Hazelnuts: Benefits, Nutrition, And Risks

Reviewed by Dr. Somi Igbene, PhD, ANutr
Written by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Hazelnuts are rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants. They belong to the genus Coryllus and the family of Betulaceae (1). The health benefits of hazelnuts include blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, improved heart health, and reduced cancer risk. These nuts taste delicious too. You can eat hazelnuts raw, roasted, or even as a delectable spread. Read on to know more about hazelnuts, their health benefits, recipes, and any potential side effects.

Health Benefits Of Hazelnuts

1. May Help Reduce Weight Gain

Hazelnuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and bioactive compounds including tocopherol and phytosterols (1). Animal studies showed that hazelnuts in a high-fat diet significantly decreased body weight (2). In fact, they are also proven to improve the quality of diet for people who are obese or have insulin resistance (3). The fiber and protein content in hazelnuts may also keep you satiated for longer periods and help curb cravings.

However, more studies are warranted to establish a clear link between eating hazelnuts and a reduced risk of weight gain.

2. May Help Protect Against Cell Damage

Hazelnuts contain antioxidants like tocopherol (1). Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that may otherwise damage cells. Bioactive compounds like tocopherol (vitamin E) help fight cell damage. They also may have anti-cancer effects (4). In a study, these nuts were linked to reduced oxidative stress in children (5). Including hazelnuts in your diet may also boost immunity.

3. May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

Hazelnut antioxidants may help lower cholesterol levels (1). In a study, hazelnuts could lower cholesterol levels in individuals with high cholesterol (6). A hazelnut-enriched diet was also found to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) without reducing the levels of good cholesterol (7). This way, nuts may also reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. However, do consume hazelnuts in moderation as they are high in calories.

4. May Help Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Hazelnuts may support heart health by keeping cholesterol levels in check (7). The cardio-protective properties of hazelnuts can be attributed to their phytochemicals and phenolic compounds. These have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease (CHDs), and stroke (1).

5. May Help Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Regular nut consumption (including hazelnuts) may help improve insulin sensitivity (8). In studies, individuals with metabolic syndrome showed improved insulin sensitivity after a daily intake of 30 grams of mixed nuts (15 g walnuts, 7.5 g almonds, and 7.5 g hazelnuts) (9). Lowering insulin sensitivity may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, further research is needed to understand the role of hazelnuts in improving insulin sensitivity.

6. May Support Healthy Bowel Movement

Hazelnuts are a great source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber improves digestion and the health of the gastrointestinal tract. It helps bulk up the stool, optimizes nutrient uptake, and supports a healthy bowel movement. It can also help treat acid reflux, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids (10).

7. May Help Reduce Inflammation

Consuming hazelnuts may help ease inflammation as they are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. A hazelnut-enriched diet in subjects with high cholesterol was found to lower inflammatory markers (11). However, more research is needed to validate these claims.

8. May Improve Sperm Count

Preliminary studies have reported that adding hazelnuts to one’s diet significantly improves their total sperm count (12). The other parameters studied are sperm vitality, motility, and morphology (12). However, extensive research and more clinical trials are needed to understand this mechanism of hazelnuts.

In the following section, we will look at the nutritional profile of hazelnuts.

Hazelnut Nutrition

Although hazelnuts are high in calories, they are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats.
One ounce of hazelnuts contains (13):

  • Calories: 176
  • Total fat: 17 grams
  • Protein: 4.2 grams
  • Carbs: 4.7 grams
  • Fiber: 2.7 grams
  • Vitamin E: 4.2 grams
  • Thiamin: 0.2 grams
  • Magnesium: 45.6 milligrams
  • Copper: 0.5 milligrams
  • Manganese: 1.7 milligrams

Hazelnuts are rich in fiber. One ounce contains 11.2 grams of fiber. The nuts are also a great source of healthy fats like omega fatty acids and oleic acids. They also are rich in vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Apart from snacking on these nuts, you can also include them in your diet in various other ways. Keep reading to find out how.

How To Add Hazelnuts To Your Diet?

Hazelnuts may be consumed either naturally or roasted. Roasting improves their texture, flavor, or color depending upon time and temperature (1). People often eat hazelnuts as a snack or add them to salads. Ground hazelnuts can be incorporated into various recipes.

Hazelnut Recipes

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Your favorite breakfast spread does not need to be laden with sugar and palm oil. Try this simple but healthy hazelnut spread to satiate all your sweet cravings.

You Will Need

  • 16 ounces of dry-roasted unsalted hazelnuts (about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ ounces of chopped dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Process

  1. Place hazelnuts, salt, chocolate, and vanilla into a blender.
  2. Start at the lowest speed and blend the mixture for a minute.
  3. Increase speed and blend about 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Store in an airtight container. You can also refrigerate this spread.
  • Candied Hazelnuts

Looking for something healthy to munch between movie marathons? Candied hazelnuts are crunchy and chewy dessert bites. They are a perfect guilt-free indulgence

You Will Need

  • ½ a cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 12 ounces of blanched or raw hazelnuts (about 3 cups)

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F.
  2. Whisk the brown sugar, egg white, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Add the nuts and toss to coat.
  4. Spread nut mixture in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 250° F until crisp and toasted, for about 50 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Let it cool completely.
  7. Store the nuts in an airtight container for a week.
  • Mini Hazelnut Tarts

Tiny bite-sized desserts are the rage now. Whip up these mini hazelnut tarts in a jiffy!

You Will Need

  •  4.5 ounces of whole-wheat pastry flour
  •  ½ cup of raw hazelnuts
  •  1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  •  ¼ cup of unsalted butter, softened
  •  2 tablespoons of canola oil
  •  1 tablespoon of 1% low-fat milk
  •  Baking spray with flour
  •  ½ cup of chocolate-hazelnut spread (try our recipe from above)
  •  3 ounces of 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  •  2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  •  1 ½ tablespoons of light cream
  •  ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Pulse flour and half a cup of raw nuts in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Beat the granulated sugar, butter, oil, and milk at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until well combined, for about 90 seconds.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Divide the dough evenly between 2 (12-cup) miniature muffin pans coated with baking spray.
  6. Press the dough into the bottom and up sides of the cups.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the crusts from pans.
  9. Process spread cream cheese, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Spoon 1 ½ teaspoons of the filling into each tart crust. Chill for an hour. Top each crust with two candied hazelnuts.

While hazelnuts are beneficial, they may pose some risks. Let us understand more in the next section.

Risks And Considerations

  • People With Allergies

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people with nut allergies should be cautious of including hazelnuts in their diet. Make sure you check if you are allergic to hazelnuts.

  • May Lead To Weight Gain

Consuming excess hazelnuts can lead to weight gain as they are high in calories. Eating hazelnuts in moderation is beneficial to health.

The benefits of hazelnuts can be attributed to the many nutrients present in them. You can include hazelnuts in your regular diet as they can reduce weight gain, protect against cell damage, lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and improve insulin sensitivity. They also support healthy bowel movements, reduce inflammation, and improve sperm count. Although these nuts are generally considered safe, they may trigger weight gain if consumed in excess. Also, some people are allergic to hazelnuts, so caution is advised. Try including hazelnuts in your diet with any of the recipes mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to eat hazelnuts every day?

Yes, you can eat hazelnuts in moderation (around 20) every day.

Do hazelnuts induce sleep?

Yes, hazelnuts contain tryptophan that may induce sleep. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

Are raw hazelnuts safe to eat?

Yes, raw hazelnuts are safe to consume.

Is Hazelnut good for skin?

Yes, hazelnuts are rich in fatty acids and vitamin E that may improve skin health.

Key Takeaways

  • Hazelnuts are delicious nuts with high antioxidant and fat levels.
  • Adding these nuts to your diet may reduce weight gain, lower cholesterol levels, and protect the body from free radical damage.
  • You can make a health hazelnut chocolate spread or candies hazelnuts at home.
  • While hazelnuts are considered safe, people with nut allergies should avoid eating them.

References:

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Hazelnut
    https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-15-7470-2_29
  2. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/
  3. The Dose of Hazelnuts Influences Acceptance and Diet Quality but Not Inflammatory Markers and Body Composition in Overweight and Obese Individuals
    https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/143/8/1254/4641649
  4. Vitamin E transporters in cancer therapy
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25466495/
  5. Can hazelnut intake modulate oxidative stress and lipid-related markers in children with primary dyslipidemia?
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305698985_Can_hazelnut_intake_modulate_oxidative_stress_and_lipid-related_markers_in_children_with_primary_dyslipidemia
  6. Hazelnut-enriched diet improves cardiovascular risk biomarkers beyond a lipid-lowering effect in hypercholesterolemic subjects
    https://www.lipidjournal.com/article/S1933-2874(12)00378-9/fulltext
  7. Effects of Hazelnut Consumption on Blood Lipids and Body Weight: A Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188407/
  8. Benefits of Nut Consumption on Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Multiple Potential Mechanisms of Actions
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707743/
  9. 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/
  10. Health benefits of dietary fiber
    https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012?login=true
  11. Hazelnut-enriched diet improves cardiovascular risk biomarkers beyond a lipid-lowering effect in hypercholesterolemic subjects
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23415431/
  12. Effect of nut consumption on semen quality and functionality in healthy men consuming a Western-style diet: a randomized controlled trial
    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/108/5/953/5201549
  13. Nuts hazelnuts or filberts
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170581/nutrients
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Dr. Somi Igbene

(PhD, MSc (Human Nutrition), ANutr)
Somi is a biomedical scientist, a registered nutritionist (ANutr), and a nutritional therapist. She helps her clients reverse prediabetes, lower... more

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