Chestnuts: nutritional properties and health benefits

Chestnuts are the fruit of the chestnut ( Castanea sativa = Castanea vulgaris = Castanea vesca ), an arboreal plant grown in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and West Africa.For centuries they have been the “bread of the poor”. 

BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF CHESTNUTS

With a nutritional value comparable to that of wholemeal bread , chestnuts also associate important mineral salts such as phosphorus and potassium, vitamins B2 and PP essential for tissue health, a good percentage of fiber and folic acid, and a vitamin capable of preventing some malformations in the fetus.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of chestnuts:

Kcal 174 kcal water. 55.8 gr Protein 2.9 gr Grassi 1.7 g Carbohydrates 36.7 gr Of which simple sugars 8.9 gr Fiber 4.7 g folate 62 ugr Thiamine 0.08 mgr Riboflavin 0.28 mgr Niacin 1.11 mgr Pantothenic acid 0.49 mgr Vitamin B6 0.34 mgr Biotin 1.4 ugr Vitamin E 1.20 mgr Vitamin K 7.80 ugr Phosphorus 81 mgr Magnesium 33 mgr Sodium 9 mgr Potassium 395 mgr Iron 0.9 mgr Zinc 1.60 mgr Copper 1.88 mgr Manganese 0.50 mgr Glycemic index 60

They are also rich in amino acids , including aspartic acid, arginine, alanine, glycine, proline, tronina and serine. Let’s see together the properties and functions of these micronutrients so abundant in this fruit.

Magnesium : mineral with multiple properties, essential for the well-being of the nervous system, for the construction of the skeleton and for the metabolism of fats;

Potassium : chestnuts are fairly rich in this mineral, implicated in various physiological processes such as muscle contraction, maintaining a correct hydro-saline balance and regulating blood pressure;

Phosphorus : one of the main constituents of bones and teeth, it constitutes an important buffer system in the blood, where it contributes to the maintenance of pH;

Zinc : chestnuts have a good content of this mineral which is important for the maturation of the gonads and for the proper functioning of the immune system and prostate. It is also a constituent of several enzymes and intervenes in the proper functioning of taste and smell;

Copper : involved in various cellular reactions and part of some important proteins, it is also a molecule with oxidoreductive activity. It is also a fundamental mineral for the formation of erythrocytes and for the well-being of our bones.

Manganese : essential mineral for the growth of bones and joints, the synthesis of collagen and the proper functioning of the metabolism; Iron : macronutrient belonging to two fundamental proteins for the transport of oxygen: hemoglobin and myoglobin;

Riboflavin : riboflavin (or vitamin B2) is fundamental for the metabolism and the correct functioning of energy processes;

Vitamin B6 : another water-soluble vitamin whose deficiency is linked to dysfunction of the nervous system. It is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin (or good mood hormone) and is therefore useful even in the case of depressive disorders;

Pantothenic acid : also known as vitamin B5 is a fundamental component of coenzyme A, a molecule involved in the metabolism of nutrients, and of a protein responsible for the formation of fatty acids;

Folic acid : chestnuts are a good source of this element, which is essential for normal cell function and tissue growth. It is also essential in pregnancy for the correct development of the fetus and to avoid serious pathologies such as spina bifida. It is also useful in reducing physical and mental fatigue; Vitamin E : powerful antioxidant, it protects cells from environmental toxins and the action of free radicals.

Chestnuts: health benefits.

The properties of chestnuts beneficial for our health are different and all deriving from the antioxidant activity exerted by the micronutrients they contain. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of these fruits.

✓ Anti-inflammatory properties of chestnuts

Chestnuts have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the presence of phenolic acids, known for their powerful antioxidant action and for their ability to prevent a condition of oxidative stress . Several studies have tried to evaluate the polyphenol content present in this fruit, concluding in all cases that chestnuts contain a high amount of phenolic acids and in particular the aforementioned gallic and ellagic acid, flavonoids (quercitin, rutin and apigenin) and of tannins.

✓ Benefits of chestnuts on the skin

Thanks to the antioxidant content , chestnut extract could be useful in improving hydration and damage to the skin caused by exposure to UV rays. Relatively few studies have evaluated this effect of chestnuts and further research will be needed in this regard.

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