The health benefits of chestnuts

Low in fat and high in fibre, chestnuts are a healthy ingredient to cook with during the festive season. Find out which vitamins and minerals these nuts contain.

Roast chestnuts on a table

Whether you enjoy them roasted on an open fire, sprinkled over sprouts or stirred into a stuffing mixture, chestnuts add plenty of texture, flavour and goodness to any dish. Read on to discover why they're so good for you...

What are chestnuts and when are they in season?

Chestnuts, or sweet chestnuts, are an edible nut that comes from the same family as the beech tree. They grow in a green, spiky shells which when peeled reveals the nut, and they are typically in season in the UK from October to December, but you may see this extended from September to January.

Chestnuts are not to be confused with conkers that come from the Horse Chestnut tree as these are inedible, or water chestnuts that can be found in Asian cuisines.

Nutritional profile of chestnuts

100g of chestnuts provides just 149 calories and, unlike other nuts, they are higher in carbohydrates containing 28g per 100g. They are also lower in protein and fat than other nuts with just 1.9g and 2.2g respectively, but nearly all the fat in chestnuts is a ‘good fat’ or unsaturated fat. They are also a good source of fibre with 5.1g per 100g, which is important for the health of our digestive system.

A pan full of roasted chestnuts

Other nutrients found in chestnuts include calcium which helps build strong bones and teeth as well as making sure our blood clots properly, iron which is important for making new red blood cells, and zinc which helps to make new cells, digest the carbs, protein and fast from our food as well as wound healing.

Chestnuts also contain all the B vitamins which are needed to help release energy from food, and vitamin E which helps to look after the health of our eyes and skin and support our immune system.

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...

The health benefits of walnuts
The health benefits of cinnamon
The health benefits of oranges


This page was published on 7th November 2018.

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 urbanwellness.co.uk.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com 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.

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Be the first to comment...We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe. Did you like it? Would you recommend others give it a try?
Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.