ALL KNOWN AND UKNOWN HEALTH BENEFITS OF THIS AMAZING BROWN NUT
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…Help to make the season bright.”
The roasted chestnuts, the golden-brown colors of the Nature that is welcoming Autumn and the piano music from the background, that is how I see my perfect setting in October that is wildly kissing November. The chestnut itself has always been my favorite tree, the tall, proud and beautiful. When I think of my childhood, I recall memories on collecting wild chestnut in our yard and decorating the jar. That picture of dark brown nut resting on my window, has touched all those cute childish days, it was the synonym of pure happiness, endless hope and life that is renewing itself, no matter what.
What is so unique about chestnut? I would say, everything. There are many interesting facts about this fruit of the Castanea species. It is very well known in Asia but somehow, we know it from Mediterranean cuisine and in popular use as roasted, boiled or dried. Only some of us have tried also the delicious Chestnut beer, that is produced in France (Corse specialty), but also in Central Europe and Brazil. According to some news, American brewery started to produce this tasty beer too and showing the real nature of our wonderful chestnut, that is famous for being an active source of vitamins and minerals (manganese, molybdenum, cooper and magnesium)
The chestnut tree is mysterious and secretive in many cultures, especially for Christmas time that symbolizes chastity. The oldest one of One Hundred Horses chestnut tree is on Mount Etna in Sicily (Sant’Alfio), estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old and 190 feet. The legend tells us that the queen of Aragon and her one hundred knights found shelter under this tree, when there was a terrible storm.
When we think about all health benefits of chestnut, it is more than enough reason to put it in daily nutrition. Why the chestnut is so important for our health? There are many advantages, but I would accent just some of them, they are crucial for our time and immune system challenges. The consumption of chestnut will help in stabilization of blood sugar but also do a great job in reducing of cholesterol and possible intestinal complications. With the high amount of carbohydrates, this dried fruit provides us with short- and long-term energy, optimize the nervous network functions and thanks to the fat-soluble B vitamins, gives us the great skin, active red blood cells and even more active brain work. Then, there is a manganese, famous mineral for its fighting role against dangerous free radicals. If you are supplied with enough support, your body will successfully reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, blood clotting and general inflammation process. Since our chestnut doesn’t contain gluten, it is ideal for patients with celiac disease. According to some available research, signed by dietitians, the chestnut is differentia specifica :” However, in comparison to nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc), they have a low fat content. Chestnuts have certain nutritional characteristics similar to those of cereals. Even though they do not contain gluten, they do have a high content of sugars, especially starch. Chestnuts are rich in fiber, as well as mineral salts such as potassium, phosphorus, and small quantities of iron. Lastly, they contain vitamins B2 and E. It is important to remember that the energy and nutritional characteristics of chestnuts are different from that of the remaining group of fresh fruits.”
I find amazing the fact that chestnut has been the part of human tradition and cultivation for years. It is true that you need minimum 15 years for one chestnut tree to be ready with its yield but only after 50 years, the fruit could be eatable and useful. In many cultures, the chestnut is linked to the prosperity but also very sensible on the local conditions and risks. For example, the ink disease is very dangerous for chestnut trees colony. This illness is caused by Phytophthora cambivora and Phytophthora Cinnamomi and back in 1842, this pest killed chestnut trees in Portugal and France, with no mercy, after 2-3 years.
There are four main species of chestnut, known as European, Chinese, Japanese and American chestnuts. The American chestnut tress are usually up to 60 m high (200 feet) while Japanese and Chinese are up to 15 m. The European is medium high, 35 m. (115 feet). The problem with American chestnut is that it was pretty much destroyed in the first half of 20th century. The historical and botanical reports come out with dark statistics, that almost 4 billion of American chestnut trees have been killed by fungal disease. The rest is not numerous but remarkable and grandiose. This is just one more reminder that something should be done, in order to prevent different kind of parasites to ruin this authentic and majestic species.
It belongs to the same family as oak and it is famous for wood quality and resistance. The chestnut used for floor production is often described as highly qualitative silent floor, with not making any noise. As only nut with vitamin C, it is also very popular among people in food industry, as raw, baked, boiled or roasted. However we process chestnut, it is delicious and unforgettable taste of the golden fall and brings us cute memories on awesome bread, cakes, pies or soups and sauces.
The name chestnut is actually originated from the English word chesten nut but actually derivates from the old French term chastian (chataigne) which is related to the Ancient Latin and also scientific name of the tree. The Greek word is sweet chestnut or κάστανον.
The each culture has adapted the chestnut to the local customs and expectations, not only for tasteful cuisine ideas but also for exciting festivals and ceremonies like it is Kalorama , in Melbourne (Australia) that is grounded on chestnut adoration.
The chestnut depends mainly on wind pollination but there are also information that bees that pollinate chestnut trees are those that give the best honey. The wonderful profile of this trees opens the door of some better world, where granny cookies and chestnut pies make us protected from all evil things.
Do not forget that December, 14th is a Roast Chestnut Day. Maybe it is not accidentally that I was born on this day and that the chestnut is my favorite tree on the Planet. Some things are little miracles and the heart that believes in miracles is a magnet for real and timeless happiness.