Hazelnuts are one type of nut that is often used in baking items like cakes or cookies because their flavor pairs well with chocolate and vanilla flavors commonly found in these desserts. Originally grown in Turkey, these nuts are now grown in large quantities throughout the world. They have a multitude of uses, but one thing they all have in common is that they are extremely healthy for your body! Here’s why you should eat hazelnuts.
Hazelnut Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA, an ounce of hazelnuts contains (8):
- 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
- Dietary fiber: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin B6, Folate, Phosphorus, and Zinc
Hazelnut Health Benefits
Other than their impressive nutritional profile, these nuts offer the following health benefits:
Promote Heart Health
Hazelnuts help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by promoting high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream (7). Their monounsaturated fats also prevent artery-clogging by keeping bad cholesterol away from the heart and other major organs.
These fats also increase good HDL cholesterol levels, meaning that hazelnuts can be especially beneficial for those with high blood pressure and triglycerides because they will protect their cardiovascular system and keep it running smoothly.
Promote Digestive Health
In addition to their cardiovascular benefits, hazelnuts also promote digestive health. The fiber in hazelnuts slows down the digestive process and keeps your bowel movements regular because it absorbs water as it moves through your gastrointestinal tract (9).
Since an irregular bowel can lead to other gut problems, including constipation or diarrhea, eating a small handful of these nuts regularly can help prevent those issues from occurring.
It is especially important for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease to eat lots of high-fiber foods like hazelnuts.
Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is linked with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases (10). Cold therapy is a traditional approach to reducing inflammation and treating arthritis because it reduces swelling near the joints.
Hazelnuts have high levels of phytosterols that have been shown to reduce inflammation in laboratory studies (2). Just one daily handful can help keep your hands and feet from aching!
Improve Bone Health
Many people don’t think about their bones when they’re eating a healthy diet, but healthy bones are correlated with a reduced risk for osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.
Hazelnuts not only increase good cholesterol levels, which protect cardiovascular health, they also promote bone metabolism (osteogenesis). Thus, regularly including hazelnuts in your diet can help improve your bone density over time and decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis (12).
Increase Energy Levels
By slowing down your digestive process, hazelnuts prevent your body from releasing too much insulin into your blood. This prevents the “sugar crash” that comes along with eating lots of foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Instead of experiencing sharp peaks and valleys in energy levels throughout the day, you’ll be able to maintain consistent energy levels because the fiber will keep sugar away from your bloodstream for longer periods. Hazelnuts help reduce blood sugar levels (5).
Promote Healthy Skin
Finally, while most people think that chocolate is healthy only when it’s dark (and loaded with antioxidants), they’re forgetting about hazelnut cocoa butter, which contains some of the same antioxidants found in dark chocolate. These antioxidants support skin health and keep your skin looking young and healthy as well (13).
Help You Lose Weight
As part of a balanced, calorie-reduced diet and lifestyle, hazelnuts and other nuts can promote weight loss. They’re packed with protein and fiber, both of which keep you feeling full for longer periods.
Research shows that people who ate a diet high in protein were less likely to gain weight over time because they stayed fuller for longer (15).
This is one reason why protein shakes are so popular among bodybuilders trying to bulk up— the protein keeps them feeling satiated, so they don’t have cravings or urges to overeat throughout the day!
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Hazelnut Side Effects And Precautions
While hazelnuts are considered safe for most people, they’re not recommended for those with an allergy to tree nuts such as pecans and walnuts (some people who are allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to hazelnuts).
In addition, there is a small risk of cross-contamination in some processing facilities that handle other nut products.
Finally, while their high-nitrate content has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and promote good cholesterol levels, too much isn’t. In excess, nitrate can cause or worsen symptoms of diabetes because it prevents insulin from doing its job effectively (11). People with diabetes should only eat a handful of hazelnuts at any given time so that they don’t consume more nitrates than their bodies can handle.
The Bottom Line
Hazelnuts are a great addition to your diet and have been linked to a host of health benefits, including better cardiovascular health, weight loss, and an improved sense of well-being. Just be sure to consume in moderation to avoid too many nitrates in your diet, which can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with diabetes.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A comprehensive study of hazelnut oil composition with comparisons to other vegetable oils, particularly olive oil (2003, researchgate.net)
- Polyphenols, Oxidative Stress, and Metabolic Syndrome (2019, hindawi.com)
- Celeriac, hazelnut & truffle soup (2021, bbcgoodfood.com)
- Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (2021, allrecipes.com)
- The effect of tree nut, peanut, and soy nut consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials (2015, academic.oup.com)
- HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE AVOCADO SMOOTHIE (2017, greensmoothiegourmet.com)
- Hazelnut supplementation enhances plasma antioxidant potential and lowers plasma cholesterol levels (2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Hazelnuts (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Hazelnuts as Source of Bioactive Compounds and Health Value Underestimated Food (2019, researchgate.net)
- Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nitrate-nitrite-nitrosamines exposure and the risk of type 1 diabetes: A review of current data (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nuts and dried fruits may help to prevent osteoporosis (2016, nutfruit.org)
- Skin anti-aging strategies (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre (2020, mdpi.com)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)