Water chestnuts ‘singhara’

Water chestnuts ‘singhara’

Water chestnuts bring a big question mark on our faces as we don’t know what exactly it is. However the moment I say ‘singhara’ our tube lights turn on and we know what I am talking about.

As the winter starts in India, one can observe innumerable hawkers with Singhara or water chestnut on the roadsides. The market is also flooded with this aquatic vegetable. The crispy and crunchy features of it are mouth watering.

Though, it is a seasonal vegetable, canned water chestnut is available throughout the year. It belongs to the family of plants called sedge, a type of marshy grass with the edible part at the bottom. More than 2/3rd of the plant remains submerged in water whereas the upper leaves float on the surface of water. The fruit or water chestnut is found under the leaves when they mature. The seed is the edible portion of this plant.

Besides their crunchy texture and sweet mild flavour, water chestnuts possess remarkable nutritional composition, making them an excellent food source. Their medicinal properties have rendered them usable in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicines.

Studies have found water chestnuts to contain flavonoid antioxidants like catechins, specifically epicatechins (as do dark chocolate, red wine, and green tea). Early aboriginal medicine men crushed the outsides of the bulb for wound application and healing, which science now knows releases antimicrobial effects. Inside water chestnuts are an antibiotic compound called “puchin” which acts in immune function like penicillin.

They belong to the non starchy, low-calorie vegetable group that can keep you full longer while supplying your meals with vitamins and minerals. Water chestnuts also contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium and fat.

Adding water chestnuts to your salads or vegetable side dishes is a way to add essential vitamins to your daily diet. Just one-half cup water chestnuts provide 10 percent of the daily value of B-6, 7 percent of the DV of riboflavin and 6 percent of the DV of thiamin. Vitamin B-6 supports healthy brain and immune system function; while thiamin and riboflavin helps your body convert food into energy.

Water chestnuts have only 60 calories in one-half cup, so you don’t have to worry about eating a little more of this nutritious vegetable if you are counting calories. You can eat water chestnuts for a low-calorie snack or add them to salads and other dishes, still getting all the health benefits while sticking to your diet.

Water chestnuts are beneficial for your hair in general as they contain certain essential nutrients such as potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E. Moreover, they remove toxins from the body that can damage your hair as well.

The extracts of the water chestnut plant are effective in curing the disorders of nausea and indigestion. Water chestnut juice is a natural remedy for stomach related problems. The powder gruel of the water chestnut is beneficial for intestines and for removal of internal heat.


While water chestnuts don’t have an overwhelming amount of detailed nutritional information, they do seem to have a reputation in traditional Asian and aboriginal medicine. They’ve been ground into powder, juiced, sliced, boiled, and eaten raw, steamed, or steeped in rice wine and used as a curative and food supplement.

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