WHAT ARE CHESTNUTS?
Chestnuts are edible nuts produced by the trees and shrubs of the Castanea genus, which are commonly found throughout the northern hemisphere. While there are a number of different species of chestnuts, most of them possess similar qualities and nutritional profiles. They should not be confused with horse chestnuts, which are quite different. There are a number of different ways in which chestnut tree is used for health benefits, although the fruit of the tree (the chestnut itself) is arguably the most popular.Chestnuts have been a valued food source in many cultures, notably those of China, Korea, Japan and the Mediterranean, and have been cultivated for more than 6,000 years in China and 3,000 years in Europe, according to Richard Litz, author of the book “Biotechnology of Fruit and Nut Crops.” Greeks deemed the chestnut superior to almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts.Chestnuts have been grown by humans since about 2000 BCE and were carried by the armies of Alexander the Great as well as the later Roman armies. These armies planted chestnuts in their wake helping the European variety spread from its native Asia Minor to all over Europe. Chestnuts are a delicious treat, either roasted or cooked in soups or other recipes, and have considerable nutritional value.Roasting chestnut is particularly popular, but chestnuts are also commonly candied, boiled, pureed, ground into flour for bread making, grilled, steamed, and deep-fried, among many other preparations. They are enjoyed across the world for their unique flavor and praised for their wealth of important nutrients.Chestnuts provide high levels of dietary fiber, minerals, ‘good’ fats, vitamins, nutrients, antioxidant compounds and other important components that make up a healthy diet.When u see health benefits of chestnuts u will be surprised here are some health benefits;
Many people are unaware of the significant role that dietary fiber can play in the regulation, prevention, and management of diabetes. Foods that are high in dietary fiber, like chestnuts, are considered a low glycemic food, which means that they cause blood sugar to rise more slowly. This helps to prevent the spikes and drops in blood sugar that can be dangerous for diabetic patients, and are often precursors to the development of diabetes in those currently unaffected.
Increase Bone Mineral Density
Copper and magnesium aren’t the first things that one thinks of when it comes to bone health, but copper is extremely important in the process by which the body absorbs iron, which is also crucial for bone growth and development. Magnesium is also very good for increasing bone mineral density, along with a wide variety of other health benefits. With these vital minerals that are found in chestnuts, you can prevent or slow the onset of many age-related disorders, such as osteoporosis.
Control Blood Pressure
When it comes to lowering blood pressure, few minerals are as essential as potassium. Potassium controls water movement within the body, and also functions as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow and releasing the tension on constricted blood vessels and arteries. This reduction in blood pressure can boost overall cardiovascular health and lessen your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Improve Heart Health
Many people think of fats as a bad thing to be burned off during a diet, but in fact, our body needs a number of other fats to function normally. These good fats, found in high concentrations in chestnuts, help to balance your cholesterol, reduce inflammation throughout the body, and lower the risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots building up in the body. This lowers your risk of stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart diseases to a greater extent.
Roasted chestnuts commonly spark thoughts of the holiday season and sitting by an open fire. These tree nuts are more than just the topic of song lyrics. Chestnuts are lower in fat than similar nuts such as pecans and walnuts — good news if you have been advised by your doctor to watch your intake.
Chestnut trees are excellent additions to wildlife and butterfly gardens. They provide nutritious food for a number of birds and small mammals as well as a number of different types of butterflies and moths.
Chestnut trees are very slow growing. They take 15 years to bear fruit and it can be 50 years before they bear significant fruit. They also do not bear fruit well alone and several must be grown in close proximity to one another for optimal fruit production. Chestnut tree in the picture is over 500 years old.Chestnut trees enjoy well-drained soil and do well on hillsides and mountainsides.
Buttered sprouts with chestnuts
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then tip in the sprouts. Once back to the boil, cook for 5 mins. Drain, run under the cold tap until cold, then drain again.
- Heat a large frying pan, add the bacon and gently fry for 10 mins until crisp and golden. Tip out of the pan, leaving the fat behind, then add the chestnuts and fry over a high heat for about 5 mins until tinged. Tip out of the pan.
- Add the sprouts to the pan with a splash of water, then cover and finish cooking over a medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring now and again, until just tender. Uncover, turn up the heat, then add most of the butter and sauté the sprouts for 2 mins more. Tip in the bacon and chestnuts, season generously with salt and pepper, then serve with the last knob of butter on top.