Hazelnuts are extremely healthy and nutritious nuts. They are used as raw (unbaked), baked, in various salty and sweet dishes, and there are various spreads and butter made from nuts.
In addition, we will look at the nutritional benefits and health benefits that hazelnuts can provide.
Hazel (scientifically Corylus ) is a genus of deciduous trees belonging to the birch family ( Betulaceae). They grow in temperate regions, and their fruit is called hazelnut. Hazelnuts are nuts, about 1-2.5 cm in size. They are covered with a coating, and their shape and composition are used to identify the species.
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Nutritional composition of hazelnuts
The 100g hazelnut contains:
- Total fat: 61g of which 4.5g are saturated, and the remaining fats are extremely healthy monounsaturated (46g) and polyunsaturated fats (8g)
- Carbohydrates – 17g of which 10g is useful fiber
- Protein – 15g
Hazelnuts contain 628 calories / 100g. It is noticeable that they are rich in fats, but it should be noted that they are healthy fats, and the amount of saturated or unhealthy fats is quite small. They are also a great source of fiber and protein.
In addition to macronutrients, hazelnuts have an extremely rich composition of vitamins and minerals. Namely, they contain:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E, contained in hazelnuts, has an antioxidant role in the body
- Minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper which are extremely important as micronutrients for the proper functioning of the human body
In addition, they contain satisfactory amounts of folic acid (vitamin B9), potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Some of the health benefits of hazelnuts
Improved bowel function
Namely, due to the rich composition of fiber, hazelnuts are an excellent food for balanced and improved work of the intestines, while preventing constipation.
For women from 31 to 50 years, 25g of fiber per day is recommended, while for men at this age the recommendation is 30g per day. Hazelnuts in this regard would be a great choice as a dietary supplement, and especially as a healthy snack.
Hazelnuts are rich in antioxidants, compounds that protect our cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. The most common are phenolic compounds that have a proven effect on lowering cholesterol and inflammatory processes in the body.
They also have a positive effect on heart health. It should be noted that most of the antioxidants are present in the thin skin on the surface of the fruit, so the eventual roasting of the fruit could reduce their amount. It is therefore recommended to consume hazelnuts as raw (unroasted)
A scientific study conducted in 2018 found a link between regular intake of nuts (including hazelnuts) and weight loss. Respondents who had nuts in their diet had a lower risk of gaining weight than those who did not eat nuts.
The study concluded that the best way to use nuts was to include them in people’s daily diets but keep an eye on their total calorie intake.
Having a diet that includes nuts can lead to reduced levels of cholesterol was found in a study from 2013. This is about the levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or the so-called bad cholesterol that is responsible for cardiovascular disease.
Regulation of blood sugar
Several scientific studies have been conducted on this topic and have shown that regular intake of nuts, especially a mix of multiple nuts, leads to a reduction and regulation of blood sugar.
Hazelnuts are most abundant in one fatty acid. That is the oleic acid, which is considered to affect human insulin sensitivity.
Easy and simple to include in our diet
It is clear that hazelnuts are a healthy food that has many health benefits. It is rich in healthy fats, proteins, and fiber, as well as many minerals and vitamins, but also antioxidants.
This composition makes hazelnuts one of the healthiest snack options and makes it a food that can be enjoyed in various forms. As already mentioned, most of the antioxidants are in their thin shell. So if you have to choose between whole nuts that would be baked or unbaked, the healthy option would be unbaked.
Hazelnuts can also be added as ground or chopped in various salads, dressings, and sweet recipes as a great substitute for some other foods.
You can prepare them yourself or you can find them in the markets – hazelnut butter and various spreads that contain hazelnuts. They are also a great variant for introducing hazelnuts in the daily diet through delicious recipes.
Butter can also be added to shakes, included in delicious breakfast recipes, or as a delicious addition to salad dressings.
You should be careful about your caloric intake and keep in mind that hazelnuts are a highly nutritious food that has a high caloric value. With a moderate and daily intake, it is tasty and extremely healthy food.