Why You Should Eat More Hazelnuts

We’re nuts about nuts! They’re packed with healthy fat, protein and fiber. We have written a lot about nuts over the years. Today, we’re focusing specifically on hazelnuts.

We’ve all seen the commercials for the chocolate spread that swears it’s a healthy part of breakfast because it includes hazelnuts. It features a mom spreading it thickly on toast to give her kids and husband a nutritious way to start the day. We’re sad to say, those commercials are misleading, and that spread is filled with sugar. You might as well feed your family candy. But the nuts themselves are great!

One ounce of hazelnuts has 178 calories, 4.7 grams of carbs, 2.7 grams of fiber, 4.2 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat. High amounts of fat always make people question how healthy a food is. But, the fat in nuts is the healthy kind that aids the body. An ounce also contains 87 percent of your daily manganese, 24 percent of your copper, 21 percent of your vitamin E, 12 percent of your thiamin and 12 percent of your magnesium. They also contain folate, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6 and zinc. Unfortunately, they contain phytic acid. While that doesn’t harm you, it does lessen your body’s ability to absorb minerals like iron and zinc.

Hazelnuts have been linked to lower blood sugar in studies. Eating 30 grams of mixed nuts, including hazelnuts, was linked to a lower risk of blood sugar problems, heart disease and cancer. Over 12 weeks, people in the study had improved insulin sensitivity.

Nuts, in general, have been linked to lower body weight and a reduced risk of weight gain. While they are high in fat, eating a portion of nuts as a snack is good for you! They are high in fiber which helps bowel health and reduces hunger. It’s possible that, because they reduce appetite, people who enjoy nuts as a snack eat less.

While hazelnuts are high in fat, they help lower LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” type. Research has shown that eating more hazelnuts while not increasing your calorie intake can aid your cholesterol levels. That means you should replace other snacks with nuts. In addition to fighting cholesterol, they also improve other biomarkers for heart health and reduce inflammation. Fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients in hazelnuts can aid blood pressure.

One of the most wonderful things about hazelnuts is how easy they are to enjoy. You can add them to salads, bake with them and add them to meat dishes. Hazelnut flour is a great low-carb baking option. Hazelnut butter is available as an alternative to peanut butter. But our favorite way to eat hazelnuts is just dry roasted as a snack! Our only tip — leave the chocolate spread on the shelf!

Banner image: Engin Akyurt via Unsplash

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