During Navratra fasts, wheat flour should be omitted from diet and be substituted with water chestnut (Singhara) or buckwheat (kuttu) flour, said Padma Shri & Dr. BC Roy National Awardee, Dr. KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India & National Vice President Elect IMA. Singhara is not a cereal but a fruit and hence a good substitute for a Navratra fast where cereals are not to be eaten.

  • Singhara flour is prepared from Singhara or Water Chestnut.
  • Singharas are floating aquatic plants, growing in slow–moving water up to 5 meters deep. The plant bears ornately shaped fruits containing a single very large starchy seed.
  • The seeds or nuts are boiled and sold as snacks or eaten raw.
  • The flour is made from dried, ground water chestnuts. The nuts are boiled, peeled, dried then ground into flour. The flour is bright white fine powder; it is actually a starch rather than flour.
  • The flour is primarily used as a thickener.
  • The flour is used as food in Navratra and consumed as phalahar (fruit) diet.
  • It is an excellent source of energy and provides 115 kcals per 100g.
  • The glycemic index for chestnut is 60. Low GI foods have a GI value less than 55; medium GI foods have a GI value between 55 and 69 and high GI foods have GI value greater than 70.
  • Chestnuts are relatively low in net carbs (total carbohydrate minus dietary fiber) and so are included in many low carb diets.
  • Being a gluten–free product, chestnut flour is a cooking option for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances or allergies.
  • Chestnuts do not contain the fat that regular nuts have.
  • It contains less carbohydrate than white flour.
  • People with tree nut allergies should avoid chestnut flour as it may cause an allergic reaction.
  • Flour made from chestnuts is typically more difficult to locate in many areas as well as more expensive than white flour.
  • Avoid eating deep fried chestnut flour pooris or paranthas.
  • Do not use trans fats containing vegetables oils to cook bread from chestnut flour.
  • Buy only branded flour as flour left over from the previous year can lead to food poisoning.
  • As per Ayurveda, chestnut flour has cool and buckwheat flour has hot properties.
  • Both chestnut flour and buckwheat flours can be combined.
  • One should eat phalahar once a week and at least 80 days in a year.