Most of us only think of chestnuts when we sing about them roasting over an open fire during the holidays, but there are a ton of reasons to keep them in mind all year round. First of all, they have a delicious subtle sweetness similar to sweet potatoes. On top of that, they pack a hefty nutritional punch.
According to Humanitas University, an Italian school dedicated to medical sciences, chestnuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like copper, which keeps your bones strong. They can also reduce cholesterol levels thanks to manganese, while the high level of fat-soluble B vitamins help with brain function and will keep your skin healthy and glowing.
Want even more perks? Chestnuts have plenty to spare: They’re gluten-free, low-calorie, and rich in fiber. Although they have 17 grams of carbohydrates per serving (which is about 5 pieces), they are what’s known as “slow-carbs” — the type of carb that burns throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels from dipping. That means saying goodbye to pesky brain fog and fatigue.
You can buy chestnuts fresh or pre-roasted and peeled, like Gefen Organic Whole Roasted and Peeled Chestnuts ($14.99 for 4-pack, Amazon), and eat them on their own as a snack. They also make a great base for soups by slicing them up and letting them simmer in a stock with savory mushrooms, onions, and spices. Blend that the broth-y mixture with some cream for a smooth and comforting midday meal that will fill you up and keep you going strong. Well+Good even recommends starting your day with it as savory breakfast “porridge” to kickstart your energy levels.
Whichever way you decide to add more chestnuts to your diet, you’ll be glad you didn’t leave them behind with your Christmas tree.
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, FirstForWomen.com.