Getting to know: Chestnut mushrooms

The Chestnut mushrooms look like a perfectly cooked marshmallow by the campfire – a golden brown top and white around the edges. It’s safe to say they’re healthier as well.

For one, the mushroom may reduce the growth of abnormal cells, according to a study in China. Researchers found a lectin in the chestnut mushrooms has antiproliferative activities. Antiproliferative means they tend to suppress cell growth, especially malignant cells which sometimes lead to tumours. In this study, they reportedly slowed down breast cancer and hepatoma cells.

Chestnut mushrooms may help against high blood pressure as well. Another research study found the best signs of this by extracting and analyzing an ACE inhibitor from the chestnuts. ACE inhibitors – or, get ready, “Angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors” – relax veins and arteries so blood pressure reduces as a result.

This next study can double as a fun fact and snack idea. Researchers found adding Chestnut mushroom powder to cookies increased the antioxidant activity, which can slow or prevent damage to healthy cells and thus reduce the chance for diseases. You can make the powder by dehydrating mushrooms and then putting them in a food processor.

Fun fact: Even adding a pinch of Chestnut mushroom powder can lead to a better-looking and tasting cookie. Cookies with three per cent of the powder achieved the highest ratings for colour, flavour, taste and texture, compared with cookies with five per cent, one per cent, and no powder. It even softens the cookies.

Meal options: Sautée the mushrooms with olive oil and butter for about three to five minutes and mix them into a risotto. Here is the full recipe.

They also go well in stews with their nutty flavour.

Disclaimer: The information on this page, specifically the Chestnut’s potential health benefits, is for educational purposes only.

Disclaimer #2: There are no studies about Chestnut mushrooms roasting over an open fire.