What is Water Chestnut?
Despite its nutty title, the water chestnut is never a nut but a starchy root crop. Water chestnut plants are cultivated in marshy or wetland regions and can be consumed raw or cooked.
They are mostly known as a popular ingredient in Chinese kitchens. Their flavor is soft and slightly sweet, and they can remain crunchy even after being cooked. Water chestnut is a good source of potassium, fiber, and several healthful antioxidants.
Water chestnut, or Chinese water chestnut scientifically known as Eleocharis dulcis, is a wholesome tuber that belongs to the family of Cyperaceae (sedge) and is indigenous to Asia (Japan, China, India, Philippines, etc.), tropical Africa, Australia, and various islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is grown in several countries for its edible corms. The Chinese water chestnut may be falsely taken for the European type (Trapa natans) and another Chinese type of water chestnut (Trapa bicornis) which have thick floating leaves and bears a horn-shaped nut. These are not economically relevant and may even become weeds. Water Nuts are some of the accepted common names of Chinese Water chestnuts. Water chestnut is simply not a nut at all, but rather an aquatic vegetable that thrives in mud, marshes, underwater, and has a dainty taste and a crunchy feel that makes it excellent in stir-fries and sautéed vegetable dishes or solely raw in a salad.
Tubers of water chestnut are native to the still, marshy, or slow-moving water plains of South-East Asia.
Water chestnut plant bears plenty, round corms below the soil, which becomes ready for harvest when its leaves are yellowed. The bulbs have coarse dark brown skin, measuring about 5 cm in diameter and 30g in mass. It’s crispy inside, white-fleshed, mildly sweet, and has a pleasant aroma.
Do not confuse Chinese water chestnut with European water caltrops (T. Natans), which is also recognized as western water chestnuts in many markets.
Bush Nut, Edible Spike Rush, Chinese water chestnut, Ground Chestnut, Spike Rush, Water Chestnut, and Water Nut.
The nutritional value of this amazing root crop is as follow:
It contains many bio-chemical compounds like epicatechins and catechins antioxidants. It has a penicillin-like compound known as puchin. Besides this, it contains vanillin, gallic acids, hydrocinnamic acids, and coumaric acids. It has a reasonable amount of potassium and a reduced amount of sodium and thus good for one’s blood pressure and heart. Obese people should abstain from eating it because it is more carbohydrate-containing. 100 grams of the crop has the nutritional value of;
- Fat (0.1g)
- Calories (97)
- Potassium (584mg)
- Carbohydrate (24g)
- Protein (1.4g)
- Sodium (14mg)
- Fiber (2g)
- Protein (1g)
- Calcium (1%)
- Vitamin C (6%)
- Vitamin B-6 (15%) and
- Magnesium (5%).
Water Chestnuts Nutritive Recipes
The recipes below can be made from water chestnuts.
- Bacon-enfold water chestnuts
- Snow peas together with water chestnuts
- Bacon together water chestnut appetizer
- Chestnut can also be utilized in the making of many recipes like Moo Goo Gai Pan, Egg rolls, vegetarian potstickers, ultimate chicken stir-fry, vegetarian cabbage rolls, and stuffed green peppers.
- Cashew shrimps together with water chestnuts
Health Benefits of Water Chestnut
Water chestnut has a sweet, mild flavor and a crunchy texture. Due to its high nutrition content, it is an excellent food source. Due to its high medicinal properties, it is also used in Ayurvedic medicines. The amazing health benefits of water chestnuts are well discussed below:
Good for the Heart
It helps to keep our body healthy simply by reducing blood pressure. Folks suffering from congestive heart disease and hypertension can get significantly relieved of their symptoms by eating a high potassium diet. Water chestnut, when supplemented as a vital element in nutrition, helps stabilize the heartbeat. It also lowers the incidence of heart attack and arrhythmia. High potassium foods, when taken with a diuretic, are well known to lower the incidence of stroke by up to 60 percent in men.
Helps Post-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms
Taking a vitamin E (tocopherol) supplement for up to 3 days before and after a menstrual period helps to limit anxiety, cramping, and PMS-related cravings. Water chestnut is made up of a considerable amount of tocopherol that decreases pain duration and severity, and it can lower menstrual blood loss. It Achieves this by naturally balancing hormones, and it helps to keep one’s menstrual cycle regulated.
Water chestnuts are loaded with antioxidants, including diosmetin, fisetin, luteolin, and tectorigenin, which can assist in repairing damaged cells and lower inflammation. This, in turn, can shield the body from numerous chronic infectious diseases. These antioxidants are majorly found in the peel of this root crop.
Protects Eye Health
Nutrient deficiencies are fundamental reasons for countless eye disorders. Research has proved that taking vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) along with other vitamins, such as folate (vitamin B9), can help with the prevention of eye ailments and loss of sight. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) rich food like water chestnut is among the best options for getting a great amount of pyridoxine since it has about 0.407 mg of vitamin B6, which is 31.31 percent of our daily recommended value. Pyridoxine is considered to help slow the development of certain eye disorders as well as age-linked macular degeneration.
Provides Filling Fiber
Water chestnuts are very high in fiber, and fiber has a lot of beneficial effects on health. It helps to keep you satiated and satisfied, aids in digestion, and can also regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Almost all activities need energy. Even breathing or walking needs energy. The mainspring of energy required for your daily recommendation comes from glucose. The source of glucose is from the sugars and starches you consume. Sugars and starches get disintegrated into simple sugar with the help of insulin during the digestion process. Glucose then enters the cell wall. The extra sugar from food gets stored in the liver, muscles, or other parts of the body. This then gets changed into fat later. Water chestnut is made up of 29.69 g of carbohydrate, which represents 22.84 percent of the daily required value.
Reduces Risk of Stroke
A half-cup of water chestnuts has 7 percent of your daily potassium requirement. An evaluation of 11 studies on cardiovascular disease and stroke found that higher intake of dietary potassium “is associated with reduced rates of stroke and may also lower the risk of total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Those folks who do not get sufficient riboflavin have more tendencies to experience recurring headaches and migraines. However, when a folk gets enough vitamin B2 (riboflavin), the level of headaches is reduced. A riboflavin-rich food such as water chestnut is advised to be included in your regular diet to avert this problem. One experimental study of 55 patients showed that those who took from 200 to 400mg of riboflavin had remarkably fewer migraines and headaches than others given the placebo. Research claims that vitamin B2 lowers both the intensity and frequency of headaches.
Since Chinese water chestnut is not a nut, it is then safe for folks with allergies to tree nuts. No Chinese water chestnut allergy has been reported in the entire medical works of literature. If you experience signs of food allergy (like swelling and itching around your mouth) after taking water, chestnuts, or any other food at all, consult your health care provider (doctor) for a proper diagnosis.
Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Manganese with other minerals, like copper, calcium, and zinc, can help lower bone loss, particularly in older women who are more sensitive to bone fractures and weak bones. Manganese deficiency also imposes a risk for bone-linked complaints since manganese aids with the formation of bone supervisory enzymes and hormones involved in bone metabolism.
According to studies, taking manganese with other bone-supporting nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, copper, zinc, and boron can improve bone weight in women with weak bones and thus beneficial to naturally treat osteoporosis. So manganese-packed food like water chestnut must be added to your regular diet to prevent osteoporosis crisis.
Being water-storing crops, water chestnuts may shelter fluke larvae (Fasciolopsis). Fresh chestnuts should always be washed thoroughly under runny water, soaked in saltwater for about 30 minutes, and rewashed before taking them raw. Boiling kills the inhabiting larvae instantly, and any cooked recipes are wholesome for consumption.