Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, chestnuts help keep blood sugar levels under control
The 9 fruits with a low glycemic index
Autumn brings with it the season of chestnuts, a delicious food rich in nutritional properties that are beneficial for our health. They were once particularly appreciated for the flour they produced, used in a wide variety of preparations. Today it is preferred to consume it as a fruit: under the hard brown rind, there is in fact a soft and extremely nutritious pulp.
Chestnuts are quite caloric, so it's good not to overdo the portions. However, small quantities already bring important nutrients that guarantee the proper functioning of our body and allow to solve many small health problems. For example, they are an excellent source of vitamin C, which plays a fundamental role in strengthening the immune system.
With cooking, part of their vitamin C content is lost: a study published in Food Chemistry has however shown that a portion of boiled or roasted chestnuts can contribute 15-25% (based on the variety taken into consideration) in relation the recommended daily allowance of this important vitamin. It has also been shown that cooking chestnuts at lower temperatures helps to preserve its nutritional properties.
The high amount of antioxidants and mineral salts also brings many benefits to the heart: potassium and magnesium are very useful for reducing blood pressure and protecting against the risk of heart disease. Phytosterols, on the other hand, help to decrease blood cholesterol levels, one of the main risk factors for diseases such as stroke and heart attack. Among the antioxidants, ellegic acid and gallic acid also stand out, which have a neuroprotective action and slow the decline of cognitive functions.
Chestnuts are rich in fiber, essential for feeding the bacterial flora and for the health of the gastrointestinal system. In fact, these substances have many properties: they increase the sense of satiety, thus helping us to reduce the portions of food and stay in shape, they promote digestion and reduce the absorption of sugar and fat in the blood.
As a food with a low glycemic index, chestnuts play a protective role against metabolic disorders, especially diabetes. Fiber, precisely because it ensures that our body absorbs sugars more slowly, helps to avoid dangerous glycemic peaks.
An experiment conducted on guinea pigs, the results of which have been published in Biomedicines, has shown how a diet that includes chestnuts helps reduce abdominal adiposity. Although more evidence is needed, the scientific evidence looks promising.