The increase of seeds and fruits from the plant kingdom has been studied for its benefit in digestive health and against diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular accidents.
In this case, the properties of chestnuts, closely related to other nuts such as nuts, offer us a very balanced nutritional composition and benefits that almost “force” us to consume them more frequently.
We are going to tell you the main properties of chestnuts and their medical attributions. With this you will discover the benefit of consuming products low in saturated fats and high in minerals such as potassium or vitamins as the broad group B.
But, above all, the fact of consuming foods rich in fiber, since practically only 2 out of 10 people consume the necessary fiber daily, and that is something that will bring us negative consequences.
What are chestnuts?
Chestnuts are the fruit that belongs to the chestnut tree, which practically everyone knows. However, the big problem with this food is the lack of adaptation or imagination of ours in the daily diet.
In Spain, they are usually consumed roasted, where we can buy them in cold periods (autumn and winter) in street stalls, to relieve ourselves of the cold. October and November are the months par excellence where more is consumed, and we find the freshest product.
Their consumption is not widespread, and it is probably because we do not find ways to consume them or adapt them to our diet.
Other countries in Europe, if they have more tradition with their preparation and perform biscuits, puddings and creams.
Some traditional dishes containing chestnuts:
- Roasted chestnuts, typical of Christmas.
- Galician stew with chickpeas and chestnuts.
- Sweet cream of chestnuts.
- Chestnut cake.
- Chestnut puree.
- Brown glacé
Tips and curiosities of its consumption
They can be consumed as fresh produce
It is the most comfortable and practical way to take advantage of all the properties of chestnuts, since when cooking them, they can lose concentration of their vitamins.
However, you have to wait at least 2 weeks from harvesting as they contain many tannins that give it a bitter and unpleasant taste.
They have a laxative effect
Due to the high fiber content, part of it insoluble, as well as its tannin content, activates digestive transit, so in excess it can cause a laxative effect.
This is appropriate for people who suffer from constipation, either because of their eating habits or because of the consumption of medications that favor this situation.
Potassium favors the outflow of liquids, so it is a recommended food when we have problems with fluid retention. In turn, this problem is associated with hypertension.
Because of its composition, it is more like a cereal
If we were to look at the table blindly, without knowing that they are chestnuts, we would attribute this food to a cereal, since it contains a volume high in carbohydrates and low in total fat (saturated and unsaturated).
However, chestnuts are classified as nuts.
For every 100 grams of chestnuts, they provide the following nutritional composition:
- Energy: 131 kcal
- Proteins: 2 grams
- Fats: 1.38 grams
- Fibre: 6.8 grams
- Carbohydrates: 27.7 grams
Food with a moderate caloric intake (much lower compared to other nuts), low in fat and with zero cholesterol intake.
However, the properties of chestnuts come from their great mineral balance (very high in potassium) and the contribution of different branches of vitamins
- Calcium: 46 mg
- Iron: 1.73 mg
- Magnesium: 54 mg
- Phosphorus: 99 mg
- Potassium: 530 mg
- Sodium: 27 mg
- Zinc: 0.25 mg
Chestnuts contain a very high amount of the mineral potassium, involved in regulating the amount of water in cells, intervening in nerve transmission, contraction muscular and a long etcetera.
To give an example, a food rich in potassium, like tomato, contains 237 mg. Therefore, this fruit provides 2.23 times more, and that undoubtedly characterizes the properties of chestnuts for its nutritional benefit.
Vitamin content of chestnuts
|Vitamin A||17 IU (1 μg)|
|Vitamin B6||0.23 mg|
|Vitamin C||27.7 mg|
Health Benefits of Chestnuts
The properties of chestnuts and the health benefits are based on their low fat intake and their balanced composition between minerals and vitamins. This offers us multiple advantages if we use them in a common way in our gastronomy.
Food suitable for diabetics
One of the food groups that are highly recommended for people suffering from diabetes are those rich in vegetable fiber, such as chestnuts. The main enemy in the diet of those people who have problems with the balance of blood sugar need to take products with low glycemic index, like granola.
Therefore, the properties of chestnuts offer low GI and a high content of dietary fiber, regulating and decreasing the peaks and drops in sugar that are usually dangerous for this type of people.
In fact, this dysregulation causes the pancreas to work excessively and is a reason why diabetes can develop over the years.
Chestnuts are constituted as a great food to cover moments of appetite and where you look for foods with low glycemic index.
Boosting the immune system
The immune system it highly depends on the food we provide. Those rich in vitamins and minerals, from fruits and vegetables, offer better results than those foods rich in sugars, with cholesterol and unsaturated fats.
The concentration of different vitamins, such as type C in the properties of chestnuts, allows improving and strengthen the immune system.
However, the initial problem with this food is that when cooked they lose a high percentage of this vitamin, according to the journal Food Chemistry. You can find other forms of consumption, such as asadas, a tradition that is usually consumed, in the middle of the street, in many cities in Spain.
Increases bone density
Not only calcium lives man in terms of bone constitution or the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis. Calcium needs to be supplemented with vitamins (such as vitamin D) and other minerals (copper or magnesium) to promote its absorption.
Therefore, magnesium favors the bone mineral density along with other benefits, just like copper. This makes it possible to improve the assimilation of calcium (table of foods with more calcium).
Reduces digestive problems
Any high-fiber diet offers countless health benefits. The first impact, in the short term, is an improvement in the digestive transit that, in the medium or long term, has been documented to prevent different types of cancer of the digestive system (stomach, intestine, colon, etc.)
Therefore, it is important to increase the diet with products high in fiber, such as the one that offers the properties of chestnuts. [See information]
Fiber favors the peristaltic movement in the intestines and regulates bowel movement. In addition, that fiber of easy absorption also collaborates in the assimilation of the rest of the nutrients.
Activate brain function
Many foods rich in the vitamin B group have always been mentioned and their potential to improve cognitive activity and bolster memory. Therefore, in times of work stress or during exams, the properties of chestnuts can help us in our task.
In addition, it is known that at the time of examinations the brain demands much more amount of protein-rich foods and satiating, and it is usually resorted to fast consumption products as it hasbourgeois, lean meats and junk food.
Roasted chestnuts can offer healthy calories (fiber, protein and carbohydrates of rapid assimilation) without providing much fat and no cholesterol.
Prevent chronic diseases
Chestnuts offer an antioxidant group, interesting for the prevention of free radicals and the famous oxidative stress. This is related to many diseases, and especially to some types of cancer.
The consumption of this type of foods rich in vitamins and high in fiber favors the assimilation of antioxidants from chestnuts, with anti-melanogenic properties. [Study]
Control blood pressure
One of the activities offered by potassium is the regulation of fluids in the body and, therefore, the blood pressure control.
Potassium, in such high concentrations as the properties of chestnuts offers, acts as a vasodilator and increases blood flow. Many diseases are related to the low mobility of blood flow in different organs and parts of the body, such as the glaucoma in the eye or migraines.
Lowering blood pressure encourages a lower chance of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Improving heart health
Cardiovascular health is closely related to the intake of fats, triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL). However, the opposite is true of unsaturated fats from the plant kingdom, such as those offered by the properties of chestnuts.
These types of fats have been studied and confirmed to reduce the risk of thrombosis and atherosclerosis, thus reducing the likelihood of coronary heart disease.
In this case, in addition to taking a product low in bad fats and high in beneficial fats, it is linked to a large contribution of the mineral potassium to improve blood flow by acting as a vasodilator, something that the British Medical Journal strongly recommends. [Study]