What are chestnuts?

Chestnuts are an edible nut from trees are are in the same family as the beech tree. They grow in green, spiky shells that reveal the nut when peeled. They are typically in season in the UK from October to December. In contrast to other nuts, chestnuts have a low-oil and high-water content, hence their unique, soft texture.


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.

Nutritional benefits 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

Top 5 health benefits of chestnuts

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 polyphenols such as gallic acid and tannins. These nutrients and plant compounds protect cells from damage and may help protect against chronic disease.

2. May support the heart

Being a source of polyphenols like gallic and ellagic acid, chestnuts may help protect the heart from oxidative stress. Chestnuts are also a good source of potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure.

3. High in fibre

Chestnuts are a great source of fibre, which supports digestive function. The fibre also acts as a prebiotic, fuelling the gut bacteria and in turn helping maintain a healthy gut and 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. The antioxidants chestnuts contain, like gallic and ellagic acid, appear to improve our cells' response to insulin, which makes overall blood sugar control more effective.

5. May help weight management

High in fibre, chestnuts may help curb your appetite in comparison with other nuts. They are also lower in fat and calories. Furthermore, promising animal studies suggest the addition of chestnut to the diet may reduce the accumulation of belly fat.

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.

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 article was last reviewed on 31 August 2021 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 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

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post