Water chestnut or water caltrop is an aquatic plant, belonging to the genus Trapa, whose odd-looking fruit encloses a single large edible seed.
In India, water chestnut is called Singhara, or Paniphal. Singhara has been cultivated in India for at least. 3000 years for its seeds. These seeds have been widely used in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine In India and are also popular in Chinese medicine.
Some relish it for its crispy-crunchy texture and delicate sweet coconut like flavour, others find its weird shape and even taste off-putting, Though, if people were to know of its dietary benefits few would be able to push it aside.
Their numerous health benefits are as follows:
- Water chestnut acts as an excellent coolant for the body. It promotes salivation and quenches thirst. Being cool, sweet, heavy and bitter, it is effective in controlling nausea and diarrhea.
- Since water chestnut contains useful minerals like iodine and manganese, it helps in maintaining proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Being rich in polyphenol and flavonoid antioxidants, it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help in strengthening the stomach and spleen, and thus removes the symptoms of a weak spleen, such as bad taste, insomnia, feeling sick, fatigue or swelling and urinary infections.
- The powder of water chestnuts is effective in relieving cough. Grind water chestnuts to make powder and consume it with water or any juice twice a day. This is a natural remedy to provide instant relief from cough
- Water chestnut has outstanding effects on defending and resisting cancer. This is due to an anticancer substance which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
- 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. And, it is also helpful for healthy weight gain.
- Water chestnuts are excellent sources of potassium with one cup providing 362.1 mg potassium. This mineral is vital for proper muscle and neural functioning. It also regulates water retention and blood pressure by balancing sodium.
- It is natural antioxidants, has anti-ageing properties, prevents wrinkles, protects from UV rays and gives your skin and hair an overall good and healthy appearance.
- Despite being a starchy food, polyphenols present in water chestnuts inhibit the breakdown of carbs to simple sugars and hence prevent an increase of blood sugar, which makes it beneficial for diabetics and overweight people.
- Lowers Cardiac risks: The combined effect of water chestnuts on blood pressure, carb absorption and its good soluble fiber content helps in lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing risk of heart disease.
- Good for sound sleep: The presence of Vitamin B-6 is good for sleeping as well as alleviating your mood. It produces neurotransmitters that are effective for your mood and sleep.
- Singhara is very beneficial for women. Due to its nutritive, strengthening, and cooling properties it increases fertility and chances of conception
- Healthy Pregnancy: Being an excellent energy source, as well as its specific properties to prevent miscarriage and control hemorrhage, makes it a super food during pregnancy it is helpful for the healthy growth and development of the fetus.
Post pregnancy – it helps in controlling bleeding as well as promotes lactation.
How to use:
- Eat raw as a fruit – my favourite way, and the easiest, just peel the fruit and eat it raw.
- Add to salads and stir fries – you can also chop the peeled fruit and add to salads or sauté in stir fries.
- Add to curries or prepare veggies–some people like to use it in place of potatoes, to prepare water chestnut and green pea curry, others also cook it as a simple fry veggie, tempered with curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. For using it in curries and veggies, the singhara needs to first be boiled or pressure cooked…
- Make cutlets–When you can use it in place of potato, you can also make cutlets with it!!! Just add boiled and mashed singhara to other boiled veggies, and prepare cutlets, and shallow fry.
- Singhara halwa –dried singhara is also available in the form of flour, which can be used like semolina to make halwa. Just roast it in ghee, add sugar and warm water, and cook to the desired consistency. Top with your favourite dry fruits and enjoy!!
- Make chillas/pancakes–Singhara flour can also be used to make pancakes or chillas, mix the flour with curds and water to make a pouring consistency, add spices of your choice and make chillas, enjoy with chutney!
- Use to make chapattis (flat breads) – Singhara flour can be used to make, flat bread or chapattis, or parathas.
- Use in baked goods – add it to your cakes and cookies to make them more nutritious…
- Make puris, cracker or chips–Yes, Why not!! You can even make cracker or baked chips with these, by following any simple cracker recipe.
- Make a dip or a chutney–Last but not the least, yes you can add a little crunch to your dip or green chutney, by adding a few water chestnuts to it…
What you waiting for get Water Chestnuts from the market today and have them