Last Updated: November 21, 2023, 19:04 IST
In the winter season, markets are abundant with a variety of fruits and vegetables, and one notable addition is water chestnut. Despite its name, water chestnuts aren’t nuts; they are aquatic tuber vegetables found in marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes. With a crisp texture and white flesh, water chestnuts can be enjoyed raw or cooked, making them versatile additions to dishes like stir-fries, chop suey, curries, and salads.
Bharatpur, Rajasthan, particularly around the water of Baretha Dam, witnesses an abundance of water chestnuts, leading to increased cultivation in the region. This surge in popularity has not only been beneficial for local farmers, reaping good profits, but also for urban consumers relishing the nutritional benefits of this vegetable.
The unique, bulbous shape of water chestnuts makes them distinctive. Cultivated in the waters of Baretha Dam, with a growth depth of three to five feet, they can also be grown in waterlogged land. Farmers diligently prepare waterlogged fields for cultivation. Water chestnuts can be consumed in various forms – raw, ripe, or pickled. When ripe, they are dried, peeled, and ground into flour, used in the preparation of halwa, pakoda, puri, and other dishes. The flour is even employed in fast foods.
Dr. Ram Kumar Gupta highlights the myriad health benefits of water chestnuts, often referred to as a panacea for their potential remedies for various ailments. Rich in minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, Vitamin B6, and proteins, water chestnuts are low in calories, aiding in weight management and potentially combating obesity.
The vegetable is particularly beneficial for blood pressure regulation due to its high potassium content. Potassium has been linked to reducing the risk of stroke and managing blood pressure, crucial factors in heart disease prevention.
For those with diabetes, water chestnuts are considered a healthy option. Their low glycemic index and high fibre content contribute to blood sugar level management, preventing sudden spikes. Regular consumption may aid in diabetes management.