Waterchestnut – Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

Waterchestnut – Health Benefits, Uses and Important Facts

The aquatic vegetable known as water chestnut, Chinese chestnut, or Singhara (botanical name: Eleocharis dulcis) is a staple food in the kitchens of Northern India. Despite its English name, Water Chestnut is actually a vegetable, with its stem-like tubular green leaves growing to a height of 5 feet.


Although it originated in China, you may find water chestnuts all over the world, especially in Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Water Chestnuts, which resemble small, circular corms, are a staple in Chinese and Thai cuisines and can be eaten raw, cooked, sweetened, grilled, or even found in tins. Water Chestnuts, like tiger nuts and lotus roots, retain their crisp texture even when cooked thoroughly; this is due to the presence of phenolic chemicals.



What is Waterchestnut?

Singhara or paniphal in Hindi refers to the water chestnut that is popular in India. It's name comes from the fact that it thrives in the water of Kashmir's lakes. 

When eaten fresh, water chestnuts have a mild sweetness and a satisfying crunch. When cooked, they become firm and crispy and take on a subtle nutty flavour that is readily overpowered by bolder seasonings and sauces.



Other names of Water Chestnut:

There are a few distinct names for it in India. Singhara is the common name in Hindi and Tamil, but it also goes by Paniphal in Bengali, Singade in Gujarati, Vankotta in Jalaphalam and Karimpola, Singade in Kannada, Karimpolam in Malayalam,  Shingoda in Marathi, Kubyakam in Telugu, Singhade in Punjabi, Panipala in Oriya, and Singada in Telugu and Kannada.



Nutritional value of WaterChestnut:

The water vegetable known as water chestnut (or Singhara) is low in calories and carbohydrates and high in essential nutrients like fibre,  manganese,  potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and copper. It has 3 grams of protein, 23.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fibre.


Significance of water chestnut in Hindu festival:

During the Navratri festival, when devotees abstain from eating grains and cereals, it enjoys a surge in popularity. Delicious treats like puris, parathas, and rotis can be prepared with singharare ka atta (chestnut flour) instead of wheat flour.



How to use waterchestnut in cooking?

The crisp texture and mild flavour of water chestnuts make them a versatile ingredient. Some examples of tasty dishes that incorporate water chestnuts:


  1. Water chestnuts are a staple in Asian cuisine and are frequently used in stir-fries. They improve the dish with their crisp texture and understated flavour. The water chestnuts may be easily stir-fried with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Water chestnuts offer a crisp texture to salads and are therefore a great addition. Make a salad with greens, carrots, and the sliced meat.
  3. Water chestnuts are a great addition to soups because they contribute both texture and flavour. Sliced water chestnuts can be added to the soup in the final minutes of cooking.
  4. Water chestnuts are a delicious filler option for wraps and rolls. Wrap them in a lettuce leaf or a rice paper roll with some additional vegetables, protein, and sauce.
  5. Water chestnuts are a delicious and nutritious snack option. You can eat them raw after a quick rinse and peel, or you can slice them and put them on a tray with other raw vegetables.
  6. Sweet soups, sweet glutinous rice cakes, and other crunchy Asian delicacies all benefit from the addition of water chestnuts. 
  7. Before slicing or chopping water chestnuts for use in a recipe, they should be well rinsed and their brown outer covering peeled off. The rough and fibrous outer skin should not be consumed.



Health benefits of waterchestnut: 

High in Antioxidant

Water chestnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants, including ferulic acid,  epicatechin gallate, gallocatechin gallate, and catechin gallate.

The peel contains the vast majority of antioxidants, but the flesh also has a respectable amount. Even after being cooked, water chestnuts retain their crisp texture thanks to ferulic acid.


Curb the progression of tumours

The anti-cancer properties of water chestnuts have been studied. Antioxidants, studies show, can slow the growth of cancer cells.


Curb potential health problems.

Water chestnuts' high antioxidant content has been linked to a reduced risk of disease. Oxidative stress can occur when the body's natural defences are weakened due to an accumulation of free radicals.

Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and numerous forms of cancer have all been linked to oxidative stress. Luckily, water chestnuts and other antioxidant-rich foods may aid in prevention.


Reduces calorie intake

The calorie count of water chestnuts is incredibly low. About 50 calories can be found in half a cup of chopped water chestnuts. Water chestnuts have a low calorie count but are packed with beneficial nutrients like protein, fibre, copper, riboflavin, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6. They are primarily water (about 74%) and carbohydrate (approximately 9 grammes) in composition.


Assist in Slimming Down

Water chestnuts have a low calorie count, which may be helpful for dieters. A higher fibre content in water chestnuts means you'll feel fuller for longer. Without significantly increasing your calorie intake, they aid in satiety.


Boosts gut's immunity

The high fibre content of water chestnuts facilitates healthy digestion. Fiber facilitates bowel movement and the development of beneficial bacteria in the gut, both of which aid digestion. Constipation is avoided because it absorbs water, making faeces softer and easier to pass.


Reduce the hazards linked with hypertension

Potassium, which is present in water chestnuts, helps lower blood pressure.

Research has linked increased potassium intake to an increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in those who already suffer from hypertension. Those who consumed more potassium were shown to have a 24% reduced risk of stroke in the same study.


Beneficial to Hair

Because of its high potassium, zinc, B vitamin, and vitamin E content, water chestnuts are excellent for hair health.


Restrain swelling

Antioxidants found in water chestnuts help repair cells and lower inflammation. These antioxidants include diosmetin, fisetin,  luteolin, and tectorigenin. Antioxidants like those found in water chestnut peels help keep the body healthy and free of disease.


Supply Bulking Agents

The high fibre content of water chestnuts has been linked to a variety of health advantages. Fiber makes you feel full and satisfied, which leads to less food consumption overall, better digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and more stable blood sugar.



How is singhara flour made?

Although water chestnuts are seasonal, their flour or atta form is readily available all year long. To make this flour, the fruits are simply dried and then pounded into a powder.


It is eaten on special occasions when fasting is required and rice, wheat flour, and other whole grains are off-limits. In Hindi, this is called Vrat Ka Atta. Because it lacks the gluten that causes digestive issues for some people, people with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gluten sensitivity can safely eat Singhara atta.



Side-effects of waterchestnut:

The thick flesh of the water chestnut, which is only available in the winter, can be difficult to digest. Avoid it if gas, constipation, or stomach pain is a problem. Despite its low calorie content, some research suggests that eating candied Singhara can lead to weight gain. Do not consume if you have a cold because it may increase your phlegm production. In order to aid digestion, Ayurvedic experts advise waiting at least an hour before drinking water after eating fresh Water Chestnut.


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