Top 5 Health Benefits Of Chestnuts

What Are Chestnuts?

Chestnuts are an edible nut from trees are are in the same family as the beech tree. They grow in green, spiky shells that reveal the nut when peeled. They are typically in season in the UK from October to December. In contrast to other nuts, chestnuts have a low-oil and high-water content, hence their unique, soft texture.

Nutritional Benefits Of Chestnuts

A 100g serving of chestnuts (raw) provides:

  • 170kcal / 719kj
  • 2.0g protein
  • 2.7g fat
  • 36.6g carbohydrate
  • 7.0g sugar
  • 500mg potassium
  • 5.5g fibre

Top 5 Health Benefits Of Chestnuts

1. Good source of antioxidants

Chestnuts contain a number of protective antioxidants, including vitamin C and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, plus various plant compounds including polyphenols such as gallic acid and tannins. These nutrients and plant compounds protect cells from damage and may help protect against chronic disease.

2. May support the heart

Being a source of polyphenols like gallic and ellagic acid, chestnuts may help protect the heart from oxidative stress. Chestnuts are also a good source of potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure.

3. High in fibre

Chestnuts are a great source of fibre, which supports digestive function. The fibre also acts as a prebiotic, fuelling the gut bacteria and in turn helping maintain a healthy gut and gut environment.

4. May improve blood sugar management

Although chestnuts provide more carbohydrates than other nuts, the additional fibre they contain helps regulate its release. The antioxidants chestnuts contain, like gallic and ellagic acid, appear to improve our cells’ response to insulin, which makes overall blood sugar control more effective.

5. May help weight management

High in fibre, chestnuts may help curb your appetite in comparison with other nuts. They are also lower in fat and calories. Furthermore, promising animal studies suggest the addition of chestnut to the diet may reduce the accumulation of belly fat.

Are Chestnuts Safe For Everyone?

Chestnuts are in a different botanical category to the eight tree nuts that pose a common allergy risk. That said, some people may be allergic to chestnuts despite safely tolerating both peanuts and tree nuts.

Raw chestnuts are safe for most people to eat, but because they contain tannins, they may cause digestive disturbance and nausea in some individuals.

Healthy Chestnut Recipes

  1. Sprouts with chestnuts & crisp pancetta
  2. Mushroom & chestnut rotolo
  3. Roast parsnip & chestnut salad
  4. Sweet potato & chestnut roast with tangy tomato sauce
  5. Butternut, chestnut & lentil cake
  6. Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & chestnuts

Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.bbcgoodfood.com by Nicola Shubrook – A registered nutritionistwhere all credits are due. Reviewed by Kerry Torrens.

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