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Singhara Atta ‘Water Chestnut Flour’ Health Benefits and Side-effects

Water Chestnut (Trapa Natans), or Singhara in Hindi, is an aquatic vegetable which grows in marsh lands in underwater mud. Water Chestnut is grown in countries of Asia (China and India), Australia and tropical Africa for its edible corms. 

Though it can be grown in marsh lands wherever these are present, in India this is cultivated essentially in eastern states of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. 

Different ways to consume Singhara

It is a little sweet when eaten raw. It can also be slightly boiled, grilled or used as pickles. These can also be ground into flour to make cake. 

Since singhara does not rise while being cooked, it is best used in making flat breads. Where rising is required, it is often mixed with other flours, such as wheat flour.

In India, singhara is used to make chapatis and pakoras during the auspicious occasion of Navratri. It is also quite common to make ‘samosas’, ‘papri chaat’, ‘matthi’, ‘halwa’ and many other recipes. Singhara flour is used as a thickening agent as well.

Nutritional Composition

Singhara has many nutrients. Most of it is made of water and carbohydrates. There is almost no fat in water chestnut and even the proteins are in very less quantity. Essentially, it is rich in different vitamins and minerals which give it many of its benefits.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy406 kJ (97 kcal)
Carbohydrates23.94 g
Sugars4.8 g
Dietary fiber3 g
Fat0.1 g
Protein1.4 g
Thiamine (B1)0.14 mg  12%
Riboflavin (B2)0.2 mg  17%
Niacin (B3)1 mg  7%
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.479 mg  10%
Vitamin B60.328 mg 25%
Folate (B9)16 μg  4%
Vitamin C4 mg  5%
Vitamin E1.2 mg  8%
Calcium11 mg  1%
Iron 0.06 mg  0%
Magnesium22 mg  6%
Manganese0.331 mg  16%
Phosphorus63 mg   9%
Potassium584 mg   12%
Zinc0.5 mg  5%
Water73.5 g

Milling Process of Water Chestnut

You would be interested to know how to make flour out of the watery ‘singhara’. First of all, Singhara is roasted. In order to speed up the process, it is marked with serrated knife at different portions of the fruit. It is then put in the oven and roasted, letting the moisture escape.

After this, it is peeled off and again put to drying. These can be cut into pieces and then dried for a day on a dehydrator or in oven with lowest possible heat setting. Once dried, these are ready to be ground into flour using the blender or spice grinder commonly used in home. 

Health Benefits of Singhara Flour

1/10. Controls Blood Pressure

Singhara flour is rich in potassium. This can work to reduce the negative effects associated with intake of sodium, such as high blood pressure. With this advantage, it is also good in maintaining heart health.

2/10. Good for Liver

This flour is also believed to be good in case of jaundice and helps in removal of toxins from body. 

3/10. Reduces stress and anxiety

Being rich in Vitamin B6, this is believed to be good mood lifter and produces neurotransmitters which are helpful in stabilising mood and reducing stress.

4/10. Proper functioning of thyroid gland

Since it contains iodine, it is believed to be good for proper functioning of thyroid gland. 

5/10. Improve Immunity

By being rich in anti-oxidants, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, these improve immunity of body by reducing the free radicals and reducing inflammation. These are also anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-bacterial in nature.

6/10. Quenches Thirst

Singhara flour has characteristics of ‘coolness’. This makes it different from ‘kuttu’ flour which has ‘warm’ property. This makes it a good thirst quencher and promotes salivation. It is also effective in controlling diarrhea and heat strokes. 

7/10. Helpful in Urinary Tract Infections

The water chestnut atta is good in treating the UTIs as it is believed to contain enzymes which can clean the bladder.

8/10. Helps in Pregnancy

This flour is believed to help women during the phase of pregnancy in more than one way. There is a belief that it relieves hypertension as it is also a mild mood elevator, prevents haemorrhage after delivery, helps stop excessive bleeding during miscarriage and aids lactation. It is also perceived to be good for growth of foetus. 

9/10. Good for Hair Health

Presence of vitamin E, vitamin B, zinc and potassium in Singhara flour is good for having lustrous and healthy hair. 

10/10. Good for people with gluten sensitivity

It is also a good alternative for people who are sensitive to gluten content because there is no gluten in it. Therefore, it is not going to cause allergic reaction to them. 

Side-effects of Singhara Flour

Singhara flour can cause problems if it is eaten in large quantities…

1/3. It can lead to bloating and flatulence

2/3. It can even lead to nausea and vomiting if ingested in large quantities.

3/3. It is not recommended to be eaten by people who are hypotensive (low blood pressure).

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