Chestnuts are not often the first nuts you think of when you want some to snack on, but once you are aware of the nutritional benefits they offer, you may think again. A report from the University of Missouri states that chestnuts contain loads of fiber, healthy fat and have a low glycemic index. Part of their nutritional benefits package includes several necessary vitamins.
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Chestnuts contain several B vitamins that are necessary for metabolism, growth, energy and the formation of new red blood cells. One cup of roasted chestnuts offers 0.7 mg of vitamin B-6, and while that may not sound like a lot, it is actually 36 percent of the recommended daily value set by the Food and Drug Administration. Other B vitamins in chestnuts include folate, thiamine or B-1, riboflavin or B-2, niacin or B-3 and pantothenic acid. B vitamins are found in other high protein foods such as meat, eggs and dairy, but if you are a vegetarian you may want to add chestnuts to your diet to help ensure you are getting an adequate intake, a common concern for vegetarians and vegans.
Antioxidants help protect the body from cellular damage caused by free radical molecules. A free radical is an unstable molecule that can damage healthy cells, which can eventually lead to cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. These antioxidant vitamins include vitamins A, C and E, all of which can be found in chestnuts. The vitamin C content in a 1-cup serving is a whopping 37.2 mg, or 62 percent of the recommended daily value. The vitamin A and E content is much lower, with vitamin E weighing in at 0.7 mg, or 4 percent of the RDV and vitamin A at 34.3 IU or 1 percent of the RDV. Antioxidant vitamins work together to support overall health. The American Heart Association recommends eating food sources of antioxidant vitamins, such as nuts, to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin K is a forgotten vitamin, not thought of unless you develop an issue with blood clotting. Along with helping the blood clot, vitamin K is needed by the body to produce proteins that make the bones and tissues strong. Chestnuts contain 11.2 mcg of vitamin K, or just under 10 percent of the RDV. While vitamin K is necessary for certain bodily functions, if you are on medications that help thin the blood you need to monitor how much vitamin K you consume in foods, according to a report from the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health. A sudden increase in the consumption of vitamin K can interfere with the blood thinner's ability to work properly.
If you avoid eating nuts because of their high fat and calorie content, you may want to consider eating chestnuts. Compared to other popular snack nuts, chestnuts are low in fat and calories. One cup of roasted cashews contains 786 calories and 63.5 g of total fat, but the same serving size of roasted chestnuts contains 350 calories and only 3.15 g of total fat.