Jicama Nutrition Facts

Calories, carbs, and health benefits

Jicama, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Jicama has gained a great deal of popularity in food circles. So what is jicama? This root vegetable (pronounced HEE-ka-ma or more commonly HIK-ka-ma) is a tuber, similar to a potato. It has thick, brown skin and white, crisp, juicy flesh. Jicama root is also called Mexican jam bean, Mexican potato, sweet turnip, or Mexican turnip. While jicama can be sliced and enjoyed raw, many savvy cooks use jicama in many recipes to take advantage of the nutrition that the vegetable provides. Jicama can also be a low-carb replacement for water chestnuts

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (130g) of jicama slices.

  • Calories: 49.4
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 5.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11.5g
  • Fiber: 6.4g
  • Sugars: 2.3g
  • Protein: 0.9g

Carbohydrates

Jicama is a good source of healthy carbohydrates. There are three different types of carbohydrates in a single serving (130 grams or one cup) of the vegetable.

A single medium-sized jicama provides about five 1-cup servings. Each serving boosts your fiber intake by around 6 grams. If you eat the entire vegetable, you'll increase your fiber intake to 30 grams. The fiber in jicama also helps to decrease the number of net carbs in each serving, bringing it to 5 grams per serving.

There are also about 2 grams of naturally occurring sugar in one cup of jicama. The remaining 3 grams of carbohydrate in jicama is starch. 

Because of the high fiber content in jicama, it is considered a low glycemic food. The glycemic load of this vegetable is approximately 10. The glycemic load takes the serving size of food into account as well. A glycemic load of less than 10 is thought to have little effect on blood glucose response.

Fats

Jicama is a naturally low-fat food, providing less than 1 gram of fat per serving. If you eat an entire medium jicama, you'll get a small amount (0.3 grams) of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are considered "good" fats because they help to boost heart health when you choose them instead of saturated fat.

Protein

There is only a small amount of protein in jicama. A single serving provides only 2 percent of your daily protein needs if you eat a 2,000 calorie per day diet. 

Micronutrients

Jicama is a good source of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). You'll get 26 milligrams of the vitamin or 40 percent of your daily recommended needs. Our bodies do not synthesize vitamin C naturally so eating foods with vitamin C is essential for good bone structure, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron and promotes wound healing.

Jicama provides a small amount of vitamin E ( 0.1 milligrams or 3 percent), folate (4 percent), vitamin B6 (3 percent), thiamin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid (2 percent each).

Jicama provides a boost of potassium, with a single serving containing 195 milligrams, or about 6 percent of your daily needs. Other minerals provided by jicama include iron (0.8 milligrams or 4 percent), magnesium (15.6 milligrams or 4 percent), copper (3 percent), phosphorus (2 percent), calcium (2 percent), and zinc (1 percent).

Health Benefits

The most significant health benefits you gain by including jicama in your diet come from its high fiber content and concentration of vitamin C.

Fiber boosts your health in many different ways. Not only does fiber improve digestion and regularity, but fiber also provides many other health benefits, including decreased risk of some types of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including vitamin E. Antioxidants may help to prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases, although research is ongoing about the extent of the health benefits that they can provide.

Common Questions

Below are answers to common questions about jicama.

What does jicama taste like?

Even though jicama looks more like a potato, many jicama eaters describe the taste as being more similar to a savory apple. It has a crisp texture and a nutty flavor.

Look for jicama that has smooth skin and seems heavy for its size. Most experts recommend choosing a medium-sized vegetable. Larger ones tend to be less flavorful.

When is jicama in season?

You can usually purchase jicama year-round at your local market. But it is best in the fall and spring between October and March.

How should I store jicama?

Jicama should stay fresh for about two weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Cover any exposed areas with plastic wrap to minimize air exposure.

Can I eat the skin of the jicama?

The tough brown skin of jicama should be removed before eating. It can be peeled in the same way that you would peel a potato with a paring knife, although using a vegetable peeler will probably not work, as the skin may be too tough.

Will cut jicama brown like a potato if left exposed to air?

No. Even though there are similarities between a potato and jicama, jicama is not likely to brown when exposed to air.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

If you enjoy eating veggies and dip as a low-calorie snack, add jicama to your list of produce to slice and enjoy. Add it to a crudités platter or eat it like a carrot. Raw jicama with hummus or your favorite savory dip is one of the easiest ways to enjoy this root vegetable. 

Jicama recipes are popular, too. You can use jicama as a healthy salad topper or as a key ingredient in an Asian Shrimp Salad. Many Tex-Mex cooks add jicama to salsa with corn and black beans. And home cooks who like traditional American cooking add it to coleslaw for a boost of nutritious, crunchy sweetness. Asian cooks might add jicama matchsticks to spring rolls.

While jicama is delicious raw, the tuber can be cooked. You might try adding jicama to your favorite stir-fry. You can even use jicama instead of potatoes in your favorite home fries recipe. Add peppers and onion to balance the sweet flavor.

Allergies and Interactions

While the flesh of jicama is safe to consume, other parts of the jicama plant are not safe for human or animal consumption. The stems and seeds of the jicama plant contain a naturally occurring compound that is used as an insecticide and to kill fish. The compound, called rotenone, is toxic. 

In animals, rotenone has caused vomiting, incoordination, muscle tremors, and clonic convulsions. Cardiovascular effects include tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), hypotension (low blood pressure), and more severe conditions including death. While humans may not experience symptoms this severe with exposure to small quantities, it is best to avoid eating other parts of the jam bean or jicama plant. 

There are limited reports of jicama allergies, but some documented reports do exist. If you experience allergy symptoms after consuming jicama, seek medical advice to diagnose and treat your condition.

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Article Sources

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