The Trader Joe’s product page offers a brief yet informative description of jicama, a tuberous root vegetable that is the key ingredient in these delicious wraps: “Native to Mexico and South America, Jicama (HICK-ah-mah) has been a staple in certain cuisines for centuries. Texturally, this tuber resembles a crunchy cross between a water chestnut and an apple. In terms of flavor, it's a bit like a radish—minus the spice. Some folks even say it's slightly nutty. On the whole, however, jicama is mild and neutral."
- Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Glow+Greens
Now that we have its roots (pun intended) and taste profile covered, what are jicama’s key health benefits? Moreover, aside from buying these wraps on your next Trader Joe’s run, how else can you use the whole veggie in recipes? These questions, answered below.
Jicama’s key nutrients and benefits
Before we dive into the key health benefits of jicama, Los Angeles–based dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, shares a few highlights of the veggie’s nutrient content. “Jicama is loaded with complex carbohydrates. For this reason, it's a good source of fiber with one serving providing a little over six grams,” she says.
Next up, it’s also an excellent source of vitamin C—or more specifically, it offers a “significant amount of ascorbic acid,” per an analysis published in Food Chemistry. “In fact, a cup of jicama can help you meet more than 40 percent of the Recommended Dietary Intake for vitamin C,” Vaca-Flores adds. But that’s not all. “As with most root vegetables, jicama also delivers small amounts of many vitamins and minerals including vitamins B6 and E, calcium, folate, iron, potassium, manganese, and zinc.”
Both figuratively and literally, I’m eating this all up—and that’s even before dives into how these nutrients all stand to benefit your health. Here’s a look at some of the biggest wellness wins you can expect by adding jicama to your diet:
1. Jicama is gut-friendly
Jicama contains inulin, a specific type of prebiotic fiber. “Prebiotics like inulin promote a balanced gut microbiome by helping to grow the good bacteria (aka probiotics) in the gut,” says Vaca-Flores. A balanced gut is a happy gut, which promotes a cascade of benefits for your digestion, skin health, and more.
2. It offers much-needed fiber for digestive health and beyond
Fiber is the gift that keeps on giving—and nearly all of us could use more of it. According to a 2021 study by the American Society of Nutrition, a mere seven percent of adults in the U.S. meet fiber recommendations (which currently stand at 31 to 34 grams per day for men and 22 to 28 grams per day for women, per the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans). According to the USDA's nutrient database, one medium jicama contains a whopping 32 grams of fiber, which means you'll more than exceed your daily intake with just one of these tubers. “Jicama’s high fiber content can help promote regularity and normal functioning digestion. In addition, eating enough fiber can help with blood sugar management, among other benefits,” Vaca-Flores says.
3. Jicama supports immune function
Again, jicama is rich in vitamin C, aka the antioxidant we know and love for its immunity-boosting powers. “Vitamin C helps to support the healthy function of cells that make up both the innate and adaptive immune systems,” Vaca-Flores says. So the next time you feel like you could use an immune boost, consider switching things up from the standard OJ and adding jicama to your cart instead.
3 jicama recipes to boost your intake of fiber and micronutrients
Sure, you can slice and dice your jicama and enjoy it raw on its own, or simply sub jicama wraps (from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere) for tortillas on taco night. But if you want to get a bit more creative, gain inspo with these tasty jicama recipes.
1. Baked jicama fries
If you love French fries and are open to nutrient-dense alternatives, jicama fries are the way to go. In her recipe for baked jicama fries, Michelle Blackwood, RN, the blogger and recipe developer behind Healthier Steps, mentions that while outer crispiness shouldn’t be an issue, the key to making them soft on the inside is to boil them before baking. And while it’s best to eat them freshly prepared, you can edit the recipe to your liking—whether you want to add in cayenne for extra heat, use butter in lieu of olive oil, or prefer to air fry them.
Get the recipe: Baked jicama fries
2. Jicama and citrus salad (Xec)
In her jicama and citrus salad (Xec) recipe, Mely Martinez of Mexico in My Kitchen shares that this classic Yucatan side dish is especially popular on the Day of the Dead. Although traditional recipes call for bitter/Seville orange—which may be more difficult to find stateside—she shares that a mix of orange and grapefruit plus a touch of lime juice will suffice to build out the flavor profiles of this healthy and refreshing salad.
Get the recipe: Jicama and citrus salad (Xec)
3. Black bean tacos with spiralized jicama and avocado mash
Feel like your food choices are *spiraling* out of control? Take cues from cookbook author Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized who—you guessed it—uses a spiralizer to make spaghetti-like jicama slices in her plant-based recipe for black bean tacos topped with jicama salsa and avocado mash. She adds that you can substitute lettuce wraps in place of tortillas… but if you want to double down on the health benefits of jicama, you might as well go wild by using jicama wraps instead.
Get the recipe: Black bean tacos with spiralized jicama and avocado mash
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