Low in fat and high in fibre, chestnuts are a healthy ingredient to cook with during the festive season. Chestnuts contain vitamins and minerals ;
Whether you enjoy them roasted on an open fire, sprinkled over sprouts or stirred into a stuffing mixture, chestnuts add plenty of texture, flavour and goodness to any dish. Read on to discover why they’re so good for you…
What are chestnuts and when are they in season?
Chestnuts, or sweet chestnuts, are an edible nut that comes from the same family as the beech tree. They grow in a green, spiky shells which when peeled reveals the nut, and they are typically in season in the UK from October to December, but you may see this extended from September to January.
Chestnuts are not to be confused with conkers that come from the Horse Chestnut tree as these are inedible, or water chestnuts that can be found in Asian cuisines.
Nutritional profile of chestnuts
100g of chestnuts provides just 149 calories and, unlike other nuts, they are higher in carbohydrates containing 28g per 100g. They are also lower in protein and fat than other nuts with just 1.9g and 2.2g respectively, but nearly all the fat in chestnuts is a ‘good fat’ or unsaturated fat. They are also a good source of fibre with 5.1g per 100g, which is important for the health of our digestive system.
Other nutrients found in chestnuts include calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth as well as making sure our blood clots properly, iron which is important for making new red blood cells, and zinc which helps to make new cells, digest the carbs, protein and fast from our food as well as wound healing.
Chestnuts also contain all the B vitamins which are needed to help release energy from food, and vitamin E which helps to look after the health of our eyes and skin and support our immune system.