Health Benefits of Hazelnut

by Sharon Hopkins


Everyone loves hazelnuts. Either as part of a delicious dessert or blended with warm milk and sugar, a hazelnut topping can add that extra punch, adding immense flavor to any dish. In fact, with growing awareness of health and fitness, the use of hazelnuts has become more common. It is popular as a snack too. Unlike sugar filled desserts that tend to be extremely unhealthy, hazelnuts make a healthy, delicious and more nutritious option. That is the reason why many doctors are nowadays recommending hazelnuts to their patients.

Hazelnuts are native to the southern part of Europe, particularly Turkey. These nuts are found in clusters on the tree, much like how grapes grow on vines. After they become ripe, these nuts fall from the branches and are ready for consumption. The sweet tasting nut is used as a remedy for many diseases because of the nutrients that are present in it.

Nutrition Facts

One of the biggest advantages of hazelnuts is that they can be eaten raw. Raw hazelnuts are good for you as they retain the goodness and nutrients present in the nut. Hazelnuts are extremely good for health as they are rich in many vitamins and minerals.

These nuts are abundant in minerals and contain a wide range of minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and manganese. This nut also contains vitamin K, which is an essential component of blood. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), phylloquinone (vitamin K1), folates (vitamin B9), niacin (vitamin B3) and thiamine (vitamin B1) are some of the other vitamins present in hazelnuts in addition to vitamin K.

Apart from these vitamins and minerals, amino acids, aspartic acid, arginine, glutamic acid and alanine are also present in hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are also rich sources of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Additionally, hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber.

Health Benefits

Hazelnuts like many other nuts have more nutrients in them than you could have thought possible. This tiny nut is packed with vitamins and minerals that promote good health. The usage of these nuts as a natural remedy has increased as these nuts are believed to help prevent spells of dizziness and are even believed to prevent cancer.
Enumerated below are the health benefits of hazelnuts:

  • Hazelnut is a good source of polyunsaturated fats and monosaturated fats that protect the heart. That is the reason why many doctors advise heart patients to include hazelnuts in their diet.
  • Vitamin E is also found in plenty in hazelnuts. Vitamin E is very good for the muscles of the body, especially the heart muscles. Even simple physical activities such as walking are dependent on the strength of the muscles. If the muscles are in good shape, it makes simple tasks much easier to perform. Additionally, vitamin E also helps improve the health of the skin, hair as well as the nails. This is the reason why hazelnut oil is used as oil for hair.
  • A rich source of phytochemicals, hazelnuts contains quercetin, kaempherol and proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins present in hazelnuts help relieve allergic symptoms, improve circulation and benefit the brain as well. These are the substances that found in other health promoting foods such as green tea and red wine.
  • As a source of protein and dietary fiber, eating hazelnuts are a great option. This is because one cup of hazelnuts contains about 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. Vegetarians in particular can benefit from eating hazelnuts, which can help them get their daily protein requirement through a nonmeat source. Additionally, as they are rich in fiber, they help smoothen bowel movement and relieve constipation.
  • Hazelnuts are a good source of the B complex vitamins as well. B complex vitamins are essential for the body as deficiency can cause problems of the nervous system, depression, birth defects, and many other illnesses. A handful of hazelnuts will ensure that your body gets enough B complex vitamins, especially if you do not eat meat or eggs.
  • These nuts are also a rich source of other essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. These minerals help in regulating the circulation of blood. Improved blood circulation not only means proper functioning of your body, it also means that the overall immune system functions better, keeping fever, colds and everyday illnesses at bay.
  • For those who have iron deficiencies, doctors recommend that they include hazelnuts in their diet. This is because a handful of these nuts gives a third of the required amount of iron per day. In the body, Iron is needed for the blood to absorb oxygen. The more iron you blood has, the more oxygen it can transport to different parts of your body and the more energetic and full of life you will feel. Consuming hazelnuts can prevent you from feeling tired and fatigued.
  • Hazelnuts are also believed to have the additional benefit of eliminating the factors that lead to the development of all types of cancers. While this is still not proven and the relationship between hazelnuts and cancer is under study, including hazelnuts in your diet every day may help decrease your chances of cancer.
  • One very important benefit of hazelnuts is that they provide a lot of calories in one single serving. About 100 grams of these nuts can provide you with over 600 calories. Therefore, snack on a handful of these nuts before going to your gym and after a rigorous exercise routine to ensure healthy pre and post workout nutrition.

Considering the nutritional value of hazelnuts, these should definitely be a part of our daily diet. Including a cup full of these nuts as a snack or in some recipe every day can go a long way towards ensuring that you provide your body with a whole load of nutrients on a daily basis. You could use them as a part of a salad, as topping over dessert, or even use them as garnish for a wide variety of dishes.  However, as mentioned earlier, hazelnuts contain a lot of calories, so if you are overweight, you should speak with your doctor first.

Reference:
http://thescholarship.ecu.edu/bitstream/handle/10342/3904/London_ecu_0600M_10587.pdf?sequence=1


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