Hazelnuts are nutritionally dense fruits, with a high content of good fats and protein that help the body perform its regenerative functions and also maintain muscle health. This article discusses 11 amazing health benefits of hazelnuts.
Hazelnuts have been a part of the human diet since prehistoric times, excavation sites in China, dating back 5000 years have evidence of hazelnut cultivation. Hazelnuts were considered one of China’s five sacred foods.
Hazelnut shells from the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras have been discovered dating back 10,000 years. Hazelnuts were a major part of the prehistoric human diet; most archeologists speculate that they ate hazelnuts to keep them full to run on hunting sprees.
Interesting facts: Hazelnuts and hazelnut trees have been surrounded by myth and magic for decades. The braches were used as rods to locate underground springs and torches made out of the wood from the hazelnut trees were lit during weddings as a sign of fertility and prosperity. Hazelnuts were one of the favorite foods for Greek physicians and they were believed to have magical healing powers. Hazelnuts are even a part of Greek mythology, with Mercury the son of Jupiter receiving a winged wand carved from hazelnut wood from his father. This hazel rod, entwined with two serpents later became a symbol of communication.
Hazelnuts are delicious and high in nutritional value; following is the nutrient content of hazelnuts based on a 100gram serving
- Dietary fiber 9.7g
- Protein 15g
- Fat 60.75g
- Carbohydrates 16.70mg
- Calcium 114.0 mg
- Iron 4.70mg
- Vitamin B6 0.563mg
- Vitamin E 15.03mg
- Vitamin K 14.2mcg
- Copper 1.725mg
- Magnesium 163.00mg
- Manganese 6.175 mg
- Phosphorus 290.00mg
- Potassium 680.00mg
- Selenium 2.4mcg
- Zinc 2.45mg
Besides these nutrients hazelnuts are also an excellent source of antioxidants and plant-based chemical compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
The nutritional composition of hazelnuts is impressive and it is definitely one of the healthiest foods. Following are 11 amazing benefits of Hazelnuts
1. Heart Health
Tree nuts in general are considered beneficial for heart health, hazelnuts are no exception. The combination of magnesium and potassium make hazelnuts excellent vasodilators. They are also rich in dietary fiber, which helps clean out the arteries and blood vessels whilst promoting the removal of LDL or bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is responsible for many other chronic diseases such as diabetes. Hazelnuts are high in good fats and amino acids, which are responsible for the regenerative processes that the body carries out on a regular basis. The cardiovascular system greatly benefits from HDL cholesterol and the antioxidants present in hazelnuts calm the inflammation and lower oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system.
2. Managing Diabetes
Magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium are minerals associated with prevention of diabetes. Hazelnuts provide a good combination of these minerals, which is beneficial for anyone suffering from diabetes. The capability of hazel nuts to promote the storage of good cholesterol reduces the bad cholesterol. LDL cholesterol has a negative impact on diabetics and is often responsible for worsening the symptoms. The dietary fiber and amino acids in hazelnuts are also a bonus. Studies conducted on diabetics suggest that those who introduced tree nuts into their diets actually experienced lesser spikes in their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
3. Brain Health
Hazelnuts are considered food for the brain along with pecans and walnuts. Why? They contain good fats, protein and amino acids, which actually help in cell regeneration and promote healthy brain functions. The combination of vitamin E, K, thiamine, and selenium present in hazelnuts make it excellent for the brain. It may also be valuable in preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as this improves memory and brain activity.
4. Cancer Prevention
Hazelnuts are a delicious source of antioxidants; they contain vitamin E, which has shown properties to reduce the risk of lung, breast and prostate cancer. The array of antioxidants that hazelnuts have is very useful in fighting off oxidative stress, which is majorly responsible for the occurrence of cancer. Hazelnuts are rich in thiamine, selenium; lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful antioxidants that can help build a stronger immunity – combating symptoms of cancer.
5. Weight Loss
Obesity can lead to serious health issues and maintaining a healthy weight is necessary for overall health. Hazelnuts are high in good fats and dietary fiber, which helps curb excessive cravings and are a healthier option for snacking. Hazelnuts are rich in many nutrients, which helps keep the energy levels up in between meals, keeping your weight in check.
6. Preventing Neural Damage
Hazelnuts are an excellent source of folate, which is recommended for expecting mothers as it helps prevent any neural damage and ensures a healthy brain. Folate is also excellent for keeping the brain healthy and promoting proper transmission of messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
7. Healthy Muscles
Magnesium, vitamin K, and calcium are the ideal combinations to keep the muscular system of the body healthy. They help keep the muscles relaxed and replenished, which reduce soreness and chronic muscle. The protein content in the hazelnuts is also very useful in building muscle and they make an ideal pre and post work out snack.
8. Bone Health
Bone density loss can lead to severe inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and joint pain. Hazelnuts are high in calcium, potassium magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals that keep the bone density intact as you age. Manganese helps build stronger bones and also prevents the onset of osteoporosis in women.
Anemia is caused due to iron deficiency and most diets are deficient in this. The loss of iron is extremely harmful to health as most body functions will completely shut down. Hazelnuts have an impressive combination of folate, copper, and iron, which works in unison to produce more red blood platelets and also increases hemoglobin in the body.
10. Nervous System Health
The body has an intricate web of nerves running through it. To keep the system running adequately hazelnuts help produce myelin, this is the sheath of the nerves. This is necessary to ensure the transmission of electric signals throughout the body and brain.
11. Healthy Skin
Hazels not only promote internal health but they also help the body in keeping the appearance of the skin healthy. Hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E and C. These vitamins are regarded as the holy grail of skincare and the combination of fatty acids makes them the best food for the healthy and glowing skin.
Hazelnuts and chocolate is a match made in heaven, adding hazelnuts to your diets as snacks or dessert can be very beneficial for overall body health. A piece of dark chocolate and a few hazelnuts will help your body internally as well as curb that dessert craving.