Water Chestnuts, also known as Chinese Water Chestnuts are a variety of fruits that grow mostly in marshes and shallow waters. Belonging to the ‘sedge’ family (grass), Water Chestnuts are a popular ingredient used in Chinese dishes. While this fruit can remain crisp even after cooking, water chestnuts can be eaten in many ways. Containing zero fat, these fruits when consumed on a regular basis can work wonders if taken in proper quantities.
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Useful Information About Water Chestnuts
Water Chestnuts are native to Asia (China, Japan, India, Philippines etc.), Australia, tropical Africa and islands of Pacific and Indian Ocean. While these fruits are known as Water Chestnuts, the fruit is not a nut at all. An aquatic fruit that grows in shallow lakes and ponds, Water chestnuts can be consumed raw, cooked, boiled, fried or even in curries.
While these fruits are seasonal, you can find these in the markets during the fall season. Loaded with benefits, these fruits also contain many nutrients and minerals that are vital for the body growth.
Benefits Of Water Chestnut
1. Acts As A Body Coolant
Water chestnut is a great coolant and acts as a supplement to counter the heat during summers. This is validated by a 2016 article titled ‘Water caltrop: A potential crop of water bodies’ by Hiralal Jana, Department of Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture and published in Research Journal.
2. Prevents Oxidative Stress
A rich source of antioxidants, Water Chestnuts help prevent oxidative stress and curb the development of various chronic diseases. A 2016 study titled ‘Nutritional Quality of Chinese Chestnut and Effect of Cooking on its Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity’ published in the Wiley Online Library backs this claim. It also states that the antioxidant capability of Chinese chestnut increases after cooking.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Water chestnuts are rich in potassium. A study titled ‘How does potassium supplementation lower blood pressure?’ published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health supports this claim that the elements present in potassium with increased sodium excretion contributes to lowering the blood pressure effect.
4. Eases Weight Loss
Water Chestnuts are a good source of fiber and do not contain cholesterol and fat that are responsible for weight gain. Also, the count of calories in water chestnut is quite low. Eating fibre in adequate quantities can help ease bowel movement thus aiding in weight loss.
5. Helps Prevent The Risk Of Heart Diseases
While Water chestnuts help in lowering blood pressure, this fruit also helps in preventing the risk of heart diseases. This claim is backed by a 2011 study titled ‘Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies’ that was published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health which states that a higher consumption of potassium-rich foods prevents vascular diseases.
6. Has Anti-Cancer Effects
Rich in ferulic acid, water chestnuts are also said to be an effective therapeutic agent against breast cancer. A study titled ‘Ferulic acid exerts anti-tumor activity and inhibits metastasis in breast cancer cells by regulating epithelial to mesenchymal transition’ published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health backs this claim.
7. Helps Ease Abdominal Pain
Being rich in fibre that helps bowel movement, consuming Water Chestnuts regularly also helps ease abdominal pain and the conditions related to it like nausea, constipation and loss of appetite.
8. Helps Keep Bone And Teeth Strong
Being a rich source of calcium and Vitamin D, Water Chestnuts are a healthy alternative to the supplements used to strengthen the bones and maintaining teeth enamel.
9. Increases Immunity Level
A brilliant source of many vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals, Water Chestnuts help in increasing immunity levels. A book by Frederick J. Simoons titled ‘Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry’ says that the peel of water chestnuts contains ‘puchin’ – an antibiotic compound which acts like penicillin that can destroy bacteria thus helping to boost immunity.
10. Helps Cure Jaundice
A 2016 article titled ‘Water caltrop: A potential crop of water bodies’ by Hiralal Jana, Department of Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture published in Research Journal states that the seed (edible part) of Water Chestnut has detoxifying effects on the body and therefore is very useful for those who suffer from jaundice.
Also Read: Peach Benefits | Benefits Of Figs
Nutritional Value Of Water Chestnut
Percentage of RDA
|Total Fat||0.10 g||0.005|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g||0.08|
Percentage of RDA
|Pantothenic acid||0.479 mg||0.095|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0|
|Vitamin C||4 mg||0.07|
|Vitamin E||1.2 mg||0.08|
|Vitamin K||0.3 µg||<%|
Percentage of RDA
Percentage of RDA
Also Read: Pumpkin Calories
Risks Or Precautions When Consuming Water Chestnuts
Excessive consumption of Water Chestnuts can cause the stomach to bloat and eventually lead to pain and discomfort.
How To Consume Water Chestnut?
Water chestnuts can be consumed in many ways. They can either be consumed in raw form or in cooked state.
- Peel the skin off the fruit and relish it raw, sweet and crunchy.
- Boil the fruit after peeling it’s skin off. Immerse the fruit in boiling water and boil for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Crispy Water Chestnut: To make crispy water chestnut, all you have to do is deep-fry some water chestnuts coated with a mixture of salt, refined flour and cornstarch. Fry in hot oil till golden brown. Prepare a thick gravy similar to Manchurian gravy and add the fried water chestnuts to it. Toss and garnish with green onions.
Fun Facts About Water Chestnut
- Stems are used for making sleeping mats in Sumatra, Sulawesi and skirts in Papua New Guinea.
- Used as cattle feed or as mulch.
- The corms (edible part) look like horses’ hooves, hence the Chinese have named it ‘ma ti’ (horses’ hooves).
- Eleocharis dulcis (water chestnut) is used for making salt in Zimbabwe.
- There are two types of Water Chestnuts. The other kind, a sedge, is a common component of Chinese cuisine.
- It has a lifespan of 200 to 800 years, depending on the species.
A fruit rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, Water chestnuts can be consumed in many different and healthy ways. Even though it is loaded with numerous health benefits, it should always be consumed in requisite quantities. It is also a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisines. Make this wondrous aquatic fruit a part of your daily diet today!