History of chestnut
The chestnut tree was probably native to the temperate zones of Asia Minor and Europe. It was also found in France, in the Dordogne and the Ardèche, in archaeological sites of the Ice Age.
The chestnut has long been an important food source for the populations of regions as diverse as the Armorican Massif located in Brittany, the Massif Central, Corsica, Portugal and northern Italy.
In the countryside, the chestnut frequently replaced cereals: it also called the chestnut “bread tree”. At the end of the nineteenth century began the slow decline of chestnut with the rural exodus and the onset of serious diseases in farms. Today, the consumption of fresh chestnuts is mostly infrequent and seasonal. Chestnut increased the food “basic” status to food “heart stroke”.
The benefits of chestnut for the health
The chestnut is an alkene, in other words a dried fruit along with hazelnut or buckwheat. As is done for products to make flour, bread or mashed potatoes, the chestnut has often been classified in the category of potatoes and tubers. We often forget the nutritional value of this fruit husk.
The chestnut is certainly different from other oilseeds by its high content of carbohydrates, since chestnut contains approximately 35% of it – almost double the content of walnuts or almonds. However, rest assured, carbohydrates are mainly chestnut starch compounds associated with a small amount of sucrose, all with very moderate glycemic index, which makes it a food of choice for athletes or for all gourmets who wish to monitor their weight.
Moreover, the chestnut is free of gluten, making it an ideal meal for people with celiac disease: however watch out not to try to make a 100% chestnut bread –it will be too difficult to eat! Plan rather a maximum ratio of 1/3 of chestnut flour in your recipes.
Where the chestnut is also distinguished from other nuts is that chestnut contains much less fat than its counterparts, with only around 2% of fatty acids, with most of them unsaturated1.
This allows to recognize it as alkene, it is primarily because the proteins that compose it are complete (between 3 and 3.5%). In other words, the chestnut contains both lysine, which is lacking in cereals, and methionine, which is lacking in legumes (excluding soybeans). One more reason to put chestnuts in your menu!
And if, finally, chestnut is interesting from a nutritional standpoint, it’s also because of its high fiber content (over 5%), manganese and potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that acts together with sodium to maintain acid-base balance of the body. However, very often, this balance is not assured because people consume far more sodium than potassium, leading – among other things – to blood pressure problems and bone loss.
The chestnut milk for its minerals
In trade, the chestnut milk is usually sold in the form of powder that then is simply mixed with water. But like nut milk, you can also prepare your chestnut milk yourself.
Like in the hazelnut milk, chestnut milk is highly digestible and develops few allergies for people who drink it.
Chestnut milk benefits for the body
Nutritionists say that chestnut milk is alkalizing. But what does it mean?
The opposite of alkalinity is acidity. An alkalizing food will have the effect of reducing the acidic pH of your body. That is why chestnut milk is particularly recommended for people suffering from gastric acidity.
Chestnut milk can also replace cow milk for children with digestive problems. Naturally sweet, chestnut milk is very appreciated. But one of the main reasons why chestnut milk is especially good is its richness in minerals and calcium.
Thus, chestnut milk is sometimes recommended for people with osteoporosis, to solidify their bone structure. Rich in carbohydrates, the chestnut milk is recommended for breakfast to start the day.
Low in fat, chestnut milk is particularly popular with dieters. The plant milks are a very good alternative to cow’s milk, sheep milk and milk from other animals. With multiple benefits, chestnut milk is particularly popular for vegans and lactose intolerant people.
- Ros, E. (2010). Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients, 2(7), 652–682. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu2070652