Hazelnuts present in chocolates, coffee, and spreads are good for skin, hair, and overall health. One of the richest sources of vitamin E, hazelnuts are one of the most healthy nuts with a slightly sweet and crunchy flavour. However, non-traditional food is not easily available in the market.
This blog will tell you about the various nutritional components of hazelnut, its benefits, and potential side effects.
What Is Hazelnut?
Hazelnut is a brown-coloured exotic fruit from the hazelnut tree. It belongs to the nut family. Hazelnut is commonly used in dairy and confectionery items like coconut like milkshakes, coffee, pastries, cookies, and spreads. We can also have raw, roasted, or blanched hazelnuts. Commercial hazelnuts are usually grown in large quantities in Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
Hazelnut Nutrition Value
Hazelnuts are a rich source of nutrition as they contain unsaturated fatty acids, protein, fibres, and phytochemicals. They also contain micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and selenium, along with polyphenols and B-complex vitamins. The nutritional value of 100g of hazelnut has been provided below.
Total fat: 61g
Total carbohydrate: 17g
- Dietary fibre: 9.7g
- Sugar: 4.3g
Iron: 4.7 mg
Calcium: 114 mg
Potassium: 680 mg
Magnesium: 163 mg
Manganese: 6.175 mg
Phosphorus: 290 mg
Selenium: 2.4 mg
Zinc: 2.45 mg
Beta carotene: 11.00 mcg
Vitamin B1: 0.643 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.113 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.563 mg
Vitamin C: 6.3 mg
Vitamin E: 15.03 mg
Vitamin K: 14.2 mcg
The following are some amazing hazelnut benefits for health, skin, and hair.
1. Aids in Digestion
Research suggests that dietary fibre, polyphenol compounds, and unsaturated fatty acids present in hazelnuts increase the number of microbes in the gut and improve gastrointestinal health. It helps treat irritable bowel syndromes and constipation. Fibre and polyphenols present in hazelnuts also work as probiotics that boost digestion. Therefore, hazelnuts are also effective in weight loss.
2. Improves Heart Health
According to research, regular consumption of hazelnuts is beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. They also decrease the cholesterol level in the body, which promotes heart health by mitigating the chances of a heart attack. Hazelnuts also contain high amounts of oleic acid, which is good for heart health.
3. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Another surprising hazelnut health benefit is that it prevents cancer. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, hazelnuts contain alpha-tocopherol, a vitamin E type rich in antioxidants. It reduces the risk of cancer by killing free radicals in the body that are responsible for damaging cell DNA. Research also suggests that regular consumption of hazelnuts effectively reduces the risk of colon cancer in women as the phytochemicals present in hazelnuts improve cell survival.
4. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Hazelnuts are also beneficial in managing blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes. A study suggests that adding hazelnut to the diet reduces high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) in the body, which helps control sugar levels.
5. Reduces Inflammation in the Body
According to research, the hazelnut has antioxidant properties. Adding them to your diet reduces inflammation and oxidative stress in the body because it contains monounsaturated fatty acids and several other healthy nutrients. Therefore, hazelnut reduces the risk of chronic diseases in the body. An animal study also suggests that hazelnuts have hypoglycemic effects in females that help manage diabetes.
6. Strengthening Bones
Hazelnut contains essential vitamins like C and E and minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium that improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
7. Boosts Immunity
Along with providing several health benefits, hazelnuts boost the body's overall immunity. According to research, high amounts of phenolic compounds and the antioxidant properties of hazelnut protect the body from infections and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
8. Increases Micronutrients in the Body
Essential vitamins and minerals for the body are together termed as macronutrients. They are necessary for overall health. One of the most significant benefits of adding hazelnut to your diet is that it provides micronutrients to the body, especially in adults. According to a study, hazelnuts increase the number of essential nutrients in the body, like vitamin E and magnesium. This reduces the risk of chronic diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, heart, and liver problems.
9. Improves Fertility
Hazelnuts can also help improve fertility in women. According to research, foods rich in protein, lipids, and antioxidants are essential for increasing fertility in women. Since hazelnuts are a good source of these nutrients, it is beneficial. Hazelnuts also contain minerals like selenium, iron, zinc, and calcium that improve female fertility.
10. Hazelnut Benefits Hair
According to research, vitamin E supplements promote hair growth in alopecia patients. Hazelnuts, being a rich source of vitamin E, are beneficial for hair growth. According to the Trichological Society, high amounts of protein, zinc, and selenium present in nuts improve scalp health and prevent hair loss.
11. Hazelnut Benefits for Skin
Hazelnut oil is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its therapeutic benefits. According to research, phenolic compounds derived from plant-based foods help slow down skin ageing, protect the skin from sun damage, and treat various skin issues like wounds, wrinkles, and acne. Hazelnuts contain high amounts of phenolic compounds like tannins and flavonoids and thus enhance skin health. They also contain antioxidants and vitamin E that reduce signs of skin ageing and add glow to the skin.
12. Hazelnut Benefits for the Brain
Our bodies need amino acids from proteins like tryptophan and tyrosine to enhance the functioning of the central nervous system. Research suggests that 100g of hazelnut contains 0.222g of tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in rare foods. It produces serotonin which can impact behaviour, depression, pain sensitivity, and alertness. Hazelnut also contains tyrosine that enhances brain functioning.
13. Hazelnut Benefits in Pregnancy
According to research, macronutrients like protein and fats and micronutrients like iron and calcium are necessary for the child's proper natal growth and development. Nuts are one of the richest protein and healthy fats sources and are beneficial during pregnancy. Having hazelnuts during the first trimester of pregnancy promotes a child's brain development. A study suggests that children of women who had nuts during pregnancy have higher IQ and memory.
How to Include Hazelnuts in Your Diet?
There are several ways to add hazelnuts to your diet. For maximum health benefits, you should have hazelnuts with your skin on.
- Raw hazelnuts:- You can have raw hazelnuts just like other nuts. However, if you want a slightly sweet taste, you can also roast them. Hazelnuts can be added to fruit or vegetable salads. You can also have them as a snack.
- Ground hazelnuts:- You can roast hazelnuts and grind them into a powder. Add the powder to various dishes made at home.
- Hazelnut chocolates and spreads:- If you do not want to have raw hazelnuts, you can add them to your diet by eating hazelnut chocolates or spreads. However, make sure that you have these in less quantity because commercial hazelnut spreads and chocolates have high sugar. You can buy unsweetened hazelnut chocolates too.
How to Roast Hazelnuts?
Roasted hazelnuts have a sweet and crunchy flavour. If you are wondering how to roast hazelnuts at home, here are the simple steps you need to follow.
- You need to preheat the oven at 360°C.
- Take 3-4 cups of hazelnut with skin and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Now, you have to insert the baking sheet into the oven.
- Keep it for 15 minutes.
- You will see that their skin is cracked and will be able to smell the fragrance. It means that the hazelnuts are roasted.
You can also roast hazelnuts in a non-stick pan for 7-8 minutes until their skin starts coming off.
Hazelnut price in India is around 900-1000 per kg. The price may be higher or lower depending on the quality of hazelnuts.
Hazelnut Side Effects
Even though hazelnuts are considered one of the healthiest nuts, they can be harmful in rare cases. Hazelnuts can cause allergic reactions in some people, like anaphylaxis, which is a fatal breathing problem.
Summing Up on Hazelnut Benefits
Hazelnuts are a rich source of essential nutrients like vitamins B, C, and E. It also contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. Hazelnuts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that promote heart health, reduce cancer risk, and improve brain function. They also promote digestion, boost immunity, and strengthen bones.
However, people who are allergic to hazelnuts can suffer from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening breathing problem. Therefore, make sure that you are not allergic to hazelnuts before having them in good amounts.
How Many Hazelnuts Should You Eat a Day?
The daily recommended value of hazelnuts is 29g to 69g. It means that you should have a maximum of 20 hazelnuts a day. Since hazelnuts are high in calories and nutritional components, you must have them only as per the recommended daily value.
Does Hazelnut Make You Fat?
Having adequate amounts of hazelnut will not make you fat. On the contrary, hazelnut contains dietary fibres that facilitate bowel movement and also help reduce weight. It also increases the body's antioxidants that help manage weight.
Do Hazelnuts Make You Sleepy?
Yes, hazelnuts can make you sleepy. It contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that produces melatonin and serotonin hormones. These hormones help regulate the sleep cycle and positively impact mood and appetite.
- Laura Di Renzo, July 2019; A Hazelnut-Enriched Diet Modulates Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Gene Expression without Weight Gain - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6637671
- Simone Perna, December 2016; Effects of Hazelnut Consumption on Blood Lipids and Body Weight: A Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5188407/
- P Casas-Agustench, February 2011; Effects of one serving of mixed nuts on serum lipids, insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20031380/
- Asım Orem, March 2013; Hazelnut-enriched diet improves cardiovascular risk biomarkers beyond a lipid-lowering effect in hypercholesterolemic subjects - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23415431/