• Sílvia Moreira

Little-known health facts about chestnuts

With the arrival of autumn, one of the most expected fruits are chestnuts. Counting with more than 90 million years old and originated from Asia, chestnuts are a rich-nutrient fruit, being mainly produced in Portugal and Spain on a European level.




Furthermore, before the arrival of potatoes and maize to Europe, chestnut (fruit or flour) played an important role in the human diet, being called ‘the bread of the poor’, since it would feed several when cereals were scarce. In Portugal there are historical references to the fact that chestnut served as a form of rent payment in the XIII century.

The chestnut is a fruit rich in mineral salts and vitamins (copper, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, riboflavin and potassium), but some people also identify it with tubers, particularly potatoes, because of its starch content, having an energy value of about 200 calories per 100 g (twice as high as for potatoes or bananas).

Although they are usually eaten as delicious treats, chestnuts present several health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduce inflammation, help on weight loss, among others. These may be due to its content on antioxidant compounds, such as gallic and ellagic acids, tannins, alkaloids, lutein and other polyphenols; also its high fiber content helps to control and regulate digestive health and blood sugar levels.

Additionally, chestnuts also have potential anti-tumor properties due to the high content of antioxidant compounds, being under development several studies to prove this hypothesis.

Chestnuts are a really popular food around this time of the year; make sure you eat your share either as roasted, boiled, of incorporated in soups, stuffing and deserts!

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