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The Health Benefits of Water Chestnuts

By Sara Butler

You’ve probably not put a lot of thought into water chestnuts over the course of your life. They’re kind of seen as a throwaway ingredient that is mostly found in Asian cuisine or sometimes in stuffing at Thanksgiving if your mom feels like adding a little flair. But water chestnuts actually have a life all their own and are an interesting little bulb. Here are some of the surprising and lesser known health benefits of water chestnuts.

What Are They?

They may be called chestnuts, but they’re not nuts at all. They’re tubers that grow in ponds, shallow lakes, paddy fields, and marshes. They’re native to Southern China, Southeast Asia, Africa, islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and Taiwan, which explains why you find them in cuisine native to those places.

They’re Nutritious!

Water chestnuts are small, but they pack a nutritional punch. A 100-gram serving of raw water chestnuts will provide you with:

  • 100 calories
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 2 grams of protein

They are also very low in fat and have potassium, manganese, copper, Vitamin B6, and riboflavin in them.

They’re High in Antioxidants!

Antioxidants help to protect your body from free radicals that can accumulate in the body and damage your cells. Free radicals promote oxidative stress, which has been linked to a higher risk of certain chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

They’re Good for Your Heart

The number one killer in the world is heart disease and it just so happens that water chestnuts may lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The potassium in water chestnuts is what researchers think has an impact on blood pressure. That doesn’t mean you should sit around and munch on water chestnuts exclusively, but diets high in potassium reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke, two of the major factors linked to heart disease.

How to Use Them

One of the best things about water chestnuts is how versatile they are. They have a very mild flavor which means you can add them to just about anything and they’ll soak up the flavors of what you’re cooking them in. Feel free to add them to your stir-fry, curry, salad, or omelets --just to name a few. Or you can enjoy them alone if you really want to. They do offer a satisfying crunch!

Try adding water chestnuts into a few dishes and see what you think. You may be surprised at just how versatile and delicious this healthy little tuber is! 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Columbus, Ohio.

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