8 Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
The hazelnut is a small, round nut that grows on a tree in the same family as the peach. Hazelnuts have been consumed for centuries and are often used as a spread or in desserts. Hazelnuts are also known as filberts. They are a type of nut that most closely resembles an acorn.
Hazelnuts grow in clusters and have a hard outer shell that must be removed before they can be eaten. Hazelnuts are grown in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Hazelnuts can be eaten raw, roasted or ground into a paste. They can be used in recipes for desserts, ice cream and sauces. They are also great as a topping on salads and cereals. Hazelnuts are rich in protein and healthy fats which make them a great addition to your diet.
In recent years, hazelnut cultivation has increased dramatically because of the growing demand for the nuts in the European market. It is now grown in various regions of Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific region including Turkey, China and Japan. Hazelnut trees have been cultivated since at least 2500 BC by the Greeks who called them ‘filberts’ after Saint Philibert during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian. The global production of hazelnuts was 10,000 tones in 2014.The world consumption is projected to be around 300,000 tones in 2018.Turkey produces 40% of hazelnuts globally in 2016 and China produces 36%.In recent years, Turkey has gained market share as both a producer and consumer of hazelnuts.
Hazelnuts are sold in pre-shelled or shelled form, depending on the processing method used. In North America, hazelnut “filberts” are typically shelled before consumption, while they are still encased in the shell in Europe and Asia.
Hazelnuts are not only a delicious nut, but they also have many health benefits.
They are also a good source of potassium, copper and magnesium. Hazelnuts have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Hazelnuts are also rich in polyphenols, which help protect the cells from oxidative damage.
Hazelnut oil is a good substitute for olive oil because it has a higher smoke point (about 300 degrees Fahrenheit) and less fat than olive oil.
The benefits of hazelnuts can be summarized as follows:
- They provide a good source of protein.
- They contain vitamin E.
- They contain high levels of fiber.
- They are low in saturated fats.
1. Packed with Nutrients
Hazelnuts have a great nutrient profile. Although they are high in calories, they are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats.
One ounce (28 grams, or about 20 whole kernels) of hazelnuts contains:
- Calories: 176
- Total fat: 17 grams
- Protein: 4.2 grams
- Carbs: 4.7 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 12% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
- Copper: 24% of the RDI
- Manganese: 87% of the RDI
Hazelnuts also contain decent amounts of vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Additionally, they are a rich source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats and contain a good amount of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, such as oleic acid.
Furthermore, a one-ounce serving provides 2.7 grams of dietary fiber, which accounts for about 11% of the DV. However, hazelnuts contain phytic acid, which has been shown to impair the absorption of some minerals, like iron and zinc, from the nuts.
2. Loaded With Antioxidants
Hazelnuts are loaded with antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress, which can damage cell structure and promote aging and cancer.
The most abundant antioxidants in hazelnuts are known as phenolic compounds. They are proven to help decrease blood cholesterol and inflammation. They could also be beneficial for heart health and protecting against cancer.
The majority of the antioxidants present are concentrated in the skin of the nut. However, this antioxidant content could decrease after the roasting process. Therefore, it is recommended to consume whole, unroasted kernels with the skin rather than peeled kernels, either roasted or unroasted.
3. Good for the Heart
Hazelnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats, which are known to lower cholesterol levels and improve the blood flow to the heart.
Hazelnuts are a great source of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps protect the heart. Hazelnuts have been shown to decrease bad cholesterol levels by up to 20%. They also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
A study found that people who consumed hazelnuts had a 16% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, which is linked to heart disease risk.
4. Decrease Inflammation
A study showed that hazelnuts may decrease inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome.
The study found that people who ate a daily serving of hazelnuts for two weeks had lower levels of inflammation markers than those who did not eat hazelnuts. This is because hazelnuts are high in vitamin E and low in saturated fat.
There are many factors that contribute to inflammation. Researchers have been investigating the effects of different foods on inflammation and their results are starting to be published. Inflammation is a general term used to describe any response by the body’s immune system in response to a perceived insult or injury.
A new study from the University of Michigan has found that hazelnuts may provide significant protection against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, and heart disease. The study was conducted on rats who were fed a diet rich in hazelnuts for six weeks and then injected with an inflammatory agent called carrageenan.
The researchers found that the rats who were fed hazelnuts had less swelling and fewer white blood cells than those who were not fed hazelnuts
5. Improves insulin sensitivity
Hazelnuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are known to help in improving insulin sensitivity.
The study was conducted on a group of people who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that hazelnuts improved insulin sensitivity. This is because they are rich in polyphenols.
Hazelnuts are rich in polyphenols, which are linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. These polyphenols also help regulate blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
6. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Hazelnuts are not a cancer cure, but they may be able to help reduce the risk of cancer. They are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against heart disease and certain cancers.
A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that consuming hazelnuts reduced prostate cancer risk by as much as 20%. Hazelnuts contain a number of proteins that may be responsible for these effects. These include arginine, which is an amino acid that can reduce inflammation in the body, and proanthocyanidins, which are antioxidants that can also help fight inflammation.
7. Improves sperm count
Hazelnuts are a great source of Vitamin E and Selenium. These two nutrients can help improve sperm count in men.
A study on the effects of hazelnuts on sperm count was conducted and published in the Journal of Andrology. The study found that eating a handful of hazelnuts every day for a month increased sperm count by up to 50% and improved fertility in men with low sperm counts.
The study is based on the research done by Dr. David Albert Jones, a reproductive biologist at UCLA who has been studying male fertility for over 30 years. He found that eating one cup of hazelnuts every day can increase sperm count by up to 50%.
8. Helps for Weight Loss
Hazelnuts are high in healthy fats, which can help you lose weight. Hazelnuts can be used in place of unhealthy snacks like chips or other fried foods. The hazelnut has been found to have a positive effect on weight loss.
They are also a rich source of protein with high amounts of heart-healthy fats. Their high fibre content helps to keep you fuller for longer periods of time which can help with weight loss.
Hazelnuts contain very low amounts of carbohydrate (1g per ounce) which means they have a low glycemic index rating. Hazelnuts are a rich source of fiber, vitamin E, and manganese. One serving of hazelnuts contains 10% of the recommended daily intake for copper.
How to Add Hazelnuts to Diet?
Hazelnuts can be incorporated into the diet as a healthy snack or as an ingredient in many dishes. You can enjoy them raw, roasted, whole, sliced or ground. Interestingly enough, it seems that people prefer sliced and whole hazelnuts rather than ground ones.
While the highest concentration of antioxidants is in the skin, some recipes require you to remove the skin. This can be done by baking the kernels in the oven for about 10 minutes, which makes the skins easy to then peel.
Peeled hazelnuts can be ground to make flour for baking or to make hazelnut butter, a nutritious spread. Moreover, hazelnuts can also be coated with chocolate or spices, like cinnamon or cayenne, for a sweet or spicy treat. They also make a great complement to cakes or topping for ice creams and other desserts.
Risks and Considerations
Many people have nut allergies, including allergies to hazelnuts. When cooking for others, always check before adding the nuts to a dish.
To enjoy the health benefits of hazelnuts, a person should be mindful of the overall number of calories that they consume each day.
When adding anything to a diet, it can be easy to consume more calories than necessary, and this can lead to weight gain.
Hazelnuts can be found in the fall and winter months and grow on trees in clusters. The outside shell of the hazelnut is bumpy and brown, while the inside has a white, creamy texture.
Hazelnuts are high in protein, fiber, folate, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, magnesium and manganese. Hazelnuts also have less saturated fat than other nuts which makes them a great snack for those who want to maintain their weight or lose weight.
It is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats which help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
It also contains an amino acid called L-arginine which helps to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of stroke. Hazelnuts contain high levels of vitamin E which can help to reduce the risk of cancer.
On the downside, just like other nuts, hazelnuts may cause allergic reactions in some people.
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