Chestnuts reminds me of cold Fall and Winter days,when I am tucked in my sofa,covered with a blanket,watching a movie and cracking roasted chestnuts.
Oh,I love that smell when sellers roast them downtown,serving them in a paper bag…I just dive my nose into that bag,just “soaking: my nose in that hot roasted smell of fresh baked chestnuts.
There are many health benefits of consuming them and here is why:
Health Benefits Of Chestnuts
- Chestnuts, unlike other nuts and seeds, are relatively low in calories, carry less fat, but are rich sources of minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients that immensely benefit health.
- They are a good source of dietary fiber; provide 8.1 g (about 21% of RDI) per 100 g. Fiber diet helps lower blood cholesterol levels by limiting excess cholesterol absorption in the intestines.
- Another unique feature of chestnuts is that they chiefly made of starch in contrast to other seeds and nuts, which are high in calorie, protein, and fat. Chestnuts nutrition composition is, therefore, comparable to that of other staple starch foods such as sweet potato,sweet corn,plantain, etc., Nevertheless,they are still good sources of minerals, vitamins and some good-quality protein than cereals and tubers.
- They are exceptionally rich in vitamin-C. 100 g nuts provide 43 mg of vitamin C (72 % of DRI). Vitamin C is required for matrix formation in teeth, bones and blood vessels. Being a strong anti-oxidant, it offers protection from harmful free radicals.
- Like true nuts, they are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty like oleic acid (18:1) and palmitoleic acids (16:1). Mediterranean diet which is rich in dietary-fiber,omega fatty acids and antioxidants help prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
- Chestnuts are rich in folates, which is quite a rare but unique feature for nuts and seeds. For example,100 g nuts provide 62 mg of folates (or 15.5%). Folic acid is required for the formation of red blood cells, and DNA synthesis. Adequate consumption of food rich in folates during the peri-conception period helps prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
- The nuts are an excellent source of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, besides providing a very good amount of potassium (518 mg / 100 g). Potassium helps counter hypertensive action of sodium, lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Iron helps prevent microcytic-anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are important components of bone metabolism.
- Chestnuts, like hazelnuts and almonds, are free from gluten. And ,for the same reason, they are one of the popular ingredients in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas intended for use in gluten-sensitive, wheat allergy, and celiac disease patients.
- They are also rich in many important B-complex groups of vitamins. 100 g of nuts provide 11% of niacin, 29% of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), 100% of thiamin, and 12% of riboflavin.
- The fiber content of chestnuts, 3 g per 100 g, is higher than that of walnuts, with 2.1 g per 100 g, pecans, 2.3 g per 100 g, and pistachios 1.9 g per 100 g but about half that of hazelnuts. Their fiber content makes them a low glycemic index food – one that raises blood sugar slowly.
- Chestnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health and proper neurological development in infants.
- Their fat content of 12 percent makes chestnuts a low-fat nut without the health benefits of the high polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts and other nuts eaten for their heart-healthy oils.
There are many ways to prepare chestnuts,but we give you following tips:
- Enjoy them raw, boiled or roasted. To roast, make few, small incisions over the dome-side to prevent them from busting.
- The nuts are used as one of the main ingredients in poultry stuffing, especially in the Thanksgiving turkey.
- Chestnut flour is also favored in many Tuscany recipes such as polenta, sweet breads, biscuits, cakes, soups and ice-cream.
- Marron glace is extremely popular in Europe where large sized, high quality European chestnuts (marrone di lucerna ) used. To prepare marron glace or glazed chestnuts, the nuts are soaked in water, then dipped and heated in gradual concentration of sugar-vanilla syrup for several days. Thus candied nuts are then subjected to dry under heat/sunlight before packing.
- They are also used to make chestnut butter-cream.
To tell you the truth…my favorite are roasted chestnuts…pure and indulging fall/winter taste…mmm…