Ask Mira : Eating Right to Live Happy & Healthy

It is winter, it is Christmas time, and chestnuts or ‘kastana’ in Arabic, are one of my favorite winter treats. It reminds me of Christmas and celebrations and family gatherings.

A lot of people ask me about how fattening chestnuts are. Well, good news everyone. Chestnuts are relatively low in calories compared to other seeds and nuts that are high in calories, protein, and fat.

One handful of chestnuts or about 30 grams (4 pieces) contain 80 calories mostly from carbohydrates.It is also a sodium-free food, rich in folate, high in dietary fiber and has no cholesterol or trans fat.

Kastanas are a good source of dietary fiber (they provide 8 grams per 100g which is a high fiber content). A fiber diet helps lower blood cholesterol levels by limiting excess cholesterol absorption in the intestines.

Chestnuts also contain unsaturated fatty acids and are part of the Mediterranean Diet which is rich in dietary-fiber, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. This diet prevents coronary artery diseases and strokes by favoring a healthy blood lipid profile.

Additionally, chestnuts are rich in folates, which is a quite unique feature for nuts and seeds. Adequate consumption of food rich in folates during the preconception period prevents neural tube defects in the fetus. So kastana are excellent for pregnant women as well.

Moreover, this tasty health-friendly nut is extremely high in potassium which helps in flushing the extra sodium content out of our system, thereby lowering heart rate and blood pressure. They also contain a good amount of magnesium and phosphorus that are important components of bone metabolism.

I just simply love Kastana in winter and especially during Christmas. Roasting them is really my preferred method of cooking, but you can also boil, steam or grill them. Once you are done with the cooking part, there are several ways to enjoy them.
You can dip them in cream cheese or some yogurt sauce. Some people enjoy eating chestnuts with melted dark chocolate as a dessert. It is so delicious.

No matter what your favorite choice of dip might be, enjoy these healthy winter nuts.

Meanwhile, stay healthy, stay fit, and a Merry Christmas to everyone.

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