Chestnuts are edible nuts (although typically a fruit) produced by the shrubs and trees of deciduous trees in the beech family, which grow in Asia, Europe, and North America. In this article, we will explore chestnut benefits.
There are various types of chestnuts, but they all have similar qualities. The common types include Chinese chestnut, American chestnut, Korean or Japanese chestnut, and European chestnut also known as Spanish chestnut or sweet chestnut.
However, the European chestnut is the most common type and the most popular in grocery stores.
Chestnuts have a smooth, shiny, dark brown shell and grow in clusters of up to 7 nuts enclosed inside spiny husks, both of which must be removed before eating.
They can be eaten raw, roasted, or cooked in various dishes, including soups, salads, toppings, stuffings, and many more. They can also be ground into flour and be used for baking. Raw chestnuts are slightly bitter, while roasted or cooked ones are sweet, soft, and buttery.
Chestnuts are rich in various nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
This article gives you in-depth benefits of consuming chestnuts.
1. They promote digestion
Chestnuts are high in fiber which helps promote better digestion by preventing constipation, maintaining healthy bowel movements, and acting like prebiotics to help feed the good gut bacteria. This further keeps your gut healthy and boosts your immune system.
2. They are good for your heart
Chestnuts are rich in nutrients that have been shown to promote heart health.
For example, they are a good source of potassium, with 10 kernels ( 84grams) of roasted chestnuts providing up to 11 percent of your daily potassium requirements.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that keeps the heart healthy by keeping the heart rhythm steady, relaxing the blood vessel walls causing blood pressure to fall, and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
According to research, potassium-rich diets can boost heart health and lower the risk of stroke by 24 percent and heart disease by 27 percent.
They are also high in antioxidants like ellagic acid and gallic, which have been shown to neutralize free radicals and protect the heart against oxidative stress, which increases your risk of cardiovascular conditions. Best Foods For Heart Health and Vitamins For Heart Health.
3. May promote proper blood glucose regulation
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels may increase your risk of developing insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes or increase its complications if you already have a diagnosis.
High-fiber foods like chestnuts may help balance blood sugar by ensuring the body slowly absorbs the carbohydrates in the nuts. This helps prevent glucose spikes that may be dangerous, especially in diabetes.
If wondering how much fiber is present in chestnuts, 10 kernels of roasted chestnuts contain 4.3 grams, which is approximately15 percent of your daily fiber requirement. This can significantly boost your fiber intake in addition to other fiber-rich foods.
The antioxidants ellagic and gallic in chestnuts have also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and promote glucose uptake by the cells, thus regulating glucose levels.
However, keep in mind that, like other nuts, chestnuts may be high in calories, so always consume them in moderation. Best Foods To Lower And Regulate Blood Sugar.
4. It’s rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals in the body that may cause oxidative stress and cell damage leading to disease formation such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Chestnuts offer an incredible amount of antioxidants, including lutein, tannins, alkaloids, gallic acid, and ellagic acid. There are different antioxidants and can be obtained from other kinds of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Incorporating chestnuts with these foods will help lower the risk of disease and promote health and wellbeing.
5. Supports brain health
Chestnuts are rich in several B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, and folate. These vitamins play an essential role in promoting brain health and protecting against cognitive disorders.
In one study, increased intake of B vitamins was associated with improved cognitive functions in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment.
In a different study, a one-year supplementation of folic acid in elderly participants reduced inflammatory markers and improved cognitive performance.
Including one or two servings of chestnuts in addition to other protein-rich healthy foods will help promote your vitamin B intake, and of course, promote brain health. Vegan Brain Booster Foods.
6. May boost bone health
Chestnuts are rich in manganese, an important mineral that plays a central role in bone health, including increased bone density and strength. Manganese also promotes bone metabolism and is a co-factor for various enzymes involved in bone formation.
A deficiency may result in weak and brittle bones predisposing you to osteoporosis, easy fractures, and osteoarthritis, among other bone conditions.
Combining manganese with other bone-building minerals can help support bone health even more.
In one study, a supplement containing manganese along with zinc, calcium, magnesium, boron, and vitam9n D was shown to promote bone density in women with weak bones.
Consuming 10 kernels of chestnuts a day can provide up to 43 percent of your daily manganese requirements. 9 Ways to Improve Bone Health Naturally.
7. May aid weight loss
The high fiber content in chestnuts may keep you full longer by slowing the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach into the intestines. The fiber may also promote the production of enzymes that can curb your appetite while suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin.
In addition, chestnuts may potentially lower cholesterol and belly fat. However, more human studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits. The Best Diet For Weight Loss, What Makes You Gain Weight?
Risks and Side Effects
Unlike other nuts such as peanuts, chestnut allergies are pretty rare. However, if you have allergies to other nuts, you may want to avoid chestnuts.
Or if you experience swelling, itching, redness, wheezing, or swelling after eating chestnuts, you could be having an allergy, so discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.
Chestnuts are flavorful nuts with numerous health benefits, including boosting your fiber and antioxidant intake, promoting heart health, aiding weight loss, increasing brain function, improving digestion, controlling blood glucose levels, and strengthening bones.
However, if you have nut allergies, chestnuts may not be a good option for you. Also, if you experience any signs of allergies, discontinue and seek medical attention.
Also, remember that chestnuts may be high in calories, so always consume them in moderation.
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