Although hazelnuts are high in calories, they are also high in nutritional value. Like many nuts, they can provide a number of health benefits as long as they are consumed in moderation.
1. For stronger bones
Hazelnuts are an excellent source of a nutrient known as manganese. Just a single ounce of the nuts can provide up to 87 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Research has suggested that manganese, in combination with other nutrients, can contribute to improving bone mineral density. As we know, this can help vulnerable individuals reduce the risk of osteoporosis and painful joints.
2. For a feeling of fullness
“Like most nuts, hazelnuts are nutrient-dense,” Rachel Fine, a registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition service, told Elite Daily. “Specifically, they are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid, and polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.”
All these fats, along with the fiber content, can help promote satiety and prevent mindless snacking. So when looking at studies that show a link between nut consumption and reduced weight gain, this may be an important factor to consider.
3. For improved heart health
Hazelnuts are rich in omega-9 fatty acids, which contribute to the increase of HDL and reduction of LDL, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol respectively. This helps prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thus reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other problems.
In general, the heart-healthy nuts are high in unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats.
“The lowering effect of hazelnuts on LDL cholesterol serum concentration is similar to that found with a variety of nuts, particularly walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and pecan nuts,” one study stated.
4. For protecting older adults
Researchers at Oregon State University recently revealed how consuming hazelnuts could help improve the levels of vitamin E and magnesium in older adults. For this age group in particular, low levels of these two nutrients have been linked to age-related health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“Vitamin E and magnesium are two of the most under-consumed micronutrients in the U.S. population,” said corresponding author Maret Traber, adding that participants also saw decreases in their glucose and LDL levels. However, do note that this study was funded by the Hazelnut Marketing Board of Oregon.
5. For preventing cell damage
Hazelnuts are a great source of antioxidants, which are “compounds that protect against the oxidation of cells,” according to Medical News Today. “They reduce the extent of cell damage from free radicals.”
While more studies are required, it has also been suggested that antioxidants like vitamin E might help in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer such as breast, prostate, and colon cancers.