Chestnut has been called the Bread Tree – it has a been staple in the diet for people all over the world for thousands of years. It is a very high quality food source, with the nutritional makeup of a grain, yet grows on a tree, without annual tillage of the soil, and can bear crops for 100s of years.
Nutritionally, chestnuts contain 40-45% carbohydrate, 5-8% protein, 2-3% fat, and the balance is water. Chestnuts are very low in fat and have no cholesterol. Nutritionally, chestnuts are similar to brown rice, but with twice the protein and 1% of the sodium. The protein is very high quality, with an amino acid balance similar to milk or egg, both of which are considered the perfect protein. They contain high amounts of Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Lysine, linoleic acid and sulfur-containing amino acids. Chestnuts also contain high amounts of Potassium and Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, B1, B2, and Niacin in levels similar to fresh fruit.
Chestnuts are also gluten free, and can be incorporated into many foods as a gluten free flour substitute. .
By comparison, all other nuts are very high in fat, as much as 50-60% (almonds, walnuts, etc). The American Heart Association promotes a high carbohydrate, low fat, low sodium diet as a principal defense against heart disease.