Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Nut Above

'Tis the season again! Time to wrap ourselves in cozy sweaters, run through noisy leaves lining the sidewalks and enjoy cold weather foods. And, whether  or not you roast them, chestnuts should be one of those foods. I love to eat them raw because they're crunchy and just a little "juicy".  Every fall, when they show up at my local stores and farmers markets, I make sure to buy them every time I'm out. My family and I love these little gems. If I didn't know just how exceptionally healthful they are, I'd feel a bit guilty about indulging in their deliciousness. 

But, because Google is my friend, I know a thing or two, about a thing or two. For example:

  • Compared to other nuts and seeds, chestnuts are relatively low in calories and fat, so you don't have to be quite as careful about limiting portion size. 
  • Chestnuts are a good source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients.
  • Surprisingly, chestnuts are exceptionally rich in Vitamin C, folates (which are usually found in leafy green vegetables), iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium.
  • If you're needing mono-unsaturated fats like oleic and palmitoleic acids in your life (and, really, who isn't) then you should be eating chestnuts!
  • Want a good source of the B-complex vitamins? Chestnuts.
  • Manganese! Chestnuts have got it. In fact, a 3 ounce serving of chestnuts will give you 50 percent of your recommended daily intake. Why is manganese important? Well, it's an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, while also helping with connective tissue health and blood clotting. Studies are beginning to indicate that manganese plays a key role in slowing down the aging process.
  • Chestnuts are naturally gluten-free.
  • The trace mineral copper is necessary for bone strength, red blood cell formation, nerve function and a strong immune system, and a 3 ounce serving of chestnuts gives you 22 percent of the recommended daily value.
So, how's that for an unassuming-looking little brown nut? Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Go get some chestnuts, crack them open and enjoy crunching on them, knowing that you are definitely doing your body good!

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