Being an international food blogger really takes up a hassle on your appetite. You get to travel to many countries and taste different recipes to find out their specialty.
Recently my visit to China, I came across a nutty, crunchy food known as Water Chestnuts. As I get to taste many dishes, it is really important to stay on a healthy diet to maintain my weight.
That got me thinking since I am a keto dieter, are water chestnuts keto friendly? You may think this food has a high-water percentage and is a good source of carbohydrates; water chestnuts may be suitable for the keto diet.
But not so fast!
As I conducted research about these chestnuts, here is my article to find the mystery of water chestnuts being keto-friendly. I hope this comes as a great favor to you!
Details To Know About Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts are also known as Chinese water chestnuts. The main reason for this name is that this grass-type shrub originated in China. You will make a mistake if you consider this food nuts.
Instead, they are considered a vegetable that grows on the plant’s bulb. Unlike many vegetables, you can eat water chestnuts, both raw and cooked.
You can find these small tuber-like structures a great alternative to apples if you do not like vegetables that much. Some might wonder if they will lose the crunchy flavor while cooking these chestnuts.
But water chestnuts contain a sufficient amount of ferulic acid that helps to retain their crunchy texture. There can be numerous reasons to eat water chestnuts regularly, and therefore, you must know how to eat them properly.
So, here goes the next section!
How To Properly Eat Water Chestnuts
As I have already mentioned, the Chinese people first introduced water chestnuts, and the best place to find a properly cooked or served recipe for chestnuts is any Chinese cuisine.
The Chinese have been experimenting with these chestnuts for over a decade now, and still, to this day, they are trying to include new recipes for tourists.
You can find water chestnut recipes in many international restaurants where they are ready to serve water chestnuts raw, overcooked, grilled, and in many other ways as possible.
Some professional chefs also included water chestnuts as an ingredient for other recipes. If you grind some water chestnuts thoroughly, they can be a healthy and suitable replacement for flour.
If your son or daughter likes to have some dessert after dinner, stir some wet water chestnuts in the milk, and there you have a different type of custard which, I can guarantee, your son or daughter will like for sure.
Let’s bring back our focus on the keto diet. To establish the fact, “are water chestnuts keto friendly?” You need to know the nutritional components present in water chestnuts and then compare them to the marginal requirements of a keto diet.
Therefore, the later section contains the list of nutrients present in water chestnuts. Note that very carefully!
Nutrients In Water Chestnuts
During the keto diet, the main factors to consider are carbohydrates, fat, and protein level. Therefore, in 100 grams of water chestnuts, you will find 24 grams of carbohydrates, 0.1 grams of fat, and 1.4 grams of protein.
The table below shows all the macro and micronutrients present in 100 grams of water chestnuts:
There can be no doubt to agree that water chestnuts contain a balanced proportion of nutrients for the human body, and such proportion can be concluded as an excellent key to the keto diet. But hold your horses! We will conclude this part later.
Key Benefits Of Water Chestnuts
Since water chestnuts contain so many vital nutrients that a human body typically needs daily, they have many key benefits for our body. It’s my job to shower you with all the necessary information.
Good Source Of Antioxidants
Research says that water chestnuts contain sufficient antioxidants. These antioxidants include:
- Gallocatechin gallate
- Epicatechin gallate
- Catechin gallate
- Ferulic acid
Let’s talk about the first three antioxidants, which belong to a class of polyphenols commonly known as catechins. These catechins help in improving body structure in more significant amounts, and processes are as shown below:
- Reduce free radicals
- Reduce the oxidation state of the stored lipids
Free radicals in our body are known as reactive oxygen species, ROS, which is the by-product of human metabolisms, such as respiration. The minimal amount of ROS will not create any damage to the body.
But, as these by-products increase, it enhances the chronic disease inside the body, and such diseases include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Have you ever got the chance to smell rotten fish? That is the smell of the fat being oxidized to a higher state. Having water chestnuts regularly helps to decrease the oxidized lipids in your body.
Hence, oxidized lipids help to reduce the chance of sudden heart attacks. On the other hand, ferulic acid and catechin gallate have anti-cancer properties, and many doctors suggest water chestnuts to cancer patients.
High Amount Of Potassium
The statistics show that 100 grams of water chestnuts contain 584 milligrams of potassium. As for the RDA results, the daily requirements of potassium for males are 2600 milligrams and 3400 milligrams for females.
You can easily see that water chestnuts are a good source of potassium. These metal ions help significantly in the regulation of blood pressure. Other benefits of having adequate potassium in the body are:
- Improves the health of kidney
- Generates more muscle contraction
- Fluency in the function of the nervous system
- Maintains healthy homeostasis
Good Source Of Fiber
Why do we need fiber? Having a sufficient amount of fiber in the body helps regulate blood sugar, which reduces the risk of diabetes.
Other benefits of fiber include:
- Reduces the probability of heart attack and stroke
- Produces an enormous amount of fatty acids that reduce the risk of colon cancer
- Decreases constipation
Contains Vitamin B6
Water chestnuts also contain vitamin B6. Among many variations of vitamin B6, these vegetables consist of pyridoxal 5 phosphate and pyridoxamine 5 phosphates. Combining these two variants helps reduce excess amino acids and produce neurotransmitters.
These neurotransmitters increase the blood flow to the brain and increase the response time to metabolic actions. Vitamin B6 also helps to develop the immune system of the body.
Excess homocysteine causes heart disease in the human body, and vitamin B6 maintains the balance of homocysteine to prevent such catastrophe.
High Amount Of Copper
Copper is also considered the prime antioxidant for the body. Along with the benefits of antioxidants, copper has other advantages too.
If a human being lacks copper in the body, they have a high chance of ending up with anemia. Copper also helps in the formation of white blood cells and helps to reduce cholesterol, thus decreasing heart disease and preventing sudden heart attacks.
Copper also plays a vital role in the pigmentation of hair and skin and helps in producing neurotransmitters. A 100 gram of water chestnut contains 16% copper, which is very important to keep a person healthy.
High Amount Of Manganese
The daily consumption of manganese for males is 2.3 milligrams and 1.8 milligrams for females, and a sufficient amount of water chestnuts contain 0.33 milligrams.
Though the amount is pretty low, eating a vast amount of chestnuts might be a good compensation for manganese. The main benefit of having manganese in our body is to form necessary enzymes.
The enzymes work as a catalyst for different chemical reactions in the body, thus increasing the metabolism rate. It also helps to increase bone density and metabolize carbohydrate levels in the body.
Human beings sometimes cannot control their mouth is craving for some recent tasted food which in time results in weight gain. Water chestnuts tend to minimize this effect.
As the composition of water chestnuts contain a sufficient percentage of water, consuming 100 grams of water chestnuts will make your tummy feel full. This reduces the craving for more water chestnuts, thus controlling the effect of weight gain.
Can We Consider Water Chestnuts As Keto Friendly?
After hearing all these positive effects, including water chestnuts, one question arises to everyone’s mind, “are water chestnuts keto friendly?“
Let’s understand the phenomena of ketosis first. The role of a keto diet is to lower the consumption level of carbohydrates and increase the amount of protein and fat intake in the body.
When your body lacks the necessary amount of carbohydrates in the body, it will start to break down all the stored fat and protein from the body to continue the process of respiration.
This stage of the diet is known as ketosis and thus helps in reducing weight due to the keto diet. Let’s have a look at the table above once more; you can see that 100 grams of water chestnuts contain 24 grams of carbohydrate, 0.1 grams of fat, and 1.4 grams of protein.
On the other hand, a low carbohydrate keto diet ensures that the minimum carbohydrate consumption should not be more than 20 grams. Also, the amount of protein and fat intake should be rich enough.
We can clearly see that the carbohydrate level in water chestnuts has crossed the minimum limit, and the protein and fat consumption is relatively low.
Therefore, if you want to intake more protein and fat from water chestnuts, you will increase the number of carbohydrates, and hence you will break the rules of the keto diet.
Therefore, though water chestnuts contain some delicious recipes and multiple health advantages, you cannot consider water chestnuts keto-friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can water chestnuts help to raise blood sugar?
Yes. Water chestnuts contain fiber that helps to regulate blood sugar in the human body. In other words, if you have low blood sugar, a sufficient amount of fiber in the body will help you increase it.
2. Can we consider water chestnuts as a carbohydrate free vegetable?
As a matter of fact, we cannot! Because the nutritional composition of water chestnuts contains 24 grams of carbohydrates which might be suitable for the source of respiration but not for people who are on a healthy keto diet.
3. Can we eat water chestnuts to reduce weight?
One of the many benefits of water chestnuts is to reduce overheating. Because it contains a high amount of water, which makes your stomach instant full, water chestnuts help maintain your weight, but eating too much might result in vice versa.
4. Can we consider water chestnuts keto friendly?
Unfortunately, water chestnuts are not considered keto friendly because they contain exceeded levels of carbohydrates, which is not suitable for people on a low carbohydrate keto diet.
5. Is there any difference between chestnuts and water chestnuts?
Though they contain a similar name but chestnuts and water chestnuts are not the alternatives to each other.
Water chestnuts contain more percentage of water, and it additionally gives a crunchy flavor on the first bite.
Furthermore, it also helps to regulate body weight.
6. What are the suitable substitutes for water chestnuts?
7. Can we eat raw water chestnuts?
You can definitely eat raw water chestnuts as many nutritionists say that eating a water chestnut raw has more benefits than cooked. Because cooked water chestnuts do not contain excess water, which can result in weight gain.
8. Is there any difference between bamboo shoots and water chestnuts?
Bamboo shoots contain fewer calories than water chestnuts and result in fewer carbohydrates. For the people seeking a suitable replacement for water chestnuts in terms of the keto diet, bamboo shoots have got you covered.
Are water chestnuts keto friendly? Now we can deliver a clear-cut answer, which is, No! Because they have an increased amount of carbohydrates which is bad for people who are on the keto diet.
But water chestnuts come in many health benefits that might help nourish your body from the inside. So, if you are not on a keto diet, you should definitely make water chestnuts a daily eating habit.
Feel free to share this article with others who are eagerly waiting for the same answer.