries.