Chestnuts are an edible fruit from trees that are in the same family as the beech tree. They grow in green, spiky shells that reveal the fruit when peeled. Botanically, most nuts are the seeds of a fruit, while true nuts – chestnuts, acorns and hazelnuts – are fruits in themselves.
They are typically in season in the UK from October to December. In contrast to other tree nuts, chestnuts have a low-oil and high-water content, hence their unique, soft texture.


The health benefits of chestnuts include:

  • Good source of antioxidants
  • May support the heart
  • High in fibre
  • May improve blood sugar management
  • May help weight management

Discover our full range of health benefit guides or check out some of our best chestnut recipes, from our squash steaks with chestnut cavolo nero pilaf to venison sausage & chestnut casserole.

Top 5 health benefits of chestnuts

Nutritional profile of chestnuts

A 100g serving of chestnuts (raw) provides:
• 170kcal / 719kj
• 2.0g protein
• 2.7g fat
• 36.6g carbohydrate
• 7.0g sugar
• 500mg potassium
• 5.5g fibre

Are chestnuts good for you?

1. Good source of antioxidants

Chestnuts contain a number of protective antioxidants, including vitamin C and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, plus various plant compounds including the polyphenols, gallic acid and tannins. These protect cells from the damage caused by a process called oxidation, and in this way may help protect against chronic disease.

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2. May support the heart

Chestnuts are a useful source of potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure. Being a source of polyphenols including gallic and ellagic acid, chestnuts may protect the heart from oxidative damage.

3. High in fibre

Chestnuts are a useful source of fibre, which supports digestive function. The fibre also acts as a prebiotic, fuelling the bacteria that live in the gut and in turn helping maintain a healthy gut environment.

4. May improve blood sugar management

Although chestnuts provide more carbohydrates than other nuts, the additional fibre they contain helps regulate its release. In addition to this the protective antioxidants gallic and ellagic acid, appear to improve our cells' response to the blood-sugar hormone, insulin, which makes overall blood sugar control more effective.

5. May help weight management

High in fibre, chestnuts may help curb your appetite, an extra bonus is that they are lower in fat and calories than other nuts. Animal studies suggest the addition of chestnut to the diet may reduce the accumulation of belly fat. However, although the evidence looks promising, further research is needed to fully understand the implications for weight management.

Are chestnuts safe for everyone?

Chestnuts are in a different botanical category to the eight tree nuts that pose a common allergy risk. That said, some people may be allergic to chestnuts despite safely tolerating both peanuts and tree nuts.

Raw chestnuts are safe for most people to eat, but because they contain tannins, they may cause digestive disturbance and nausea in some individuals.

Overall, are chestnuts good for you?

Chestnuts are a good source of protective antioxidants, even after cooking, they also contribute useful amounts of fibre. For these reasons, they may help improve heart health and support blood sugar and weight management.

Being a source of carbohydrate and naturally gluten free, ground chestnuts make a ‘flour’ alternative for those with coeliac or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.

Healthy chestnut recipes

Sprouts with chestnuts & crisp pancetta
Mushroom & chestnut rotolo
Roast parsnip & chestnut salad
Sweet potato & chestnut roast with tangy tomato sauce
Butternut, chestnut & lentil cake
Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & chestnuts

Enjoyed this? Now read:

Top health benefits of walnuts
The health benefits of cinnamon
The health benefits of oranges
Top health benefits of cranberries
Top healthiest nuts

This article was last reviewed on 9 October 2023 by Kerry Torrens.

Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at


All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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