Hazelnuts, also called filberts or filbert nuts, come from the Corylus tree that’s primarily cultivated in Turkey, Italy, Spain, and the United States.
Although these oblong nuts are high in calories, they are chock-a-block with essential nutrients along with healthy fats. Additionally, hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber.
One ounce (28 grams) of hazelnuts contains:
Total fat: 17 grams
Protein: 4.2 grams
Carbs: 4.7 grams
Fiber: 2.7 grams
Vitamin E: 21% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Thiamin (vitamin B1): 12% of the RDI
Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
Copper: 24% of the RDI
Manganese: 87% of the RDI.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that adding hazelnuts to your diet can boost the levels of key micronutrients, such as vitamin E and magnesium, in the body. While vitamin E helps boost the immune system, magnesium is known to lower blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
2. They can help reduce weight
Hazelnuts are a good source of protein. So, if you are a vegetarian and are looking for a healthy source of protein, filbert nuts are a good choice. Moreover, since they are also packed with healthy fats and fiber, they will help you keep fuller for longer. That’s one of the best tricks to use if you are trying to lose weight.
Also, a 2018 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found a correlation between nut consumption, lowered weight gain, and a reduced risk of obesity. In the study, the participants who regularly consumed nuts were found to be less likely to become overweight than those who didn’t.
3. May help lower cholesterol
Eating hazelnuts regularly can help lower cholesterol levels. A 2013 study found that a hazelnut-enriched diet helps decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is associated with a higher risk of heart problems. The researchers noted that the nuts should be incorporated into the daily diet without change in total caloric intake to make the best use of its health benefits.
Similarly, a 2016 review published in the journal Nutrients suggested that hazelnuts can decrease the levels of harmful cholesterol and can, hence, have a favorable effect on cardiovascular disease prevention.
4. Will support healthy bowel movements
As mentioned above, hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber. A low fiber diet can contribute to constipation while eating plenty of fiber can improve regular bowel movements and help prevent constipation. This happens because soluble fiber slows digestion, and allows more water to remain in your stool, making it softer and easier to pass through the intestines.
The American Dietetic Association recommends that men aged 19 to 50 should get at least 38 grams of fiber in their daily diets, and women in the same age group should get 25 grams.
A 28-g serving (or about 20 whole kernels) of hazelnuts contains about 2.7 g of dietary fiber.
5. May help reduce blood sugar levels
Research suggests that hazelnuts can help reduce blood sugar levels. In a 12-week study, people with metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems) were given a combination of walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. At the end of the 12 weeks, the participants showed a significant reduction in fasting insulin levels.
Furthermore, oleic acid, which is the main fatty acid in hazelnuts, has been shown to have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar.
6. Good for the heart
Eating hazelnuts can boost heart health, research suggests. We have already mentioned how a diet rich in these nuts helps decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol. A large amount of fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids in these nuts help reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol in the body have been associated with a lower risk for heart disease and stroke, as it absorbs LDL cholesterol and carries it back to the liver.
Studies also indicate that eating about 29 to 69 grams of hazelnuts per day can be great for improving one’s overall heart health.
7. Can help decrease inflammation
Regular consumption of hazelnuts has been linked with a reduction of inflammation in the body due to their high healthy fat content. Studies have shown that eating 60 grams of hazelnuts every day for 12 weeks can be useful in decreasing inflammatory markers in overweight and obese people.
Another study, which analyzed how eating hazelnuts affected inflammation, found that consuming 40 grams of hazelnuts can reduce the inflammatory response in healthy people.
That being said, these studies also conclude that simply eating hazelnuts might not be enough for reducing inflammation; one must also have a healthy diet overall.
How to add hazelnuts to your diet
Hazelnuts have a sweet, nutty, and mild flavor and are popularly consumed as a snack. You can buy them raw from the supermarket and then roast or ground them to enjoy as your evening snack. Alternatively, hazelnuts can also be used in the following ways:
* Add these nuts to your salads to make them more flavorful.
* Chop and use them in desserts like pastries, pies, truffles, biscotti, cookies, tarts, and macaroons.
* Add raw, roasted, or toasted hazelnuts into a bowl of yogurt, oatmeal, or muesli.
* Sprinkle some finely chopped hazelnuts to a few slices of grilled pineapple or apple for a light and nutritious dessert.
* Add them to quinoa, risotto, or any other grain-based dish.
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