Whether serious about managing your weight or finding a new healthy lifestyle, following the keto diet can help you achieve your body goals effectively. This diet means consuming high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate foods that can help with weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and increased energy. The metabolism shift can also lead to other health benefits like reduced inflammation and improved cognitive function.
However, this new lifestyle is open to questions like “Are nuts keto-friendly?” It’s especially true for people who recently started the keto diet. As you browse your local grocery store or organize your food storage, you may wonder if you can include water chestnuts, a nutritious and tasty vegetable, in your meals.
If you’re ready to maximize the advantages of the ketogenic diet, this article will answer one of your commonly asked questions and explain why water chestnuts aren’t keto-friendly. We’ll also provide the benefits of consuming these nuts and a delicious alternative.
Are Water Chestnuts Keto Friendly?
Water chestnuts aren’t a suitable food choice for those following a ketogenic diet because they’re high in carbohydrates, which is a big no-no on this diet. Despite being low in calories and their versatility in cooking, their carb content makes them unsuitable, and we don’t consider them keto-friendly.
Why Are Water Chestnuts Not Keto Friendly?
Water chestnuts aren’t nuts. Instead, they’re starchy vegetables that grow in water, meaning they’re high in carbohydrates and unsuitable for a keto diet. Tubers are structures that plants use to store nutrients and reproduce, and they have a high glycemic index because of their starch content. That means they can increase blood sugar levels after consuming high-carb foods, which is not ideal for those on a low-carb diet.
Water chestnuts are also a good fit for a keto diet because they’re low in fat. Moreover, they’re high in carbohydrates, with 20 grams of net carbs in a 100-gram serving. Net carbs are the carbohydrates the body consumes, and you can calculate them by subtracting fiber from the total carbs. You should also know that the body doesn’t absorb fiber and excretes it as waste.
Water Chestnuts Nutritional Information and Carbohydrate Content
Water chestnuts have higher amounts of carbohydrates than other tubers and vegetables. Although they contain low amounts of fat, they might not be suitable for a keto diet. Thirty-six grams of four water chestnuts contain 8.6 grams of total carbs, 1.08g of fiber, and 7.52g of net carbs. In contrast, 100 grams of four water chestnuts contain 23.9 grams of total carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 20.9 grams of net carbs.
Water chestnuts are low in protein and fat, with a serving of four water chestnuts containing 0.5 grams of protein, 0.03 grams of fat, and 34.9 kcal. On the other hand, a serving of 100 grams contains 1.4 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, and 97 kcal.
11 Benefits of Eating Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts are crunchy vegetables you can harvest once bulbs turn brown. People can eat them raw or cooked, and they contain many health benefits. Here are 11 good reasons to add more of them to your diet.
1. Low in Calories
Water chestnuts have a low-calorie count, making them an excellent option for individuals trying to lose weight because they can help reduce the overall calorie intake and create a calorie deficit.
2. Aid in Digestion
Good digestion is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, ensuring optimal nutrient absorption, and preventing severe digestive disorders. You can help support your gut by eating water chestnuts because they contain a lot of fiber that can help improve the digestive system. The fiber increases the stool’s size and weight, allowing for easy passing, and preventing constipation, ultimately supporting healthy bowel movements.
3. Control Blood Pressure
Water chestnuts are beneficial for controlling blood pressure because they’re rich in potassium, which can reduce high blood pressure in individuals with hypertension while decreasing the likelihood of strokes.
4. High in Antioxidants
Regardless if you’re following the keto diet, your body doesn’t deserve to suffer from the effects of free radicals because they can cause oxidative stress and chronic diseases. You can help your body defend against them by eating antioxidant-rich foods like water chestnuts.
5. Can Prevent Cancer
Water chestnuts contain ferulic acid, an antioxidant that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells like breast, skin, lung, bone, and thyroid cancer. It can potentially prevent the multiplication and growth of cancer cells by neutralizing free radicals. While we still need more studies about its effectiveness, the current evidence suggests that incorporating this vegetable into one’s diet can be beneficial in fighting against cancer.
6. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is a severe condition that affects many people worldwide. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of contracting these disorders by eating water chestnuts. They’re high in potassium, which helps the heart beat properly by regulating the electrical signals.
7. Help Control Diabetes
Diabetes can negatively affect your life, but you must learn to manage it to prevent complications. Eating water chestnuts is one of the best ways to control your condition. They help individuals with diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels because they’re high in beneficial fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
8. Low in Fat
Although unsuitable for a keto diet, low-fat foods can help individuals who don’t want to consume excessive amounts. They provide essential nutrients without the added burden of high-fat content.
9. Contain Antibacterial Properties
Although good bacteria benefit your body, some can cause severe diseases. Eating water chestnuts is one of the best ways to protect your body against these microorganisms. Red and green water chestnuts contain extracts that can eliminate bacteria and the illnesses they bring.
10. Rich in Manganese and Copper
Manganese and copper are significant elements in your diet that are vital in maintaining your body’s functions. Manganese helps strengthen your bones, while copper supports the heart, boosts energy levels, and contributes to collagen production, which benefits your joints.
11. Has Essential Vitamins Like B6 and B2
Water chestnuts are an excellent source of B6 and B2, essential for overall health. Vitamin B6 helps the liver function properly and keeps skin and eyes healthy. On the other hand, vitamin B2 helps the body break down carbohydrates and produce energy.
Water chestnuts can help prevent fatigue caused by a lack of vitamin B2. However, you must be careful when eating them raw because they may contain fasciolopsiasis, a parasite. You can avoid this by washing the water chestnuts thoroughly or opting for canned ones as a safer alternative.
Can I Eat Water Chestnuts on a Keto Diet?
While we don’t consider water chestnuts a keto-friendly option, people wanting to lose weight and follow another diet can eat them. We categorize these vegetables as high-volume foods, meaning they have a high water or air content and are low in calories. It also makes them suitable for people trying to reduce their calorie intake without exercise.
Moreover, high-volume foods effectively reduce hunger, helping dieters consume fewer calories. The water chestnuts’ over 70% water content makes the consumer feel full for longer, and you can substitute them for carb sources with more calories.
What’s an Excellent Alternative to Water Chestnuts?
Although water chestnuts aren’t keto-friendly, you can try low-carb alternatives like bamboo shoots with similar crunchy and watery properties. Bamboo shoots are nutritious, low in calories, and you can use them in various dishes like salads, curries, and soups. They also offer health benefits like promoting bowel health and helping in weight loss.
Snacking Healthily on a Keto Diet
Water chestnuts are delicious, healthy, and versatile, but they’re not ideal for keto diets because of their high-calorie content. You can attain your body goals by asking questions like “Are nuts keto-friendly?” and looking for more suitable alternatives.
If you have questions like “Are nuts keto-friendly?” check out Mama Bear’s Cookbook! We offer expert advice and reliable resources to help you live healthier. Read more of our blogs now, or get our seven-day meal plan book!