Water chestnut, commonly known as singhara in India is a vegetable that is quite common in Indian & Chinese households. Unlike its name, it is not related to chestnut in anyway. In fact, it is not a nut but an aquatic vegetable that is grown on marshes, ponds and seasonal & perennial lakes. Though, it is a seasonal vegetable, canned water chestnut is available throughout the year.
The vegetable – triangular in shape – is thick & white with a mild sweet taste and flavour. The seed coat is quite hard with 2 or 4 blunt projections and can only be removed either by slicing them into two pieces or by boiling them which makes the seed coat softer.
Health Benefits of Water Chestnut:
The crunchy texture and fresh mild flavour of water chestnut sets this vegetable apart. It does not lose its crunchiness on being cooked or canned. It can either be eaten raw or boiled besides being used as a filling addition to dishes. Just one-half cup of water chestnuts provides 10% of the daily value (DV) of vitamins B6 & B7, potassium, copper, manganese and iodine. Vitamin B6 supports healthy brain and immune system function, while thiamin and riboflavin help your body convert food into energy.
The medicinal properties of water chestnuts have rendered them usable in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicines. Their numerous health benefits are valuable for people of all ages and genders:
- Water chestnuts are a perfect food to form part of a healthy lifestyle. They are high in nutrients and low in calories & almost fatless. Water chestnuts in one-half cup have only 60 calories, so you don’t have to worry about eating a little more of this nutritious vegetable. And thus it makes them a healthy food option.
- Water chestnuts contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium & fat. Thus they can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by maintaining your blood cholesterol level. Water chestnuts’ zero fat content may help you prevent weight gain when adding them to your diet.
- Water chestnuts contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of potassium, copper, manganese and iodine in a half-cup serving. Each of these minerals plays a role in your overall health. Your heartbeat maintains a steady rhythm with the help of potassium, while copper aids in red blood cell production. Manganese helps build bones and also aids in metabolizing carbohydrates & cholesterol.
- Water chestnut acts as an excellent coolant for the body. It promotes salivation and quenches thirst. They are just perfect to beat the scorching heat of the summers, thanks to their excellent cooling properties.
- It acts as an excellent tonic for removing toxins from the body. And due to their detoxifying properties, water chestnuts are beneficial for people suffering from jaundice. (They can eat it in raw form or in juice form.)
- As water chestnut contains useful minerals like iodine and manganese, it helps in maintaining proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Being rich in polyphenolic and flavonoid antioxidants, water chestnuts possess anti-bacterial, antiviral, anticancer and antioxidant properties. They help in strengthening the stomach & the spleen and remove symptoms of weak spleen such as bad taste, insomnia, feeling sick, fatigue and cancer.
- The extracts of the water chestnut plant are effective in curing the disorders of nausea and indigestion. The powder gruel of the water chestnut is beneficial for intestines and for removal of internal heat.
- The usage of water chestnut either in raw form or in juice form helps to alleviate the problem of bad appetite in children as well as in adults.
- Water chestnut is effective in treating different urine infections.
- The juice of water chestnut is used to control diarrhoea and dysentery and fruits are used in treating sore throat, anaemia, fractures, bronchitis and leprosy.
- The powder of water chestnuts is effective in relieving cough. Grind water chestnuts to make powder and consume it twice a day. This is a natural remedy to provide instant relief from cough.
- It helps in treating hypertension during pregnancy and improves foetal growth. Porridge made from the flour of water chestnut is given to a pregnant woman after delivery to check haemorrhage. The dried seeds stop bleeding and treat miscarriage issues in women. It also promotes mammary gland secretion of milk.
- The juice extracted from water chestnuts eliminates the phlegm in the chest and also increases virility.
- Water chestnuts eliminate inflammations and blood impurities. They are energy boosters which drive away tiredness and check the flow of blood from wounds.
- Water chestnuts are excellent sources of potassium, which is vital for proper muscle and neural functioning. It also regulates water retention and blood pressure by balancing sodium.
In addition to their numerous health benefits given above, water chestnuts can be beneficial for your skin & hair too:
- As detailed before, water chestnuts purify the blood by removing toxins from the body, which results in providing glowing and youthful skin appearance.
- Water chestnuts are effective in treating conditions like measles. Water chestnuts boiled in water makes an excellent solution for measles patients. Having this drink on a regular basis for at least 6 to 9 days provides great results.
- A paste made from powdered skins of water chestnuts can be applied on the swollen areas of the skin for relief.
- Water chestnut seed powder mixed with lemon juice helps to cure eczema if applied regularly.
- Water chestnuts are beneficial for your hair also as they contain certain essential nutrients such as potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E , which are needed for healthy hair.
Stay Healthy & Happpy!!