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Benefits of chestnuts

benefits-of-chestnuts

Chestnuts are a delicious treat, either roasted or cooked in soups or other recipes, and have considerable nutritional value. They belong to the genus Castanea and come from beech family. It has four species viz. European, Chinese, Japanese and American Chestnuts.

These species are very different from each other in their growth pattern. Chinese chestnut grows slowly and has a wide growth but American and European ones are known for faster growth and usually extend erect and narrow in shape. The edible nut which is also called chestnut, same as the tree on which it grows is contained in two coverings- outer shell is hard and thick and the one inside is thin and called Pellicle. Chestnuts are not only good to taste but are also loaded with a lot of nutrients.

Nutrient Content

Energy200 Kcal
Carbohydrates44 gms
Fats1.3 gms
Protein1.6 gms
Vitamin A1 ug
Vitamin B10.144 mg
Vitamin B20.016 mg
Vitamin B31.102 mg
Folate58 ug
Vitamin B60.352 mg
Vitamin C40.2 mg
Calcium19 mg
Magnesium30 mg
Iron0.94 mg
Phosphorus38 mg
Zinc0.49 mg
Potassium484 mg

Chestnuts provide 195 calories per 100 g serving, mostly coming from their high carbohydrate content. Chestnuts are high in vitamin C, minerals, such as potassium, copper and magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants. Chestnuts are also low in kidney stone-forming oxalate compounds, with less than 85 mg per 100 g, in comparison to other nuts.

Fiber Content

Chestnuts have a fiber content of 3 g per 100 g. For reference, the fiber content of  walnuts is 2.1 g per 100 g,  pecans, 2.3 g per 100 g, and pistachios 1.9 g per 100 g.

Fatty Acids Content

Chestnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health and proper neurological development in infants. Chestnut oil mostly consists of palmitic acid and oleic acid — the fatty acid found in high quantities in olive oil.

Water Content

The water chestnut, known scientifically as Eleocharis dulcis, is a type of sedge that grows in marshes. They produce corms, also known as bulbotubers, which have a firm, white flesh and a mild flavor. Water chestnuts are common ingredients in Chinese cooking and you can serve them as a side dish. Water chestnuts are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat like most vegetables.

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Calories

The listed nutritional information comes from Fitbit, a fitness-focused website, and applies to canned water chestnuts. The serving size is 1/2 cup and includes solids and liquids. A serving of water chestnuts contains a total of 35 calories. Carbohydrates contribute 33 calories and protein accounts for the remaining 2 calories. A serving of water chestnuts provides about 1.8 percent of the daily value for calories, assuming a daily diet of 2,000 calories.

Carbohydrates

A serving of water chestnuts contains 8.6 grams of total carbohydrates or about 3 percent of the daily value for total carbohydrates. This includes 1.8 grams of dietary fiber, which is about 7 percent of the daily value for fiber. A serving of water chestnuts also contains 1.6 grams of sugar.

Protein and Fat

Water chestnuts provide 0.6 grams of protein per serving or about 1 percent of the daily value for protein. Alone, this food does not make a significant protein source. They do not contain cholesterol or fat of any type.

Vitamins

A serving of water chestnuts contains 6 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6 and 2 percent of the daily value for pantothenic acid and vitamin C. It also contains 1 percent of the daily value for niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. Water chestnuts contain no vitamin A.

Minerals

Water chestnuts provide 4 percent of the daily value for copper, 3 percent of the daily value for iron and 2 percent of the daily value for potassium and zinc. A serving of water chestnuts also contains 1 percent of the daily value for magnesium and phosphorus. Water chestnuts contain no calcium or sodium.

Benefits of chestnuts

Strong Antioxidant

Chestnuts with their heavy composition of antioxidant properties detoxify your body and optimizes the immune function of the body.

A high amount of Vitamin C, Gallic acid, and Ellagic acid make chestnut a strong and very effective anti-oxidant. Antioxidants are required by the body to clean the toxins and free radicals.

Helps in digestion

Chestnuts have a very high fiber content. Fiber absorbs water and makes the stools soft along with adding bulk to it. Bulkier and softer stools pass through the gastrointestinal tract easily and faster. This prevents constipation and constipation-related anal inflammation and piles.

Chestnuts also have a high content of water as well which makes it a perfect choice for improving digestion with the right combination of fiber and water together.

Thyroid function

The ellagic acid in Chestnuts can help support the Thyroid function where one experiences hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid function. Ellagic acid suppresses the hormone secretion thereby bringing a control over the overactive thyroid gland.

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Dental & Bone health

Chest nuts are rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorus are two minerals that are absolutely essential for bone health as they make up the main composition of bones, however, a healthy dose of Magnesium is required for the other two to carry out their function effectively. Magnesium forms the hard enamel around your teeth and protects the bones from degeneration and decay.

Respiratory Diseases

Cough, cold, Bronchitis and sore throat are some of the most common respiratory conditions. In sore throat, cough and cold, the inflammation of throat can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. There is also a persistent feeling of dryness which causes itching. To get a relief from this particular problem, doctors administer cough syrups containing expectorant. Expectorant signals the body to produce more hydrating secretions that relieve the throat. Chestnut has the same properties as that of an expectorant.

Maintain Blood Vessel Elasticity

Chestnuts contain essential fatty acids that are required by our body and are derived from the dietary sources. Chestnuts are particularly rich in linoleic acid and have Palmitic acid and Oleic acid that are safe for your body. They have a low level of cholesterol and can help in bringing down the levels of “Bad Cholesterol” or LDL in the blood vessels.

LDL can create deposits of plaque along the inner lining of blood vessels making them rigid over a period of time. Food items like chestnuts clear this plaque and discourage its formation ensuring elasticity and healthy network of blood vessels.

For Loose motions

Loose motions or dysentery can also be controlled by tannin on chestnuts. The Same concoction that cures diarrhea can also bring a lot of relief from persistent dysentery.

Helps in Weight Loss

The abundant fiber content of Chestnut makes you full and keeps you full for longer which naturally curbs appetite. The mineral composition and water in chestnuts further controls and replenishes the loss of electrolyte if you are also on a heavy exercising routine for shaving off the extra weight.

Nurtures Pregnancy

Chestnuts provide calcium, Vitamins and important minerals that make the bones strong, balance electrolytes thereby preventing from frequent cramping which many pregnant women experience and keeping your health in a good shape by warding off infections.

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Chestnuts are also known to alleviate nausea which plagues the majority of pregnant women, especially in the first trimester.

Balance Electrolyte

Chestnuts contain safe and reasonable quantities of Potassium and magnesium that are necessary for the electrolyte. The fluid which carries these ions needs water and chestnut is 60% water which can be further increased by boiling it.

Heart health

Chestnuts are Vitamin B12 rich nuts that have a significant amount of folate or folic acid in them that can help in arresting the onset of Hyperhomocysteinemia.

Alleviates Stones

Chestnuts are a low-oxalate food source. The potassium in chestnuts regulates and control the release and distribution of calcium in the body. It ensures the deposition of calcium on bones with a minimum quantity getting into the blood stream thereby preventing stone formation.

Astringent Properties

Chestnuts have anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great astringent owing to a heavy content of tannin in it. Tannins can allay the skin problems and provide relief from swelling and pain caused due to tear in body tissues.It helps in faster healing of wounds and soothes. This character of Chestnut has been especially effective in treating hemorrhoids.

Side Effects of Chestnuts

Chestnuts are a very rich source of Vitamin B6 which is a water soluble vitamin. Though the chances of overdosing are rare in cases of water-soluble vitamins because they are not stored in the body but a long term high dosage of Vitamin B6 can cause brain and nerve problems.

The excessive consumption on a persistent basis can lead to spikes of Vitamin B6 which may result in health complications in the long term.

Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction which causes asthma type of symptoms. People who are allergic to nuts must make sure that Chestnut is suitable for them.

Many a times an allergy may be caused by a certain class of nuts only which makes other nuts safe. But as they say, better be safe than sorry, so consult your physician before you take in a handful of them.

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References:

  1. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-roasted-chestnuts-2283.html
  2. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/chestnuts.html
  3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/266945-nutritional-information-for-water-chestnuts/
  4. http://wiki-fitness.com/chestnut-health-benefits-nutrition-facts/

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