Hazelnuts: The Healthy Nut Few People Know About, But Should Know
Hazelnuts can be found whole, sliced, ground, raw or roasted. They are commonly eaten as a snack or added to baked goods and other dishes. It’s best to eat them with the skin on.
Hazelnuts are packed with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidant compounds and healthy fats.
They may also have health benefits, including helping decrease blood fat levels, regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar levels, among others.
All in all, they are an excellent and delicious source of nutrients that can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Hazelnuts: Full of Nutrients
Hazelnuts have a great nutrient profile. Although they are high in calories, they are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats.
One ounce (28 grams, or about 20 whole kernels) contains:
- Calories: 176
- Total fat: 17 grams
- Protein: 4.2 grams
- Carbs: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 12% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 24% of the RDI
- Manganese: 87% of the RDI
They also contain decent amounts of vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Additionally, they are a rich source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats and contain a good amount of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, such as oleic acid.
Furthermore, a one-ounce serving provides 11.2 grams of dietary fiber, which accounts for about 11% of your daily requirement.
Hazelnuts: Anti-Oxidants Are Good For You
Hazelnuts provide significant amounts of antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress, which can damage cell structure and promote aging, cancer and heart disease.
The most abundant antioxidants in hazelnuts are known as phenolic compounds. They are proven to help decrease blood cholesterol and inflammation. They could also be beneficial for heart health and protecting against cancer.
An 8-week study showed that with or without the skin, it significantly decreased oxidative stress compared to not eating hazelnuts, which caused no effects .
The majority of the antioxidants present are concentrated in the skin of the nut. However, this antioxidant content could decrease after the roasting process.
Therefore, it is recommended to consume whole, unroasted kernels with the skin rather than peeled kernels, either roasted or unroasted.
Hazelnuts: Great For Your Heart
Eating nuts has been shown to protect the heart.
In hazelnuts, the high concentration of antioxidants and healthy fats may increase antioxidant potential and lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
One month-long study observed 21 people with high cholesterol levels who consumed 18–20% of their total daily calorie intake from hazelnuts. The results showed reduced cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol levels.
Participants also experienced improvements to artery health and inflammation markers in the blood.
Moreover, a review of nine studies including over 400 people also saw reductions in bad LDL and total cholesterol levels, while good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides remained unchanged.
In general, eating 29 to 69 grams of hazelnuts per day has been linked to improvements in heart function.
Hazelnuts: Lower Cancer Rates
Hazelnuts’ high concentration of antioxidant compounds, vitamins and minerals could give them some anti-cancer properties.
Among other nuts like pecans and pistachios, they have the highest concentration of a category of antioxidant known as proanthocyanidins.
Some test-tube and animal studies have shown that proanthocyanidins may help prevent and treat some types of cancers. It is thought that they protect against oxidative stress.
Additionally, they are rich in vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that has exhibited possible protection against cell damage that could cause or promote cancer.
Hazelnuts: May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Nuts, like almonds and walnuts, have been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels.
Although not abundant, there is research that hazelnuts may also help reduce blood sugar levels.
A two-month study showed that a diet rich in oleic acid significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, while increasing insulin sensitivity, in 11 people with type 2 diabetes.
It seems that a diet rich in this nut, could help lower your blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.