Water chestnut, or singhara, or shengada, is an aquatic tuber that grows in freshwater marshes. It is not a nut, as the name suggests. It is native to Asia, tropical Africa, and Oceania. Fresh water chestnuts are crisp and delicately sweet. It is rich in various vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, iodine, and ample dietary fibre1. It is a great source of antioxidants and helps fight free radicals, thus preventing cell damage 2.
Water Chestnut Benefits:
- Loaded with antioxidants and helps to reduce inflammation
- Promotes weight loss because of its low-calorie content
- Enhances proper digestion
- Prevents goitre and other thyroid-related problems
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Lower your blood pressure, thus countering the effects of sodium
- Helps to reduce malignancy 1 3.
Water chestnut is known to have effects on the thyroid gland because of its high nutrient composition. The thyroid gland is a ductless endocrine gland that is situated at the front of the neck, releasing two thyroid hormones, T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Tetraiodothyronine).
Role of Thyroid Gland Hormones:
- It helps in the growth of an individual
- It regulates the body’s metabolic rate
- It stimulates the heart rate and heart contraction
- It stimulates the synthesis of proteins and carbohydrates2
The proper functioning of thyroid hormone is beneficial for the proper functioning of the overall body. Factors like food habits, lifestyle, hormonal imbalance, medications, and environment can affect the secretion of thyroid hormone. Over secretion of thyroid hormone leads to hyperthyroidism, whereas a decrease in thyroid hormone secretion gives rise to hypothyroidism 3.
Your metabolism may increase as a result of hyperthyroidism. A quick pulse, weight loss, increased hunger, and anxiety are all signs of hyperthyroidism. Antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine, beta blockers, and surgery are all options for treating hyperthyroidism. The physical symptoms of hypothyroidism frequently range across individuals and might be challenging to pinpoint. The timing and intensity of the signs and symptoms are also influenced by the condition's severity. Fatigue and weight increase are two early signs. Note that regardless of how well your thyroid is functioning, these both grow more prevalent as you age.
One of the most important micronutrients, iodine, is important for thyroid hormone biosynthesis 4. Iodine deficiencies remain unnoticed for years. Over time, one might feel fatigue and slow down their metabolism.
Water chestnuts are rich in iodine, which is required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It keeps the thyroid levels in check 5. Thyroid hormone production requires two main ingredients, thyroglobulin and iodine. Thyroglobulin is an important thyroid hormone precursor protein that is released from follicular cells after binding to and releasing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) into the colloid. Iodine is a dietary supplement that is absorbed from our intestine into the bloodstream as iodide. This iodide is then further transported to the colloid for the synthesis of thyroid hormone 6.
Shengada, or the water chestnut, is thus a convenient source of iodine. Cooked or uncooked shengada can be kept for 4-5 days.
Winter is here with your crispy and crunchy friend, thus taking care of your butterfly gland!
(1) 6 water caltrop or singhara benefits on health you never heard of. Theayurveda. https://www.theayurveda.org/ayurveda/vegetable-fruits/6-health-benefits-of-water-caltrop (accessed 2022-12-16).
(2) What Can Water Chestnuts Do for Health?. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/nutrition/water-chestnuts/ (accessed 2022-12-16).
(3) Treatment With Thyroid Hormone | Endocrine Reviews | Oxford Academic. https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/35/3/433/2354656 (accessed 2022-12-16).
(4) Sorrenti, S.; Baldini, E.; Pironi, D.; Lauro, A.; D’Orazi, V.; Tartaglia, F.; Tripodi, D.; Lori, E.; Gagliardi, F.; Praticò, M.; Illuminati, G.; D’Andrea, V.; Palumbo, P.; Ulisse, S. Iodine: Its Role in Thyroid Hormone Biosynthesis and Beyond. Nutrients 2021, 13 (12), 4469. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124469.
(5) Admin. Top15 Health Benefits of Eating Water Chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis). Gyanunlimited. https://www.gyanunlimited.com/health/top-15-health-benefits-of-eating-water-chestnuts-eleocharis-dulcis/10742/ (accessed 2022-12-16).
(6) Thyroid Hormone Synthesis Pathway: Step-By-Step Flow Chart. EZmed. https://www.ezmedlearning.com/blog/thyroid-hormone-synthesis-steps-pathway (accessed 2022-12-16).