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7 Health Benefits Of Chestnuts

Last updated April 23, 2016

The chestnut should not be confused with horse chestnuts or water chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are mildly poisonous to humans, and water chestnuts are not nuts, but tubers, similar to potatoes. Chestnuts are also loaded with nutritious health benefits.


Chestnuts have been a great seasonal food. There are more than eight species of this edible nut including the following types:

  • European species or the sweet chestnut
  • Asiatic species or the Japanese chestnut
  • American species or the American chestnut

The chestnut should not be confused with horse chestnuts or water chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are mildly poisonous to humans, and water chestnuts are not nuts, but tubers, similar to potatoes. Chestnuts are also loaded with nutritious health benefits.

Here are the 7 health benefits of chestnuts.

1.     Chestnuts are a great source of stable energy.

Most nuts are low in carbohydrates and high in fats. Chestnuts, however, have a high amount of carbohydrates, containing 76 grams of carbs and only 3 grams of fat. Carbohydrates are important for short-term and long-term energy needs and help with nervous system function since the brain loves glucose.

2.     Chestnuts help aid the digestive system.

Chestnuts are a great source of dietary fiber. A one-cup serving of chestnuts contains 7 grams of dietary fiber, which aids in preventing constipation, making one’s bowel movement easier to manage. The soluble fiber, found in chestnuts, can help reduce cholesterol and decrease blood sugar levels. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively.

3.     Chestnuts are perfect for decreasing blood pressure.

Chestnuts have one of the highest amounts of potassium per cup among nuts. Per cup, chestnuts contain 847 milligrams or 25 percent of the daily recommendation for potassium. Also, chestnuts contain very little sodium with only 2.9 milligrams per cup. This combination with folate also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.

4.     Chestnuts may improve brain health.

Several components of chestnuts, such as potassium, folate, and various antioxidants, are known to provide neurological benefits. Folate has been known to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Potassium has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain; heighten cognition, concentration, and neural activity. Folate is also essential for fetal brain development. It helps prevent neural tube defects.

5.     Chestnuts can contribute to improving heart health.

Chestnuts are rich in vitamin B6, potassium, and dietary fiber. One study suggested that individuals who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day, had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, compared with those who consumed less potassium approximately 1,000 mg per day.

6.     Chestnuts are an incredible source of manganese.

Manganese is essential for many enzymes that control blood sugar, energy metabolism, and thyroid function. One cup of chestnuts possesses a whopping 84 percent of the recommended value of manganese. Deficiencies in manganese can be associated with impaired fertility, growth retardation, congenital disabilities, and general weakness.

7.     Chestnuts can help individuals fight infections.

Chestnuts contain 62 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per cup. Vitamin C is a powerful, natural, water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.

References:

  1. Nuts, chestnuts, european, roasted Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3143/2
  2. Joshua, Z. P., & Suleiman, M. M. (2012). The effect of cooking time on the vitamin C, dietary fiber and mineral compositions of some local vegetables. Science World Journal7(1), 29-30.
  3. Tessmer, Kimberly. The Everything Nutrition Book: Boost Energy, Prevent Illness, and Live Longer. No ed. Avon: Adams Media Corporation, 2003. 304. Print.
  4. Gold, M., Cernusca, M. M., & Godsey, L. (2004). Consumer preferences for chestnuts, eastern black walnuts, and pecans. HortTechnology, 14(4), 583-589.
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  6. Ros, E. (2010). Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2(7), 652-682.
  7. Vadivel, V., Kunyanga, C. N., & Biesalski, H. K. (2012). Health benefits of nut consumption with special reference to body weight control. Nutrition, 28(11), 1089-1097.
  8. Sabaté, J., Ros, E., & Salas-Salvadó, J. (2006). Nuts: nutrition and health outcomes. British Journal of Nutrition, 96(S2), S1-S2.
  9. Donis‐González, I. R., Guyer, D. E., & Fulbright, D. W. (2016). Quantification and identification of microorganisms found on shell and kernel of fresh edible chestnuts in Michigan. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 23, 2016
Last updated: April 23, 2016