While the rich, creamy flavor of the hazelnut is frequently used in sweets and coffee, the nutty gems are rarely showcased on their own. This is a shame, for not only are these treenuts delicious in their pure form, but they also offer a slew of health benefits.
Below are the top 8 health boons you can glean from these marble-sized nuts, also known as filberts.
Stuffed with monounsaturated fatty acids (aka, the “good” fat), hazelnuts can help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, lowering your overall “bad” cholesterol levels and promoting a healthy heart.
Full of fiber.
These tiny nuts are extremely fibrous, and can help you feel fuller, longer, which can prevent overeating and promote weight loss. Pop a handful of hazelnuts into that bag of trail mix along with their more popular cousins, the peanut and the almond.
With 46 mg of magnesium per serving, filberts can help you lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of diabetes – just a few of the many benefits of magnesium.
With 32 mg of calcium in one serving, hazelnuts can help build strong bones, making these nuts a great choice for those avoiding dairy.
Beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol found in hazelnuts, has been shown to reduce the risk of breast and prostrate cancer, and can help battle lymphocytic leukemia. While munching hazelnuts wont guarantee you clearance from cancer, incorporating cancer-fighting foods into your diet can lessen your chances of developing cancerous cells.
The high levels magnesium and calcium present in hazelnuts can help you maintain and grow your muscles. Magnesium helps to rebuild muscle tissue, while proper levels of calcium can help prevent muscle fatigue and soreness. For gym junkies and fitness buffs, dosing yourself with hazelnuts can act as a great post-workout snack.
Hazelnuts are plump with Vitamin E, a great inflammation buster, and supporter of healthy brain activity. One serving of the small round tree nut provides your entire daily dose of manganese, which supports a health brain. A recent study by Nutritional Neuroscience showed that hazelnuts aid memory, and can even lower anxiety.
Vitamin E wins again when it comes to supporting your skin, the largest organ on your body. A diet rich in vitamin E helps battle signs of aging (hello, wrinkle lines and dark spots) as well as sun damage. While you can’t forgo sunscreen in favor of vitamins alone, eating hazelnuts and other vitamin E-rich foods before that tropical vacation can help your skin fight off sunburn and damage from ultraviolet rays.
You can enjoy hazelnuts raw or roasted. Toss them in a food processor to make your own hazelnut butter, and add some cocoa powder for homemade Nutella. When enjoying hazelnuts, it’s important to remember your portions. While a handful may be heart healthy, downing too many nuts in one sitting can be a major fat bomb. Too much fat, even if it’s the “right” kind, can quickly become a caloric nightmare, so aim to enjoy 1 oz of nuts (roughly 12 to 20 nuts) in one sitting.