Hazelnuts are also called filbert or cobnut, a nut type in rustic brown color, and derived from the Corylus tree. Mostly in Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States, these nuts are being cultivated.
Hazelnuts have a chocolaty taste and sweet, nutty flavor, so it is preferred to eat raw, ground as a paste, roasted, or as a cooking oil too. It is a nutritious snack that you can add to any calorie balanced and controlled diet to get its optimum benefits.
Hazelnuts are rich in antioxidants, healthful fat, vitamin E, protein, and dietary fiber. The nuts are widely used as a flavoring agent in liqueurs, pastries, and coffee creamers.
Nowadays, we could see various hazelnut-based chocolate pouring, and bread spreads like Nutella in the stores. It is also used as a topping for savory dishes and multiple desserts.
However, hazelnuts have been used since ancient times. It is an alternative source of protein for vegans or vegetarians. For instance, 100 grams of hazelnuts fulfill 30% daily recommended intake value of protein. Now, you know why this versatile nut is recommended in a weight loss diet.
There is no surprise that tree nuts are nutrition-packed snacks that you can consider for your regular diet. You can enjoy these nuts in many ways without worrying about calories and fat.
The constituents found in hazelnuts are beneficial in treating heart diseases, diabetes, improving brain functions, and yes, it helps for healthy weight loss too.
What are Hazelnuts?
Turkey is the primary country to export hazelnuts to the world market. For more than 2300 years, they have been harvesting hazelnuts in their Black sea region.
The nuts are grown in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Europe, Asia, and other parts of the globe. The demand for these nuts is surging substantially.
Chinese scripture proved that Hazelnuts were used as tonic and medicine back in 2838 BC.
Hazelnuts are smaller than an acorn, with a smooth, thick, and hard shell. It is usually sold shelled. The kernel is round, sweet, creamy colored, and has thin dark brown outer skin.
Winter is the season for hazelnut trees to bloom and pollinate. The flowers of the tree remain dormant till June after pollination. At the same time, the nut starts to form. In summer, the nuts mature and change to hazel shade from young green. The nuts are harvested after they fall, which is typically in late September or October.
Hazelnuts are also called Filbert, which was the name given to the tree and nuts in England by French colonists when they first introduced this tree.
The name was given after St.Philibert as his day August 22 always came along with ripening dates of the hazel tree nuts. Later, the English people changed its name to hazelnut. As the production of hazelnuts improved in the U.S, in 1981, Oregon Filbert Commission decided to promote the same name.
Hazelnuts are oblong, nutty, sweet, and nutritious. These are widely used in sweets, pastries, confections, and desserts prepared using sugar syrup and nuts like praline. Praline has a chocolate taste and adds hazelnuts to enhance sweetness and flavor.
The ground paste of hazelnuts goes excellent on bananas, sandwiches, and you can eat it alone.
Native Americans added this nut to tea to treat hives and fever. The tree bark as a poultice is believed to heal wounds, cure tumors, and sores. The hazelnut oil is a great cooking medium that can be topically applied to moisturize and tan skin. The oil is often used in massaging and aromatherapy.
Common Names of Hazelnuts
- Botanical Name: Corylus
- English Name: Hazelnut, filbert, cobnut
- Tamil Name: ஜாதிபத்திரி/Jathipathri
- Malayalam Name: ഹേജല്നട/Hazelnad, ഹൈജല്നട/Hazelnad
- Telugu Name: హాజెల్ నట్/Hājel naṭ
- Kannada Name: ಗೆಜ್ಜುಗ
- Hindi Name: हेज़लनट/hezalanat
- Marathi Name: डोंगरी-बदाम/ddoNgrii-bdaam
- Gujarati Name: એક જાતનો સૂકો મેવો
- Punjabi Name: ਹੇਜ਼ਲਨਟਸ
- Bengali Name: হ্যাজেল নাট
- Urdu Name: ہیزلنٹس
20 Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts offer numerous health benefits from treating diabetes, reducing bad cholesterol, inflammation, improving heart health, bone strength, and minimizing cancer chances. Let’s look into it further.
1. Loaded with Antioxidants
Hazelnuts have a significant antioxidant profile that helps remove the free radicals from the body and protect oxidative stress. These two can cause worse cell damage, speed up aging, weaken the heart, and promote cancer cells’ growth.
The high level of vitamin E in hazelnuts are the great antioxidants that prevent aging and reduce inflammation.
The phenolic compounds found in hazelnuts are the major antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels in the blood.
A study found that participants who consumed hazelnuts regularly for eight weeks experienced a significant reduction in oxidative stress without any side effects than those who did not.
Though hazelnuts with or without skin are recommended to consume, most of the antioxidants are present in the nuts’ skin. The level may reduce when the nuts are roasted. So, it is best to consume raw hazelnuts with the skin.
2. Healthy Fats and Fatty Acids
Healthy fats are important to absorb nutrients. There is 8.5 g of fat present in a handful of hazelnuts, which equals 13% DV. Dietary Guidelines of Americans advise that 25 to 35 % of the daily recommended intake of calories comes from fats.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are helpful for heart health. They aid in reducing bad LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. A handful of hazelnuts contain 3% DV of saturated fats, 6.4 g of monounsaturated fats, and 1.1 g of polyunsaturated fats.
Fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 are essential for cell membranes and help regulate inflammation and prevent high blood pressure. Oleic acid is the major monounsaturated fat found in hazelnuts, which is highly beneficial in lowering hypertension and blood cholesterol levels.
3. Vitamins for Health
A handful of hazelnuts have 2.1 mg of vitamin E, which is equal to 7% DV. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant that benefits the immune system and provides healthy skin.
Being a source of B vitamins, particularly B6 (thiamine), hazelnuts protect nerve, heart, and muscle functions. Thiamine is important for the nervous system, brain functions, and cognitive functions. A handful of hazelnuts contain 4% DV of B6. Niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic are some other essential B vitamins in the nuts.
Hazelnuts also have the right level of vitamin K for blood clotting, vitamin C for immunity.
4. Phytic Acid and Minerals
Other assorted minerals in hazelnuts are iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. All the tree nuts contain phytic acid, which is a component that is a main phosphorus storage form. In dry hazelnuts, there is 0.2 to 0.9% of phytic acid.
However, phytic acid is seen to disrupt the absorption of iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc and causes mineral deficiency. With a properly balanced diet, it was not a concern.
5. Calories and Carbs
Hazelnuts are free of sodium and low in sugar. A handful of hazelnuts contain 2.3 g of carbohydrates and 88 kcal.
A 2018 study published in BMJ found that a low-carb diet can increase energy due, especially during the weight loss process, thereby helping to treat obesity.
6. Supports Bowel Movements
Hazelnuts contain a high amount of dietary fiber. Consuming a handful of these nuts a day will eventually stimulate regular bowel movements and reduce the chances of stomach-related issues like constipation.
In the United States, the dietary guidelines recommend that men and women of age from 31 to 50 should consume 30.8 g and 25.2 g of dietary fiber relatively in a day.
An ounce of hazelnuts offers 2.7 grams of dietary fiber which equals 10% daily recommended fiber intake value.
7. Helps Lose Excess Weight
Nuts help gain weight, but it also aids in losing excess weight according to recent studies.
In 2018, a study made on this statement found a link between low rates of weight gain and nut consumption with reduced risks of obesity. The subjects who ate more nuts were reported less weight gain than those who did not.
However, the study correlated the results, so we need further research to ensure the link between nut consumption and reduced weight gain.
8. Protects Against Cell Damage
The high level of antioxidants in hazelnuts helps protect against cell damage. The antioxidants neutralize and remove the free radicals from the body; thus, preventing the oxidation of cells. Vitamin E is the main antioxidant highly found in hazelnuts.
9. Lowering Cholesterol
Hazelnuts may help lower cholesterol levels.
A 2013 study found that participants who followed a nuts-rich diet reported decreasing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which is a kind of cholesterol that can cause severe heart ailments. The study summarized that the optimum way to get the full benefits of hazelnuts was to include them in the daily diet by balancing the daily calorie intake.
A 2016 review showed that hazelnuts could work against harmful cholesterol. The researchers also said there was no increase in the bodyweight of the participants. It eventually falsifies some myths that calorie-rich nuts can cause overweight.
10. Preventing Diabetes
Eating hazelnuts mixed with other nuts may improve insulin sensitivity. Low insulin sensitivity may cause type 2 diabetes, and thus hazelnuts reduce the risks of diabetes.
A 2011 trial study found that consuming 30 grams of nut mix (including 7.5 g of hazelnuts) in a day for 12 weeks significantly improved insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, hazelnuts contain a fatty acid called oleic acid that helps improve insulin sensitivity.
A study on 11 people with type 2 diabetes was conducted by giving them an oleic acid included diet. The researchers concluded that the diet significantly increased insulin sensitivity while decreasing fasting blood sugar.
Hazelnuts are often recommended for type 2 diabetes patients as it has dietary fiber and effectively increase insulin sensitivity.
With a low glycemic-index level, the nuts reduced the sudden spike of sugar levels in the blood. Plus, nut consumption increases HDL levels and reduces LDL levels.
In 2015, another study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found how tree nuts rich daily diet influences diabetes. They concluded with a statement that a nut-rich diet reduced the cholesterol levels in the participants with diabetes.
11. Supports Heart Health
Hazelnuts have been shown to protect the heart from several risks and ailments.
A study in 2013 summarized that following hazelnuts included diet may improve biomarkers of cardiovascular health risks, and thus significantly reduce the chances of various heart problems.
Hazelnuts contain high amounts of healthy fats and antioxidant properties, with that the nuts can significantly reduce blood cholesterol levels.
A study involved 21 people for a month found that participants with high cholesterol levels who consumed 18% to 20% of their daily recommended value of calories from hazelnuts experienced a notable reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, cholesterol in the blood, and triglycerides. They also found improvements in inflammation markers in the blood and artery health of the participants.
A review of nine different clinical studies of hazelnuts involving 400 people noted a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol levels and total cholesterol levels, while unchanging the triglycerides and good cholesterol levels in the participants who followed a hazelnuts-rich diet. The effect may be due to the presence of Unsaturated fats in the nuts, especially oleic acid.
In general, from 29 grams to 69 grams, the daily intake of hazelnuts has been shown to protect and improve the heart’s various health parameters.
The high concentration of fatty acids, antioxidants, dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium in the hazelnuts causes this effect.
12. Reduces Inflammation
Hazelnuts may ease inflammation with their healthy fats.
A 2013 study showed reduced signs of inflammation in participants who followed a hazelnuts-rich diet.
Another study on 21 people with high cholesterol levels was conducted for four weeks to determine how signs of inflammatory such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein treated with hazelnuts by giving them a diet food containing 18 to 20% hazelnuts of their daily calorie intake and concluded that hazelnuts significantly reduced the inflammation.
Few Other Study Results of Linking Inflammation and Hazelnuts
- Sixty grams of hazelnuts in a day for 12 weeks help reduce signs of inflammation on obese people.
- 40 grams of hazelnuts may lower inflammation markers in healthy people.
- 30 grams of Nut mix containing 15 grams walnuts, 7.5 grams almonds, and 7.5 grams hazelnuts reduced inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.
Researchers conclude that hazelnuts alone are not enough to treat inflammation, but you have to follow a balanced calorie diet.
13. Reduces Rates of Cancer
Hazelnuts contain a high level of an antioxidant category called proanthocyanidins.
Some animal studies found that proanthocyanidins can help hamper and cure certain types of cancer. The antioxidants found in the nuts are thought to reduce oxidative stress.
Vitamin E is another effective antioxidant present in hazelnuts that provide significant protection from cell damages that can lead to cancer and heart diseases.
Manganese can help regulate the special enzyme functions that can lower oxidative stress and further damages. In one ounce of hazelnuts, we get 87% RDI for manganese.
Hazelnut extract could be an effective medicine for treating certain cancers like colon, liver, cervical, and breast.
In China, the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Jiangsu University conducted research. It concluded that the manganese complex could possess strong values as an antitumor complex to handle the mitochondria. The research was then published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry.
Though we get various evidence from the studies, all are either animal studies or test-tube studies, so we need detailed human studies to conclude the anticancer properties of hazelnuts.
14. Enhances Muscle Strength
We have already seen that magnesium helps keep the calcium level from and to the body cells on the check. Thereby, it helps to prevent muscle stress and contraction. Further, it eases muscular tension, prevents fatigue, cramps, and soreness.
Hazelnuts with a high level of magnesium benefit you in all the health conditions said above.
15. Improves Bone Health
Again, magnesium with the right level of calcium is required for bone and joint health. Our bones save extra magnesium in them as a rescue agent when the body faces mineral deficiency unexpectedly.
Hazelnuts contain a high amount of this essential mineral and offer you healthy bones.
16. Helps the Nervous System
A healthy nervous system requires the right amount of amino acids, while these acids need vitamin B6 to function correctly. So, if there is a B6 deficiency in your body, it eventually affects the nervous system by preventing myelin synthesis. The responses to the reactions from neurotransmitters to the body tissues also benefited from vitamin B6 as it helps in various neurotransmitter production such as epinephrine, melatonin, and serotonin.
Along with the vitamin B6, manganese, fatty acids, folate, and vitamin E found in the nuts make it a dietary food for brain sharpness and cognitive functions.
A study tested the neuroprotective properties of hazelnuts and published their conclusion in Nutritional Neuroscience that hazelnuts as dietary supplements helped in healthy aging, improved memory, and lowered anxiety.
17. Treats Indigestion
Manganese activates and catalyzes enzymes. It is an essential mineral that has a major role in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol and is an important protein and carbohydrate metabolic agent.
If the level of manganese is high, then protein and carbohydrate metabolism is better. Thereby, it benefits in the proper functioning of the digestive system. The fiber contents of nuts ensure the nutrients are adequately assimilated, and the toxins from the body are eliminated through feces.
18. Benefits Immune System
Hazelnuts are filled with an abundance of essential minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. All these different nutrients are essential to undistributed blood circulation to and from body organs. When the body maintains proper blood flow, it automatically benefits the immune system.
19. Cut Down Stress
Hazelnuts are filled with omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. These acids, along with B vitamins, help prevent and treat several psychological conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
These combinations of elements also improve memory and neurotransmitter synthesis, such as serotonin, which is often called a happy chemical.
20. Controls Blood Pressure
Hazelnuts benefit people with hypertension, aka high blood pressure. Potassium is essential to reduce high blood pressure levels and prevent risks of cardiovascular conditions that are linked to blood pressure. The saturated fat variants in an ounce of hazelnuts are about 1.5 g, while it also has 46 mg magnesium, 2.7 g dietary fiber, and 194 g potassium.
Being a rich source of potassium, hazelnuts might help to lower blood pressure.
Skin Benefits of Hazelnuts
The hydrating and conditioning properties of hazelnuts make it a natural conditioner and moisturizer for dry and sensitive skin.
1. Delays Premature Aging
A cup of hazelnuts contains 86% daily recommended value of Vitamin E, and it also offers Vitamin A and C, and two antioxidants. The effects of vitamins reduced the fine lines and wrinkles in the skin and delayed premature aging.
2. Hydrates Skin
As we said earlier, hazelnuts offer a high amount of vitamin E with healthful fat, which helps hydrate and moisturize the skin. Thus, it conditions the skin and keeps it smooth and shiny. Adding hazelnuts to your diet offers radiance to the skin.
3. Protects Skin from UV Rays
Hazelnuts oil is safe for topical application on the skin too. It works as a sunscreen or moisturizer to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Make a mixture of hazelnut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, and avocado oil, and apply it to your skin before you go out.
4. Keeps Skin Healthy and Fresh
Hazelnuts are filled with antioxidants that benefit skin health. The antioxidants remove the free radicals that cause cell damage from the body. With that, the nuts are protecting the skin from cancer due to UVA rays.
The flavonoids in the nuts remove dead skin cells, stimulate the generation of new skin cells, and offer healthy and young skin.
5. Treats Acne
These brown-hued nuts are added to Nutella and Muffins. The nuts act as an excellent skin scrub ingredient along with coffee beans for treating acne skin. Take a tablespoon of hazelnuts, crush and mix them with a half tablespoon of coffee powder and sugar. Now, a half tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil in it. Mix well and use it as a regular skin scrub to cure acne.
Hair Benefits of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts do wonder for dry and damaged hair.
Make a hair pack, add two tablespoons of hazelnuts powder, two eggs in a bowl, and beat well. Apply this mixture to your scalp and hair and leave it for 20 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water and shampoo the hair. It will naturally condition the hair and prevent damage.
1. For Hair Coloring
Hazelnuts are the natural coloring ingredient added to many coloring agents. It gives a brown hue to the hair strands and ensures the color long lasts. It keeps conditions the colored tresses, provides extra protection and prevents harmful chemical damages.
2. Strengthens Hair
You can add hazelnut to your regular hair regimen. Massage the oil on the scalp and hair for a few minutes and leave it for a night. The next day, wash off with shampoo. It helps strengthen the hair from the roots to the tips.
3. Prevents Split Ends
Give your dried split ends a fine massage of hazelnut oil. It gradually reduces the damages and gives you lengthy and healthy hair.
Nutritional Profile of Hazelnuts
Serving Size: 100 grams
|Total Fat||60.75 g||20.2%|
|Dietary Fiber||9.7 g||25.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.918 mg||18%|
|Vitamin A||20 IU||<1%|
|Vitamin C||6.3 mg||10.5%|
|Vitamin E||15 mg||100%|
|Vitamin K||14.2 µg||12%|
Hazelnuts vs. Almonds
Can hazelnuts equal the nutritional profile of another popular healthy nut called almonds? Let’s check that here.
What are the Similarities?
- Both are rich in protein, minerals, fiber, and many vital vitamins, particularly vitamin E.
- Potentially reduces the chances of diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, and obesity.
- Both are great snack options for heart health.
What are the Differences?
- Hazelnuts can aid in the treatment and prevention of various degenerative mind illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Hazelnuts contain a high amount of PACs, which are essential polyphenols with enormous antioxidant properties.
- Consuming almonds can help generate goodwill bacterias in the gut to improve digestive health.
- The digestive tract can be alkalized by almonds and increases nutrient absorption.
Few Interesting Facts of Hazelnuts
- Hazelnuts are the official state nuts of Oregon.
- A hazel tree can produce nuts for more than 80 years.
- Hazel trees help stabilize the soils and well grow on farming operations, so it is environment friendly.
- In the Midwest U.S., the farmers are into the development of hazelnut cultivation to improve the capacity of the species to fight and prevent diseases and make it adaptable to various climates.
Purchasing and Storing Hazelnuts
Choose the plump, crisp, heavy, and full variety of raw hazelnuts with the skin for optimum benefits. When buying shelled nuts, make sure there are no cracks or holes, while for shell-removed nuts, choose the variety with tight and intact skin.
Prepared hazelnuts like roasted, ground or chopped are also available. When choosing any of these forms, note that there are fewer phytonutrients.
Fresh and raw hazelnuts are quickly perishable, so you should make sure of the storage. If you buy fresh nuts, finish it as soon as possible or buy it for a single serving and avoid storing it.
The fresh hazelnuts have to be stored at room temperature with heat and humidity. The shelled nuts can be kept in the refrigerator for almost four months. Nuts with shells have a low shelf life and can be held in a dry, cool place for one month.
Hazelnut butter is made from roasted hazelnuts, which is similar to peanut butter. Other products like hazelnut meal and flour are made from the remains of nuts after the oil is extracted. The flour and meal are often utilized in baking.
Hazelnut is used for cooking and massaging or therapeutic applications. The oil gives good flavor and is mostly derived from American and Italian hazelnut varieties. Groundnuts and sugar prepare hazelnut paste. It is used to make icings and toppings for baked foods.
The chopped hazelnuts can be added to vegetables and salads or can mix with cheese. The meat and fish can be coated with these chopped nuts to give a crispy texture. Additionally, bread recipes are a great way to include nuts like hazelnuts into the diet.
How to Add Hazelnuts to Your Diet
These versatile sweet nuts can be an excellent snack and an addition to various recipes.
- Roast a handful of the nuts and eat it between meals as snacks.
- Sprinkle the coarsely chopped hazelnuts on your breakfast cereals.
- Ground the hazelnuts with chocolate and use it as spreads on bread, roti, dosa or idli.
- Dry roast and grind the hazelnuts, blend with unsweetened cocoa powder, and mix to your regular protein shake to make it even more nutritious.
- Mix the nuts with berries in muffins preparation for breakfast.
- Toss the nuts and add to stir-fries.
- Chopped nuts can be topped on fish and chicken dishes.
- Roasted and roughly crushed nuts can be added to pasta sauce for an extra nutty taste.
- Toasted nuts can be used with pasta or noodles.
- Prepare a multigrain flour adding nuts powder in addition to other grains.
Precautions of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are not found to be cautious, but those who with allergic to nuts should avoid or consult your doctor if you are interested in adding this to your diet.
Hazelnuts contain calories, so you must check on your regular calorie consumption and balance it with hazelnuts in your diet.