Holiday Superfood: Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…..” – Nat King Cole

The smell of roasted chestnuts is inevitably sweet and brings forth the feeling of excitement for the holidays.  Chestnuts are cool season crops — the reason why most Americans and other western countries consider chestnuts as an icon of the holiday season.

But what do we know about chestnuts?

Chestnuts are far healthier than most would think.  It has tremendous health benefits many are not aware. Roasting is the most popular way of preparing chestnuts — although it can be candied, pureed, and boiled among others.

Let’s break down the nutrients of roasted chestnuts!

High dietary fiber content

Roasted chestnuts contain soluble and predominantly, insoluble dietary fibers.  Soluble fiber gets absorbed in water and creates a gel which binds with fatty acids, thus lowering cholesterol and regulates blood-sugar levels. Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids by providing bulk in the intestines.

Good source of complex carbohydrates, starch

Starch is a complex type of carbohydrates, so it is digested slowly which can sustain you enough energy over the day.

Provides high levels of minerals

  • Manganese is a trace mineral and an antioxidant which fights free radicals in the body and reduces the risk for cancer and heart disease.
  • Iron which helps prevent anemia-related diseases.
  • Copper, magnesium and phosphorus strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Copper helps with red blood cell formation and nerve function.
  • Potassium works on cardiovascular health excellently by acting as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow and releasing the tension on constricted blood vessels and arteries.

Rich in vitamins

  • B-Complex vitamins enhance brain function and cognition.
  • Vitamin C boosts your immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells to capture pathogens and prevents illness.
  • Folic acid is required for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis. Consuming adequate amount of folate-rich food during pregnancy will prevent fetal neural tube defects.
  • Oleic and Palmitoleic acids are both mono-unsaturated fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol and elevate good cholesterol. These ‘good fats’ lower the risk of atherosclerosis and building up of blood clots, and thus lowering your risk of stroke, heart attack and coronary heart disease.

Roasting chestnuts is not a bad idea at all to include in your diet this holiday. When storing chestnuts, pack them and put inside the refrigerator so they will remain fresh for few weeks. Remember that chestnuts spoil too quickly if exposed to air and excess humid temperature for a longer period of time.

Be happy and stay healthy with your chestnuts this jolly season.

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