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Water Chestnuts Nutrition & Calories - Complete data of all nutrients

Waterchestnuts, chinese, (matai), raw
*all the values are displayed for the amount of 100 grams
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on September 29, 2023
Medically reviewed by Victoria Mazmanyan Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Water chestnuts

Introduction

We all confuse water chestnuts with chestnuts and are curious whether they are the same or have differences. Well, today, we’ll discuss the nutrition of water chestnuts in detail and discover what they are.

What Are Water Chestnuts?

Water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis), or Chinese water chestnuts, are aquatic vegetables that grow in marshes, ponds, paddy fields, and shallow lakes. Water chestnut is not a nut but a vegetable with a thick brown peel and an inner crisp white flesh high in water content, resembling chestnuts quite a lot.

Chinese water chestnut is not to be confused with another plant called water chestnut (Trapa natans s. bicornis), also known as water caltrop, devil pod, and singhara nut. These two species are entirely unrelated.

Nutrition

The nutritional infographics below are presented for 100g servings of raw Chinese water chestnuts or matai. However, we will also discuss the nutritional values of canned Chinese water chestnuts, including solids and liquids.

The average serving size of water chestnut per person is half a cup in slices, equaling 62g, or 4 water chestnuts, weighing approximately 36g.

Water chestnuts consist of 72% water and 23% carbohydrates. The other 5% is mostly made up of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. 

Macronutrients chart

2% 23% 72% 2%
Protein:
Daily Value: 3%
1.4 g of 50 g
3%
Fats:
Daily Value: 0%
0.1 g of 65 g
0%
Carbs:
Daily Value: 8%
23.94 g of 300 g
8%
Water:
Daily Value: 4%
73.46 g of 2,000 g
4%
Other:
1.1 g

Canned water chestnuts are less nutrient-dense, comprising 86% water, thus providing lower levels of all nutrients.

Calories

Water chestnuts are considered to be a low-calorie food.

100g of Chinese raw water chestnut provides 97 calories. An average serving per person (62g) contains even fewer calories - about 60.

The calorie content of canned water chestnuts is only 50.

Carbohydrates

While carbohydrates are the main nutrients found in water chestnuts, they still have a relatively moderate carb content. They provide 23.94 g carbs per 100g, which is 1.2 times less than the carb content of rice.

Net Carbs and Dietary Fiber

The predominant part of the total carb content in water chestnuts is net carbs - 20.94g per 100g or 87%. Most of the net carbs, in turn, are made up of starch.

The other 23%, or 3g per 100g, is dietary fiber. Water chestnuts fall in the top 27% of foods as a source of fiber, covering 12% of the daily needed value per 100g serving.

Protein and Fats

Water chestnuts have a low level of protein - 3g per 100g and 1.86g per average serving size.

Water chestnuts also contain only a negligible amount of fats - 0.1g per 100g serving.

These nuts have tiny amounts of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. They contain no trans fats, often considered the most harmful fat for your health.

Fat type information

37% 3% 61%
Saturated Fat: 0.026 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.002 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.043 g

As with all plant-based foods, water chestnuts contain no cholesterol.

Vitamins

Water chestnuts have a moderate amount of vitamins. These nuts can be a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

Water chestnuts provide moderate levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin E and relatively low amounts of vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin K.

Water chestnuts completely lack vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

Vitamin coverage chart

Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 24% 0% 14% 35% 47% 19% 29% 76% 12% 0% 20% 1%
Vitamin A: 0 IU of 5,000 IU 0%
Vitamin E : 1.2 mg of 15 mg 8%
Vitamin D: 0 µg of 10 µg 0%
Vitamin C: 4 mg of 90 mg 4%
Vitamin B1: 0.14 mg of 1 mg 12%
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg of 1 mg 15%
Vitamin B3: 1 mg of 16 mg 6%
Vitamin B5: 0.479 mg of 5 mg 10%
Vitamin B6: 0.328 mg of 1 mg 25%
Folate: 16 µg of 400 µg 4%
Vitamin B12: 0 µg of 2 µg 0%
Choline: 36.2 mg of 550 mg 7%
Vitamin K: 0.3 µg of 120 µg 0%

Minerals

Water chestnuts are rich in minerals. They have a  particularly high amount of potassium (584 mg per 100g) and copper (0.326mg per 100g). These nuts fall in the top 10% of foods as a source of potassium and in the top 24% for copper.

The amounts of manganese (0.331 mg per 100g) and magnesium (22 mg per 100g) in water chestnuts are moderate.

Water chestnuts have relatively low levels of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, iron, and choline.

Water chestnuts are low in sodium.

Mineral coverage chart

Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 4% 3% 16% 27% 52% 2% 14% 109% 44% 4%
Calcium: 11 mg of 1,000 mg 1%
Iron: 0.06 mg of 8 mg 1%
Magnesium: 22 mg of 420 mg 5%
Phosphorus: 63 mg of 700 mg 9%
Potassium: 584 mg of 3,400 mg 17%
Sodium: 14 mg of 2,300 mg 1%
Zinc: 0.5 mg of 11 mg 5%
Copper: 0.326 mg of 1 mg 36%
Manganese: 0.331 mg of 2 mg 14%
Selenium: 0.7 µg of 55 µg 1%

Flavonoids

According to one study, water chestnuts contain flavonoids, such as anthocyanin, isoflavones, and flavonols, with potent antioxidant activities. These antioxidants protect your cells from free radical damage linked to various chronic diseases; they can also inhibit the α-glucosidase enzyme (1).

Water chestnuts may be effective against several types of cancer. According to research, flavanoids can effectively block the growth of neoplastic cells (2).

Non-starch Polysaccharides

According to research, water chestnuts are high in non-starch polysaccharides, contributing to their antioxidant quality. Besides, insoluble non-starch polysaccharides, such as cellulose and hemicellulose, are effective laxatives. These compounds can lower plasma cholesterol levels while helping to normalize blood glucose and insulin levels, making these polysaccharides a part of dietary plans to treat cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (3).

Phenolic Compounds

Water chestnuts have a high total phenolic content. Gallocatechin gallate, epicatechin gallate, and catechin gallate are the main phenolic compounds in water chestnuts. They also contain anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and isoflavones in low amounts (4).

These compounds have potent antioxidant properties and have been shown to protect against illnesses associated with free radical formation, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer (2).

Puchiin

Puchiin is a bacteriostatic substance found primarily in water chestnuts. It is considered the second plant-derived antibacterial substance after penicillin.

Puchiin has potent antibacterial properties and functions similarly to penicillin in aiding immune function. Although puchiin has been discovered for a long time, the qualification and quantification of antibacterial activity-contributed components remain limited (3).

Sterols

Water chestnut consumption daily significantly reduced total and low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol levels. According to studies, water chestnuts contain brassicasterol, coprostanol, and beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol can lower blood cholesterol levels by competing with cholesterol absorption in the body (3).

Acidity

The acidity of water chestnut can be measured by looking at its potential renal acid load or PRAL value. Water chestnuts have a PRAL value of -10, making them an alkaline-producing food. The lower this number is, the more alkaline the food produces inside the body.

Comparison to Similar Foods

We compared water chestnuts to other foods in our database and highlighted what nutritional benefits each has.

Water chestnuts have a lower sodium and saturated fat content compared to chestnuts.

Water chestnuts have higher vitamin, mineral, and protein content than jicama.

In comparison with radishes, water chestnuts are lower in sodium and saturated fat content.

Water chestnuts are lower in sugars and saturated fats and richer in vitamins when compared to watercress.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2019.1573255
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33532353/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34453323/
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/12/4/842
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: September 29, 2023
Medically reviewed by Victoria Mazmanyan

Important nutritional characteristics for Water chestnuts

Water chestnuts
Calories ⓘ Calories per 100-gram serving 97
Net Carbs ⓘ Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols 20.94 grams
Serving Size ⓘ Serving sizes are taken from FDA's Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs) 0.5 cup slices (62 grams)
Acidity (Based on PRAL) ⓘ PRAL (Potential renal acid load) is calculated using a formula. On the PRAL scale the higher the positive value, the more is the acidifying effect on the body. The lower the negative value, the higher the alkalinity of the food. 0 is neutral. -10 (alkaline)
TOP 10% Potassium ⓘHigher in Potassium content than 90% of foods
TOP 24% Copper ⓘHigher in Copper content than 76% of foods
TOP 27% Fiber ⓘHigher in Fiber content than 73% of foods
TOP 31% Net carbs ⓘHigher in Net carbs content than 69% of foods
TOP 31% Vitamin C ⓘHigher in Vitamin C content than 69% of foods

Water chestnuts calories (kcal)

Serving Size Calories Weight
Calories in 100 grams 97
Calories in 0.5 cup slices 60 62 g
Calories in 4 waterchestnuts 35 36 g

Mineral chart - relative view

Potassium
584 mg
TOP 10%
Copper
0.326 mg
TOP 24%
Manganese
0.331 mg
TOP 43%
Magnesium
22 mg
TOP 54%
Zinc
0.5 mg
TOP 69%
Phosphorus
63 mg
TOP 73%
Calcium
11 mg
TOP 74%
Sodium
14 mg
TOP 83%
Selenium
0.7 µg
TOP 86%
Iron
0.06 mg
TOP 94%

Vitamin chart - relative view

Vitamin C
4 mg
TOP 31%
Vitamin B6
0.328 mg
TOP 37%
Vitamin B1
0.14 mg
TOP 41%
Vitamin E
1.2 mg
TOP 44%
Vitamin B2
0.2 mg
TOP 46%
Folate
16 µg
TOP 52%
Vitamin B5
0.479 mg
TOP 60%
Choline
36.2 mg
TOP 68%
Vitamin B3
1 mg
TOP 69%
Vitamin K
0.3 µg
TOP 84%
Vitamin A
0 IU
TOP 100%
Vitamin B12
0 µg
TOP 100%
Vitamin D
0 µg
TOP 100%

Fiber content ratio for Water chestnuts

20% 13% 67%
Sugar: 4.8 g
Fiber: 3 g
Other: 16.14 g

All nutrients for Water chestnuts per 100g

Nutrient Value DV% In TOP % of foods Comparison
Calories 97kcal 5% 74% 2.1 times more than OrangeOrange
Protein 1.4g 3% 82% 2 times less than BroccoliBroccoli
Fats 0.1g 0% 93% 333.1 times less than Cheddar CheeseCheddar Cheese
Vitamin C 4mg 4% 31% 13.3 times less than LemonLemon
Net carbs 20.94g N/A 31% 2.6 times less than ChocolateChocolate
Carbs 23.94g 8% 31% 1.2 times less than RiceRice
Cholesterol 0mg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Vitamin D 0µg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Iron 0.06mg 1% 94% 43.3 times less than Beef broiledBeef broiled
Calcium 11mg 1% 74% 11.4 times less than MilkMilk
Potassium 584mg 17% 10% 4 times more than CucumberCucumber
Magnesium 22mg 5% 54% 6.4 times less than AlmondAlmond
Sugar 4.8g N/A 48% 1.9 times less than Coca-ColaCoca-Cola
Fiber 3g 12% 27% 1.3 times more than OrangeOrange
Copper 0.33mg 36% 24% 2.3 times more than ShiitakeShiitake
Zinc 0.5mg 5% 69% 12.6 times less than Beef broiledBeef broiled
Phosphorus 63mg 9% 73% 2.9 times less than Chicken meatChicken meat
Sodium 14mg 1% 83% 35 times less than White BreadWhite Bread
Vitamin A 0IU 0% 100% N/ACarrot
Vitamin A RAE 0µg 0% 100%
Vitamin E 1.2mg 8% 44% 1.2 times less than KiwifruitKiwifruit
Selenium 0.7µg 1% 86%
Manganese 0.33mg 14% 43%
Vitamin B1 0.14mg 12% 41% 1.9 times less than Pea rawPea raw
Vitamin B2 0.2mg 15% 46% 1.5 times more than AvocadoAvocado
Vitamin B3 1mg 6% 69% 9.6 times less than Turkey meatTurkey meat
Vitamin B5 0.48mg 10% 60% 2.4 times less than Sunflower seedSunflower seed
Vitamin B6 0.33mg 25% 37% 2.8 times more than OatOat
Vitamin B12 0µg 0% 100% N/APork
Vitamin K 0.3µg 0% 84% 338.7 times less than BroccoliBroccoli
Trans Fat 0g N/A 100% N/AMargarine
Folate 16µg 4% 52% 3.8 times less than Brussels sproutBrussels sprout
Saturated Fat 0.03g 0% 90% 226.7 times less than Beef broiledBeef broiled
Choline 36.2mg 7% 68%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g N/A 96% 4899.5 times less than AvocadoAvocado
Polyunsaturated fat 0.04g N/A 91% 1097.1 times less than WalnutWalnut
Omega-3 - EPA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon
Omega-3 - DHA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon
Omega-3 - DPA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon

Check out similar food or compare with current

NUTRITION FACTS LABEL

Nutrition Facts
___servings per container
Serving Size ______________
Amount Per 100g
Calories 97
% Daily Value*
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
1%
Sodium 14mg
8%
Total Carbohydrate 24g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
Total Sugars g
Includes ? g Added Sugars
Protein 1g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%

Calcium 11mg 1%

Iron 0mg 0%

Potassium 584mg 17%

*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Health checks

Low in Cholesterol
ok
 ⓘ Dietary cholesterol is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in healthy individuals. However, dietary cholesterol is common in foods that are high in harmful saturated fats.
Source
No Trans Fats
ok
 ⓘ Trans fat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality by negatively affecting blood lipid levels.
Source
Low in Saturated Fats
ok
 ⓘ Saturated fat intake can raise total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, leading to an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Dietary guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats to under 10% of calories a day.
Source
Low in Sodium
ok
 ⓘ Increased sodium consumption leads to elevated blood pressure.
Source
Low in Sugars
ok
 ⓘ While the consumption of moderate amounts of added sugars is not detrimental to health, an excessive intake can increase the risk of obesity, and therefore, diabetes.
Source

Water chestnuts nutrition infographic

Water chestnuts nutrition infographic
Infographic link

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170066/nutrients

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.