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Health Matters

They are eaten warm and are really very good, even nutritionally!

Inês Machado . 13/11/2016

Besides being delicious, chestnuts are a fruit with high nutritional value and quite interesting biochemical characteristics and therefore should not be underestimated.

Their calorific value is of approximately 200kcal per each 100g (higher than the values for potatoes) and they are composed of 40% carbohydrates, 3% proteins and 2% lipids [1].

Carbohydrates in a chestnut are, mostly, polysaccharides (such as starch), which have the advantage of being of slow absorption, preventing a rapid rise in blood glucose [1]. Nevertheless, it is important to note that diabetics should not consume too much of this fruit.

Chestnuts are also an excellent font of fibre, which, besides being essential for the regular functioning of our digestive system, also increases gastric content volume and delays gastric emptying, providing a longer feeling of satiety. Given this, a small portion of chestnuts is enough to make you feel satisfied.

Despite not having a high protein content, chestnuts have the advantage of being gluten-free [2]. Hence, they are a good option for celiac patients – persons with a higher genetic predisposition to an allergic reaction to gluten, namely intestinal manifestations.

As for fat content, within this type of fruits, chestnut is the one with the lowest fat content, besides being cholesterol- free and rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which play an important role in several physiological processes and help decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases [3].

Amongst minerals and vitamins found in chestnuts, the following stand out: potassium, very important for the proper functioning of cells, nerves and muscles; iron, fundamental for the haemoglobin synthesis (oxygen carrier for the entire body); Vitamin C and Complex B Vitamins [4].

Considering current growing concerns with healthy eating, namely food composition and its effects on human health, it is important to clarify that chestnut is a fruit with interesting nutritional characteristics and beneficial effects on human health, which may and should be an integral part of our diet, provided that in moderate amounts.


[1] Souci, S.W., Fachmann, W. and Kraut, H. 1994. Food Composition and Nutrition Tables. 5th edition.

Medpharme Scientific Publishers: Stuttgart.

[2] Vasconcelos, M.C.; Bennett, R.N.; Rosa, E.A. and Ferreira Cardoso, J.V. 2007. Primary and

secondary metabolite composition of kernels from three cultivars of Portuguese

chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) at different stages of industrial transformation J. Agric.

Food Chem. 55: 3508‐3516.

[3] Borges, O., Gonçalves, B., Soeiro de Carvalho, J.L., Correia, P., Silva, A.P. 2008. Nutritional

composition of chestnut cultivars from Portugal. Food Chemistry 106: 976‐984.

[4] ANA PAULA SILVA (Scientific Coordinator). Several Authors. 2008. Castanha – Um Fruto Saudável.

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