Jicama for Lower Cholesterol
March 25th, 2021
Mexican Turnip or Mexican Yam, is commonly known as Jicama here in Mexico, and is a vegetable that is not praised enough for its health promoting benefits, namely it ability to lower high cholesterol, and improve bowel health. Before we dive into the benefits and the best ways to consume this amazing vegetable, let’s take a closer look at cholesterol.
Forget for a moment everything bad you have heard about cholesterol, because cholesterol in fact is good for you and your body, cholesterol can save lives! Your body uses cholesterol on a daily basis, and uses it to make hormones, digestive fluids, vitamin D, as well as assisting in the normal functioning of organs in your body. Cholesterol is a type of waxy substance, that is mostly made by your liver, and the rest is consumed via your diet and can be found floating in ‘groups’ in the blood stream, which are called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are commonly known as Bad Cholesterol (LDL) which can build up to form plaques in the arteries, and Good Cholesterol (HDL) which transports extra cholesterol from the body to the liver to eliminate it from the body. When the levels of the LDL get too high for too long, or the HDL too low for too long this is where issues can occur such as; cholesterol build up in the arteries leading to atherosclerosis, stroke, chest pain, heart attack, effects on memory, reduced blood flow, numbness in legs, as well as gallstones and abdominal pain.
There are many medications and natural remedies that have proven to assist in the lowering of cholesterol, such as regular exercise, avoiding smoking and alcohol, reducing stress levels and most importantly maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, and Jicama is one of the foods that can lead to a lowering of cholesterol levels.
Jicama mostly contains a type of soluble fiber called Inulin, this compound is not digested by the gut, and acts as a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria in the gut, aiding in digestion, preventing constipation, assisting in weight loss and increasing the absorption of Calcium. Mostly importantly the Inulin found in Jicama has the ability to bind to compounds involved in the production of cholesterol, by assisting in the elimination of excess LDL, and preventing the liver making more LDL cholesterol, whereby reducing high cholesterol levels, and maintaining normal levels.
Jicama is native to Mexico and you will find this root vegetable on most corner streets served raw with a little lime juice and chili. However did you know they can also be lightly boiled and eaten as a healthier alternative to potatoes, added to stir-fries, used instead of water chestnuts, or can be fried, baked or roasted.
When picking the right Jicama from your local market ensure you choose one that is firm with smooth skin, no cracks or bruises, or soft spots, the smaller they are the sweeter they are so choose ones according to how you wish to use them, it is important to note that the skin and the leaves are not edible. If you haven’t already tried these health promoting root vegetables be sure to give them a try in this delicious plant based recipe that is low carb, high fiber and a healthy way of eating fries.
SPICED JICAMA FRIES
Takes 40 min. Serves 6 people
500g jicama, peeled & cut into fries
Juice from 2 limes (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves crushed fresh garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder or flakes
1/4 tsp cumin ground or whole
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 220°C and line baking tray with baking paper.
Place the fry sized jicama in a pot with water until they are just covered, and boil for 10mins. Place the drained jicama on baking sheet and add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat well. Spread the jicama fries out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden brown, tossing halfway through. The jicama will remain with a little crunch in the inside, and now you can enjoy these low carb fries guilt-free!