Top 6 Science-Backed Benefits Of Hazelnuts

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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You can enjoy an impressive range of hazelnut benefits if you add these sweet and readily available nuts to your daily health regimen.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts come from hazelnut trees and bushes of the genus Corylus. The nuts themselves are bulbous, white-fleshed nuts with a thin brown skin encased in a hard, brown outer shell. Hazelnuts come in different varieties, such as those known as filbert nuts or cobnuts. Harvested in mid-autumn, hazelnuts are usually dried and are sold all over the world. They have a sweet flavor and are well known for being the base to make the popular, sweet spread Nutella and to make praline, which is a common addition to chocolate truffles. They also can be used to make flavored oil and are used in a range of savory recipes. There is a growing interest in the nutritional value and health benefits of hazelnuts, considering their impressive nutrient density.

Nutrition Facts

Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]5.31
Energy [kcal]628
Energy [kJ]2629
Protein [g]14.95
Total lipid (fat) [g]60.75
Ash [g]2.29
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]16.7
Fiber, total dietary [g]9.7
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]4.34
Sucrose [g]4.2
Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.07
Fructose [g]0.07
Starch [g]0.48
Calcium, Ca [mg]114
Iron, Fe [mg]4.7
Magnesium, Mg [mg]163
Phosphorus, P [mg]290
Potassium, K [mg]680
Zinc, Zn [mg]2.45
Copper, Cu [mg]1.73
Manganese, Mn [mg]6.18
Selenium, Se [µg]2.4
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]6.3
Thiamin [mg]0.64
Riboflavin [mg]0.11
Niacin [mg]1.8
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.92
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.56
Folate, total [µg]113
Folate, food [µg]113
Folate, DFE [µg]113
Choline, total [mg]45.6
Betaine [mg]0.4
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]11
Carotene, alpha [µg]3
Vitamin A, IU [IU]20
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]92
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]15.03
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.33
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]14.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]4.46
16:0 [g]3.1
18:0 [g]1.27
20:0 [g]0.1
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]45.65
16:1 [g]0.12
18:1 [g]45.41
20:1 [g]0.13
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]7.92
18:2 [g]7.83
18:3 [g]0.09
Stigmasterol [mg]1
Campesterol [mg]7
Beta-sitosterol [mg]102
Tryptophan [g]0.19
Threonine [g]0.5
Isoleucine [g]0.55
Leucine [g]1.06
Lysine [g]0.42
Methionine [g]0.22
Cystine [g]0.28
Phenylalanine [g]0.66
Tyrosine [g]0.36
Valine [g]0.7
Arginine [g]2.21
Histidine [g]0.43
Alanine [g]0.73
Aspartic acid [g]1.68
Glutamic acid [g]3.71
Glycine [g]0.72
Proline [g]0.56
Serine [g]0.74
Sources include : USDA

Hazelnut Nutrition

Hazelnuts are packed with healthy fats and protein, vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of hazelnuts is approximately 630 calories and has over 9 grams of fat and 14 grams of protein. It is worth noting that hazelnuts also contain phytic acid. There are some studies that show phytic acid can limit the body’s ability to absorb certain minerals, such as zinc and iron. More evidence is needed for confirmation, but we recommend not eating hazelnuts as your only source of these minerals, considering the potential malabsorption of some minerals as a result of eating these nuts.

Hazelnut Benefits

The most powerful benefits of hazelnut include its ability to regulate blood pressure, boost heart health, potentially reduce the risk of cancer, and boost immunity, among others. Let us look at them in detail.

Boost and Protect the Immune System

Hazelnuts contain antioxidants that aid the body in repair and protection from cell damage and defend against oxidative stress. Many of the antioxidants are concentrated in the thin skin of the nut, and there is some evidence to show that the number of antioxidants decreases after roasting. Consider raw, unpeeled nuts to maximize your antioxidant intake.

Aids Heart Health

Antioxidants have been proven to lower internal inflammation and reduce overall cholesterol levels. These actions, along with healthy fats that normalize blood pressure, help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Anticancer Potential

According to a 2015 animal study by Caimari A. et al, hazelnut skin extract help potentially reduce the risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, the antioxidants and the wealth of minerals and vitamins that hazelnuts contain could make them a superfood in the fight against cancer. In particular, vitamin E and proanthocyanidins have been studied in relation to the prevention and treatment of various cancer types.

Decrease Inflammation

Working in collaboration with other foods, it is believed that hazelnuts can aid in the reduction of inflammation due to their high levels of good fats. A study conducted by Marina Contini et al., published in Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention, showed the vast range of hazelnuts’ phytochemical properties and potential as an anti-inflammatory remedy.

Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Although definitive evidence is still needed, there are some studies demonstrating that hazelnuts, along with other types of nuts, could help reduce blood sugar levels and therefore be a good snack for people with diabetes. This is primarily due to the presence of oleic acid, the key fatty acid in hazelnuts, as per a study published in 2018.

Maintain Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Due to the significant levels of vitamin E, hazelnuts are a good food to boost the health of your skin, nails, and hair. Vitamin E can function as an antioxidant, particularly on the skin, protecting against skin cancer and signs of aging, while also increasing moisture and boosting appearance.

Increases Sperm Count

Human semen quality has deteriorated in industrialized countries. The potential causes are pollution, smoking, and the consumption of a western-style diet. However, a recent study shows that including nuts in a western-style diet significantly improves the total sperm count and the vitality, motility, and morphology of the sperm.

How to Include Hazelnuts in Your Daily Diet

Hazelnuts are a versatile nut that can be included in your daily diet in a variety of ways:

  • Eat As A Snack: One of the easiest ways to get hazelnuts into your daily diet is to eat them in between meals as a healthy snack. You can buy hazelnuts roasted or raw, whole, cut or in small pieces, all of which work well for nibbling on.
  • Hazelnut Oil: Nutritious and sweetly nutty in flavor, hazelnut oil can be drizzled on salads or used in cooking.
  • Pesto: Hazelnuts can make a good nut base for pesto – a more economical yet tasty alternative to pine nuts.
  • Pasta Dishes: Hazelnuts are sometimes used in gourmet pasta sauce recipes, and pair well with spinach and lemon flavors.
  • Salad Toppings: Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on salads to create interesting flavors and add texture.
  • Use In Baking: There are a number of delicious desserts that use hazelnuts for flavor or texture. Hazelnuts can make an excellent flavoring for meringues. Try using ground hazelnut flour instead of regular flour, or use it make a delicious hazelnut butter or paste for spreads or cake toppings. Sprinkle finely chopped hazelnuts over a cake for decoration.
  • Use As A Topping: Hazelnuts can also be used to top other desserts, such as ice creams and truffles. Simply roll truffles in a pile of chopped or ground hazelnuts until you get an overall covering. Pop them in the fridge to allow the truffles to harden and the nuts to become firm.
  • Dipped Hazelnuts: You can also coat whole hazelnuts with cinnamon or spices to create a sweet, but healthy after-dinner treat. This will work particularly well with dark chocolate.
  • Hazelnut Spread: The most famous hazelnut spread is, of course, Nutella, made by Ferrero SpA. You can also roast your own hazelnuts to make your own at-home version of Nutella, and spread it on toast or use it in desserts.

Warnings and Side Effects of Hazelnuts

Some people are severely allergic to nuts. This nut allergy is sometimes specific to hazelnuts, but other times includes all nuts. Nut allergies can be fatal and it is vital to check in with all your guests before making and serving any food with hazelnuts in it. The size and shape of hazelnuts also mean that whole hazelnuts are not suitable for young children, as they pose a choking hazard.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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