Should a nut allergic avoid water chestnuts?

This vegetable may sound nutty but actually water chestnuts are nothing like a nut at all. Some people do panic and avoid eating any foods with nut in the title when they have an allergy but you should be able to eat water chestnuts without any problems.

If you do have any kind of reaction bear in mind that anyone can be allergic to anything these days. Seek medical advice if you are at all worried.

But the short a simple answer is no, you should not avoid water chestnuts – they have absolutely nothing to do with nuts apart from sharing the scary name.

wa·ter chest·nut


  • The tuber of a tropical sedge that is widely used in Asian cooking, its white flesh remaining crisp after cooking.
  • The sedge (Eleocharis tuberosa) that yields this tuber, which is cultivated in flooded fields in Southeast Asia.

So they are just the roots of an aquatic plant which grows in Asia and Australia and the only nutty thing about them is that they kind of resemble a chestnut in colour and shape but that’s it.

I couldn’t find any references to water chestnut allergy on the internet and Food Allergy Research & Education list them as most definitely NOT a nut in this informaton about tree nut allergy.

Can you eat water chestnuts? Do you eat them? Or do you avoid them? Or are you in fact allergic to them?

They do make a lovely addition to a stir fry with some bamboo shoots!

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.

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