The Nutrient-Rich Alkalizing Nut That’s In Season For The Holidays
Nuts are delicious, natural, and convenient, but most varieties are acidifying. While acidifying foods are not off-limits in the Save Our Bones Program, it’s a bonus to find a nut that’s both rich in bone-healthy nutrients and alkalizing.
Chestnuts, which are in season now, might rank high on your list of holiday foods. But they do not have to be relegated to the holidays only. With no less than 8 Foundation Supplements, chestnuts have a place in a bone-healthy diet. And in case you’re not sure how to select or prepare them, today we’ll discuss some practical ideas and ways to enjoy this unique nut.
The Nutritional Profile of the Chestnut
I have mentioned in previous posts how fascinating it is that some of the humblest foods offer the most bone-building nutrition. The chestnut is no exception.
If you have a chestnut tree in your neighborhood, you are familiar with the mess that litters the yard and road when the nuts fall to the ground. But if people were more aware of how healthy this little nut is, they would be spreading sheets under the tree to catch the bounty!
Let’s take a look at what the chestnut can do for your bones, and which Foundation Supplements it offers.
Just How Alkalizing is the Chestnut?
While some other nuts such as almonds are alkalizing, chestnuts are the most alkalizing nut of all. This is due in part to their high water content – if you’ve ever eaten a chestnut, you know its texture is soft and chewy. When they’re roasted, the texture is more like a potato than a nut.
It’s this high percentage of water that makes chestnuts both low-fat and low-calorie. Amazingly, 1 cup of roasted chestnuts contains a mere 350 calories and 3.15 grams of fat. To compare, a cup of roasted cashews (acidifying) has 786 calories and 63.5 grams of fat, and a cup of roasted peanuts (also acidifying) has 73 grams of fat and 854 calories. That’s a big difference!
Eight Foundation Supplements in Chestnuts!
If you have the Save Our Bones Program, you are aware of the list of Foundation Supplements. These are nutrients that your bones crave in order to be strong, flexible, and fracture-resistant. Chestnuts have 8 of these crucial nutrients.
- B Vitamins: B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), and B6 (pyridoxine). These B vitamins are part of the “B complex” vitamins. They work synergistically to help metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and they enhance nerve and brain function.
- Folate is also a B vitamin, Vitamin B9, so it works with the other “Bs.” Folate also converts homocysteine, and amino acid, into other types of amino acids – an important role, considering high homocysteine levels are associated with increased hip fracture risk.1
- Pantothenic Acid is, once again, among the B vitamins (Vitamin B5). Pantothenic acid is a component of coenzyme A (CoA) that helps transport healthy fatty acids into cells.
- Vitamin C needs no introduction to Savers, who are well aware that Vitamin C is both a vitamin and antioxidant that is vital for strong bones and healthy immunity. Interestingly, Vitamin C also helps pantothenic acid transport fatty acids into cells for energy conversion.
- Vitamin K tends to be ignored by the Medical Establishment with regards to bone health, despite studies going all the way back to 1999 that show it decreases fracture risk.2 But Vitamin K is necessary for a process called carboxylation, which binds calcium to the bone matrix.
There’s no doubt that chestnuts can be enjoyed by anyone following the Save Our Bones Program. If you’ve never bought or prepared chestnuts, here’s information on…
How to Choose, Store, and Prepare Chestnuts
Whether you’re gathering chestnuts outdoors or buying them in the grocery store, the selection of good ones is the same. Look for firm, shiny nuts without pits or broken skin. Make sure they do not rattle – that means the nut inside has dried out or rotted.
Refrigerate your chestnuts if you aren’t going to prepare them right away – unlike many nuts, they’re highly perishable. You can even freeze them.
One of the best ways to enjoy chestnuts is fresh from the roasting pan while they are still warm. You don’t have to have an open fire to make wonderful tasty chestnuts.
How to Roast Chestnuts
- With a small, sharp, serrated knife, cut a shallow slit in the rounded side of each chestnut shell (you don’t have to cut an X shape).
- Squeeze the nut slightly to open the slit.
- Place the nuts in a saucepan and cover with cold water; add a pinch of sea salt.
- Bring them to a boil; as soon as the water boils, drain the nuts.
- Pour drained nuts into a cast iron skillet; place skillet into a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes.
- Put roasted chestnuts into a bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Open the shells along the slit and enjoy!
Remember, chestnuts are not dry and crunchy; they have a potato-like texture that goes well with a little sea salt for a 100% alkalizing treat.
1McLean, Jacques, Selhub, et al. “Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in older persons.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2004.
2Feskanich D. et al. “Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective study.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999