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“Is that you singing my favorite Nat King Cole Christmas song LJ?” “None other babe. This song made me think of a nutritional question that I have for you.” “Ok, what is it?” “What exactly are chestnuts, and why should we roast them on an open fire? And, are they good for you, or do I have to give those up too?” “Well, LJ, you’ll be happy to know that this time of year, from October to March, is when chestnuts are in season, hence their popularity around the holidays. There are four species of Chestnuts trees found in the Northern forests of China, Japan, North America and Europe. There was a time in our country when the trees were nearly wiped out by a fungus, but there is a movement now to save and bring them back. The nut from the tree is larger than an average size nut and has a sweet, rich flavor. You’ll be happy to know that these nuts are low in fat and calories, but high in starch, which makes it nutritionally comparable to sweet potatoes, sweet corn, plantains, and potatoes.
They are high in fiber, which you know helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Chestnuts are also high in vitamin C and the B’s, as well as the minerals, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. One of their unique features is that they are a good source of folates, like the type you find in green leafy vegetables, which means that you don’t have to give them up, especially since they are also gluten-free. As for roasting them on an open fire, that method was used in ancient times to help reduce the bitter flavor of all nuts in general. Roasting them today takes a bit of doing. I’ve seen instructions that say to make a small incision and use a grilling basket so that as they heat up, they don’t explode. They take about 25 minutes to roast, the shell will be black, but the nut inside will be tender and delicious. So do you want to roast some chestnuts?” LJ thoughtfully paused and…
The Food-as-Medicine philosophy is based on the belief that whole food is a traditional remedy with the therapeutic power to improve and maintain one’s health. The philosophy has been around for hundreds of years.Read More