The health benefits of chestnuts — a Tuscan specialty — are more varied than you might think

October 25, 2018

Our new Wellness tours offer the perfect balance of awe-inspiring destinations, rejuvenating activities, and healthy food experiences, helping you return home feeling even better than when you left. Each of our Wellness tours covers three important pillars: Mindfulness, Movement, and Nourishment. In this new blog series, we want to shed a little more light on exactly what this will look like once you embark on your tour. Here, a look at the nourishment of Italy’s famous chestnuts.

Autumn is, arguably, the year’s most beautiful season. The air becomes crisp and clean; leaves change colour to a brilliant palette of oranges, reds and golds; farmers harvest their bountiful crops. In Northern Italy, one of those crops is the chestnut, the hearty nut that becomes ripe in the fall and winter.

Often candied or incorporated into baked goods, chestnuts are a popular food around Christmastime, when they are often roasted and eaten whole, out of their shells (the famous lyric, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” isn’t just a metaphor). But make no mistake: while the naturally sweet nut is perfect for decadent desserts and seasonal treats, on its own, it’s also highly nutritious.

Unlike most tree nuts, the chestnut is neither high in fats nor calories; however, they are still a rich source of dietary fibre, which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Chestnuts also have plenty of Vitamin C, plus folic acid, which is ordinarily found in green, leafy vegetables and is heart-healthy and helps promote healthy bones.

Chestnuts are quite starchy, and are a good source of potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. They also have a high percentage of vitamin B-6, thiamin, and riboflavin.

On top of all that, they’re easy to prepare! Simply boil them in their shells, or make a small incision in the shells and roast them in the oven until the skins peel back. They can be eaten with salt, or on their own.

But, of course, to get the best chestnuts the planet has to offer, we suggest Tuscany — where chestnuts are not only in abundance, but they’re world-famous. Check out our Wellness Italy tour here.

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