Chestnuts, or Castanea, are a group of approximately eight or nine trees and shrubs that belong to the same family as oak and beech trees. These chestnut trees produce an edible nut, commonly referred to as the chestnut, which is consumed around the world. Chestnuts are a starchy type of nut, which departs them from the norm for culinary nuts in that they have very little protein or fats and their calories coming chiefly from carbohydrates. They are rich in antioxidants, Manganese, vitamin C and several B vitamins including thiamine, vitamin B6, riboflavin and folate. Chestnuts are related to the holiday season and they are warm, sweet and nourishing in their nature. It is best to consume them in the winter, which is the season for strengthening your body since your body responds better to building tonics throughout the winter. Chestnuts nourish the kidneys and improve digestion, They are astringent, which can help tone the bowels, but in excess can also cause constipation.
Chestnuts are high in fiber and when you eat fiber, it moves through your body undigested. This can help add bulk to stool and ease its passage through the body to fight off constipation. Dietary fiber resists digestion as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract, which aids in the movement of foods through your digestive tract. Fiber can also promote satiety, stabilize blood sugar and help nourish the beneficial bacteria found in your gut.
Interestingly enough, certain types of chestnuts have actually been shown to have a protective effect on the heart. This is partially because chestnuts contain antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Chestnuts also contain potassium, an important mineral that could decrease some of the risk factors associated with heart disease.
Taste: Sweet, Astringent
Natural Attributes: Slightly oily, Heavy
Dosha impact: Kapha 0, Pitta +, Vata 0
Tissue impact (Vipak): Nourishing
Thermal impact (Virya): Heating
Digestive impact (Agni): Relatively hard to digest
Channels (Srotas): Blocks
Strength (Bala): Improves strength and immunity
Sturdiness (Ojas): +
Occasion: Fall, Winter
Nutrient: Antioxidants, Manganese
Chinese medicine syndromes: Kidney Yang Deficiency
- Nourishment (rasa): Weight gain, Nutritive
- Vital essence and strength: Builds stamina
- Digestive system: Digestive, Laxative
Harmful for: May cause distension and flatulence