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Health Benefits Of Water Chestnuts: The Next Big Superfood

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Remarkable Benefits Of Water Chestnuts

For some Americans, water chestnuts might seem like an exotic ingredient. Yet, they're a staple in Asian cuisine, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine. From hernias to sore throat, these intriguing aquatic vegetables can treat a variety of ailments. They're also versatile enough to be used in both savory and sweet dishes. You might be surprised to learn that water chestnuts might be exactly what your diet needs.

What do you know about water chestnuts? If you are drawing a blank, don’t be surprised. They aren’t a common ingredient in American households and are usually found in Asian food stores. Yet, the health benefits of this delicious aquatic vegetable might be enough to get on your radar.

Water chestnuts thrive in freshwater. When ripe, they have a distinctive nutty and sweet flavor. They also have a lovely, interesting texture. If you are intrigued by water chestnut products, here are some good health-related reasons for you to enjoy this delicious veggie.

6 Remarkable Benefits Of Water Chestnuts

1. Provide Vitamins And Minerals

Often, the key to making food exciting is to experiment with new ingredients. And if you’re looking for ways to fuel up on vitamins and minerals, water chestnuts might be the ticket. They’re a marvelous way to deviate from the same fruits and vegetables that you’ve had for years. These unusual veggies are rich in vitamin C and B6 along with potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.1Plus, water chestnuts are extremely versatile. They can be used in savory foods or in exotic sweets like Thailand’s Thab Thim Krob, an iced water chestnut and coconut milk dessert. We’ll take seconds, please!

2. Boost Cardiovascular Health

If you are looking to elevate your heart health, consider water chestnuts. Each 100 gm serving of water chestnuts contains 3 gm of fiber.2And according to the American Heart Association, high fiber intake can promote overall cardiovascular health and weight loss.3

To top it off, the B6 in water chestnuts can contribute 4 percent (fresh) to 9 percent (canned) of your recommended daily intake.4This B vitamin aids in maintaining normal levels of amino acid homocysteine, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine at high levels is linked to heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, though the connection between the two is not yet fully understood.5

3. Ease Abdominal Pain And Dysentery

Water chestnuts have antibacterial properties and the ability to treat dysentery. They can also help your body fight abdominal pain by combating bad bacteria such as the notorious E.coli.6Specifically, the fiber in water chestnuts makes it useful for maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.7The juice of water chestnuts has also been shown to ease nausea and improve appetite in children, according to a Malaysian university journal.8Hernia, a painful condition, too can be eased by consuming water chestnut.9

4. Heal The Reproductive System

The water chestnut can come in handy to treat two distressing reproductive health problems in women. Amenorrhea (abnormal or absent menstrual periods) can be traumatic for the body and overall cycle. Surprisingly, water chestnut has been used to ease this problem.10

Vaginitis or leucorrhea, characterized by a yellow and often smelly discharge with pain or irritation, may be treated by consuming water chestnuts. They are also administered with milk to treat the problem. The same remedy is also suggested for improving seminal health.11

5. Soothe Liver Trouble

Water chestnuts are hepatoprotective and have been used in traditional medicine to treat liver disorders and diseases.12An animal study found that water chestnut extracts improved injured livers in animals with liver damage. Researchers suggest this hepatoprotective action may be closely linked to its antioxidant capability.13

6. Battle Bacteria

Amazingly enough, the juice extracted from a water chestnut has bactericidal properties, or the ability to not just stop bacteria’s progress but actually kill them too. Researchers have found that besides the antibacterial action of water chestnut peel extract against Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, there is also bactericidal action against S. aureus, causing cell death of this bacteria.14

Water Chestnuts And Ancient Tradition

Ayurvedic Remedy

In Sanskrit, water chestnut is called “shrungataka.” It is used to calm aggravated pitta, helping with ailments resulting from what Ayurveda calls “pitta dosha” or a fiery constitution. It is also considered to be a superb diuretic. Furthermore, it aids in blood coagulation, particularly in hemorrhaging postpartum. This remedy is also a core ingredient in treatments for diseases of the head, building bone strength, fractures, and aphrodisiac and rejuvenation formulations.15

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine, a hypertension treatment tea can be made with a blend of water chestnut and the peel of fresh mandarin orange. This aquatic vegetable is also used to treat diabetes, pink eye, jaundice, and sore throat. Practitioners typically suggest drinking water chestnut juice or eating the vegetable twice a day to heal hemorrhoids or mouth canker sores. But wait, there’s more: water chestnuts are also used in remedies for diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver problems, and hernia. 16

References   [ + ]

1, 2, 4. Waterchestnuts, Chinese.National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, USDA.
3. Fiber Up, Slim Down, American Heart Association.
5. Vitamin B6, NIH.
6. Razvy, Mohammad A., O. F. Mohammad, and A. Mohammad Hoque. “Environment friendly antibacterial activity of water chestnut fruits.” J Biodiversity Environ Sci 1, no. 1 (2011): 26-34.
7. Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Constipation, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
8. Tan, S. L., and A. Zaharah. “Tuber crops.” Agriculture Science Journal (2015).
9, 10, 12, 16. Lim, T. K. “Eleocharis dulcis.” In Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants, pp. 209-217. Springer Netherlands, 2016.
11, 15. Bharthi, Vandana, B. Kavya, T. R. Shantha, M. Prathapa Reddy, and N. Kavya. “Pharmacognostical evaluation and phytochemical studies on Ayurvedic nutritional fruits of Trapa natans L.” International Journal of Herbal Medicine 3, no. 5 Part A (2015): 13-19.
13. Kang, Wen-yi, Yuan-yuan Li, Xue-zhu Gu, and Xuan Huang. “Hepatoprotective activity of Trapa acornis shell extracts against CCl4-induced liver injury in rats.” African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 6, no. 41 (2012): 2856-2861.
14. Zhan, Ge, Lei-Qing Pan, Shu-Bo Mao, Wei Zhang, Ying-Ying Wei, and Kang Tu. “Study on antibacterial properties and major bioactive constituents of Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) peels extracts/fractions.” European Food Research and Technology 238, no. 5 (2014): 789-796.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.