5 health benefits of water chestnuts you should know!

Even though they are named as water chestnuts, they are not nuts.

In fact, they can be categorised under vegetables and grow in marshes, ponds, paddy fields and shallow lakes.

Water chestnuts are native to Southeast Asia, Southern China, Taiwan, Australia, Africa and many islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

They are different from water caltrops which they are often confused with. There are several health benefits of water chestnuts, here are a few of them:

1. They are low in calories: A 100 gm serving of raw water chestnuts has just 97 calories, 0.1 gm fat, 23 gm of carbohydrates, 3 gm of fibre, 2 gm of protein. Apart from this, it is also rich in other macro and micronutrients.

2. They are a rich source of disease-fighting antioxidants: Water chestnuts are especially rich in the antioxidants ferulic acid, gallocatechin gallate, epicatechin gallate and catechin gallate. These antioxidants help to fight disease-causing microbes and improve the immunity of the body. There are various test-tube studies that have shown that antioxidants in the peel and flesh of water chestnuts can effectively neutralize free radicals that lead to the progression of chronic diseases.

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3. They help reduce blood pressure: Now, water chestnuts are a great source of potassium. Many studies have linked diets abundant in potassium with reduced risks of stroke and high blood pressure two risk factors for heart disease. A study found that when people with high blood pressure consumed more potassium, their systolic blood pressure (upper value) and diastolic blood pressure (lower value) reduced by 3.49 mmHg and 1.96 mmHg, respectively.

4. They help in weight management: Know that 74 per cent of one water chestnut is water so it is classified as a high-volume food and is low on calories. It can curb hunger and keep one fuller for a longer time.

5. It can arrest tumour growth: Since water chestnuts contain very high levels of the antioxidant ferulic acid it lowers the risk of certain cancers. Lab studies have shown that treating breast cancer cells with ferulic acid helped suppress their growth and promote their death. Other test-tube studies have found that ferulic acid helped suppress the growth of skin, thyroid, lung and bone cancer cells.

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