By Jill Nowak, RD, CDE, clinical dietitian at CHOC Children’s
It’s that time of year we sing about “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” But, did you know that this delicious chestnut is packed with numerous health benefits? They are moderately lower in calories and contain less fat than other nuts and seeds. A 1 ounce serving provides 69 calories and 0.6g fat. Sounds like the perfect snack this holiday season!
Chestnuts are the edible seeds of the chestnut tree. The sweet, starchy seeds sit inside a prickly outer shell called the burr, which splits open as they ripen. Chestnuts are in season and available in markets from October through March. Fresh chestnuts are often displayed and sold in the fresh produce section. You can also buy chestnuts dried, vacuum-packed, or canned. To verify freshness look for creamy white seeds. Avoid a greenish, mold-like appearance. When preparing fresh chestnuts, they must be peeled and cooked before consuming.
Add cooked, peeled chestnuts to stuffing, rice or savory pie filling. Incorporate cooked chestnuts into soups, stews, casseroles, or vegetable dishes. Or add pureed chestnuts to mashed potatoes.
Here are additional health benefits from chestnuts:
- Chestnuts are rich in vitamin C. They are the only nuts that contain this vitamin. They also contain B-vitamins and folate.
- Chestnuts contain a rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFAs). MUFAs are part of a healthy diet and help to improve our lipid blood profile by reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- Chestnuts are a good source of potassium, which helps in lowering blood pressure. In addition, they are good sources of copper, manganese, and selenium, which are all important components in the body’s antioxidant and anti-flammatory responses to harmful free radicals.
Wild Rice with Water Chestnuts and Mushrooms
1 1⁄3 cup wild blend brown rice
2 2⁄3 cup 99% fat free chicken broth
1 8oz can water chestnuts (drained)
1 can (8 oz dry weight) mushroom pieces and stems (drained)
1 tbsp butter
Cook rice in chicken broth – bring to a boil then simmer, covered for 45 minutes. Sauté water chestnuts and mushrooms in butter. When rice is done, add together and stir well.
Servings per Recipe: 5, Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 202, Total Fat: 3.9 g, Total Carbs: 41.9 g, Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g, Protein: 5.8 g