Before you learn about jicama nutrition, you might first be wondering what jicama is and what it looks like.
Jicama is a root vegetable that looks like a mix between an apple and a turnip.
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.
In this article, you’ll learn about jicama nutrition and whether or not it’s safe to eat on keto.
What Is Jicama?
Jicama (also known as yam bean or a Mexican turnip) originates from Central and South America. It has played a key role in cultural dishes for centuries.
It has a turnip shape but brown skin. When you cut into it, you’ll see it’s bright white on the inside.
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.
Jicama Nutrition Facts and Calories
One glance at jicama nutrition facts will show you how nutritious it is.
A one-cup serving of raw, sliced jicama contains a total of[*]:
- 49 calories
- 0 grams of total 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.
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This is great news for keto dieters 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.
If you are trying to pay attention to your fat macros, jicama is naturally fat-free. There isn’t any monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated fat.
Health Benefits of Jicama
Along with the high jicama nutrition value, one of the key benefits 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? In a word, 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 vitamin has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease — one of the top killers in the country today. It does this by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides[*].
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA), most people don’t consume enough fiber[*].
And since it is so high in fiber, it’s considered a low-glycemic food. That means eating it could prevent spikes in blood sugar levels[*].
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?
You might worry about total carbohydrate numbers when deciding what to eat. But that isn’t the most important number to consider.
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’s 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.
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 the 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 people 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.
Jicama Is Keto-Friendly
Looking for a substitute for your favorite type of potato? Want a new keto-friendly root veggie? Jicama is the answer.
This keto-friendly vegetable tastes starchy like your favorite potatoes yet it’s not loaded with carbs. It’s high in nutrients and fantastic for your heart health. This makes it a must for keto dieters.
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°F.
- Peel and slice 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.
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 nutrition offers a number of health benefits and it’s low-carb and keto-friendly. Now go make some keto fries.