What you need to know: Chestnuts are more just tasty harbingers of the holidays – these nuts also low in fat, high in fiber and healthy starches, and packed with key vitamins. Their high starch content makes them an excellent source of fuel, especially for energizing the body before a long work out. Plus, chestnuts are one of the only nuts with high levels of vitamin C, which is essential for immunity, building collagen (goodbye, wrinkles!) and strengthening veins. Additional research is discovering that vitamin C is helpful in preventing asthma, protecting against cancer and supporting healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Why you should try it: Chestnuts are an easy way to get your daily dose of fiber and vitamin E. Containing a significant source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, chestnuts can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk for colon cancer while normalizing bowels. Boosting fiber-rich foods is beneficial for weight loss as well since they keep you feeling fuller for longer. Eating a handful of chestnuts daily will also protect your cells. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which defends against damage from toxins, reducing the risk for heart disease and chronic diseases. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and a immune booster, offering pain relief and a year free of sick days.
Let’s get together: Chestnuts have a sweet and mild flavor which can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, from soups and salads to appetizers and grain dishes. To start, try this Farro Recipe with Leeks, Mushrooms and Chestnuts, or this Simple Chickpea Chestnut Winter Stew from celebrity chef Suzanne Tracht. When choosing a chestnut, check for any sign of mold, and purchase those that are plump, shiny and a dark, rich color. Interestingly, chestnuts are perishable too and must be treated similarly to fruits and vegetables. Always keep them in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.