The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Integrating Hazelnuts into your Diet

Hazelnuts are one of the most consumed nuts in the world and it's an extremely popular healthy snack. They provide a quick source of energy and can be used to supplement your diet with plant-based protein.

These nuts are small, roughly the size of a large marble. They are incredibly high in "good cholesterol," and you can add them to various dishes for a more fantastic flavor.

However, few people know the incredible health benefits of eating this tasty nut. In this article, we'll look at the nutritional profile of hazelnuts and how they can benefit your health.

Nutritional Composition of Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts have an impressive nutrient profile. Like most nuts, they’re high in calories, but they are packed with a lot of nutrients and healthy fats.

One ounce of hazelnuts, or 28 grams of the fruit, provides the following:

  • Calories: 176
  • Total Fat: 17 grams
  • Protein: 4.2 grams
  • Fiber: 2.7 grams
  • Sugar: 1.3 grams
  • Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI
  • Thiamin: 12% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
  • Copper: 24% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 87%

Hazelnuts also contain small amounts of vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. These nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Plus, it includes a decent amount of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

Hazelnuts also contain phenolic compounds, which serve as antioxidants. 

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress, which damages the cell structure and promotes disease. The majority of the antioxidant content of hazelnuts can be found in the skin, but the levels may decrease if the fruit is roasted.

Health Benefits of Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts yield the following benefits when integrated into your diet.

Supports Heart Health

Research has shown that eating nuts can protect your heart. This is because of the high concentration of antioxidants and healthy fats that helps lower the cholesterol levels in your blood. 

A one-month-long study found that consuming hazelnuts can reduce triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol levels in your body. The results further showed that hazelnuts improve artery health and inflammation markers in the blood.

Moreover, a review of multiple studies has discovered that including hazelnuts in your diet lowers bad LDL and improves your total cholesterol levels without affecting good HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Health experts also believe that the high content of fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium in hazelnuts may help normalize your blood pressure.

Reduces Cancer Risk

A high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals means these nuts have beneficial properties. Hazelnuts contain the most antioxidants among popular nuts like pecans and pistachios.

Test-tube and animal studies have shown that proanthocyanidins can reduce the risk of some types of cancer and even treat them. The researchers also believe that antioxidants can protect you from oxidative stress.

In a one-ounce serving, hazelnuts also provide 87% of your recommended dietary intake for manganese. Manganese promotes the function of specific enzymes that reduce oxidative damage and decreases the risk of cancer. Furthermore, hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E, another potent antioxidant that protects the cell from damage that could cause cancer.

Decreases Inflammation

Health experts believe hazelnuts may also help reduce inflammatory markers due to their high fatty acid content. One study found that eating hazelnuts have caused significant reductions in inflammation among people with high cholesterol levels. It also reduced inflammatory markers in overweight and obese people.

Another study examined the effect of hazelnut consumption on inflammation. The results showed that the nut reduced the inflammatory response in healthy people. However, most researchers conclude that eating hazelnuts alone is not enough. A calorie-controlled diet is also necessary to reduce inflammation.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Researchers have found that nuts like almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts may help reduce blood sugar levels. One study found that consuming these nuts can reduce fasting insulin levels in people with metabolic syndrome.

One of the primary fatty acids in hazelnuts is oleic acid, which has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. A two-month study showed that a diet rich in oleic acid significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and insulin levels while increasing insulin sensitivity.

Reducing Weight Gain

Recent research has shown that nuts like hazelnuts may help prevent weight gain. Some evidence supports this claim, showing that nuts can slightly boost metabolism. Although they’re high in calories, your body doesn’t absorb 10-15 % of the calories in nuts.

A 2018 study found links between nut consumption and reduced weight gain. The study found that participants who ate more nuts were less likely to become obese or overweight than those who didn’t.

Bottom Line

Hazelnuts are high in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to any diet. You can incorporate hazelnuts into your diet as a healthy snack or add them to certain dishes. To reap the full benefits, eat the skin of the nuts, which contains the highest concentration of antioxidants.