Nuts are an incredibly popular food.
This popularity has risen at an extremely rapid rate in response to the increasingly common trends of low-carb and ketogenic ways of eating, due to their healthy fat content.
But the good news is nuts are not strictly limited to those undertaking these kinds of diets. They can (and should) be enjoyed regularly by anyone, no matter their style of eating.
Nuts are full of high quality fats, they also contain number of important vitamins and minerals, and can have a host of positive effects on health.
And one of those types of nuts that are arguably the healthiest, are hazelnuts.
Interestingly, hazelnuts, like all other tree nuts, are actually considered a fruit.
Conversely, the reason that nuts are rarely considered a fruit is due to their flavour and content. Where fruit are often sweet, and high in carbohydrates, nuts are quite dry and salty, and contain an abundance of fat.
Hazelnuts (occasionally known as filbert) are a nut that offer extremely high nutritional value, for a relatively low calorie content. They contain a considerable amount of protein, a large portion of high quality fibre, an abundance of monounsaturated fats, and a huge amount of additional vitamins and minerals.
Fascinatingly, hazelnuts differ from a number of other nuts in that they contain are number of specific compounds that have been said to protect against heart disease, improve cognitive capacity, and may even help promote weight loss.
Hazelnuts are an extremely versatile nut that can be used in a myriad of different ways. While they are frequently consumed both raw and roasted, they are also known to be used is pastes, and as an addition to healthy salads and meals. Furthermore, they are commonly used to enhance the flavour of coffee and pastries, and can be eaten as the perfect after dinner treat.
A single serving of Hazelnuts (1oz) contains 176 calories, coming from 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrate (of which a whopping 3 grams is fibre!), and 17 grams of fat.
In addiction their fantastic nutritional value, they also contain a large portion of fantastic micronutrients, including Manganese, Vitamin E, Thiamine, Magnesium, Vitmain B-6, Folate, Phosphorus, and Iron (among trace amounts of a large number of other vitamins and minerals).
In the following article I will further outline the incredible impact these nuts can have on health!
Hazelnuts can reduce the risk of developing heart disease
While all tree nuts have been suggested to impact heart health in a positive manor, hazelnuts can arguably have the greatest effect.
The huge portion of monounsaturated fatty acids found in hazelnuts have been shown cause significant reductions in the amount of LDL Cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) in the blood, while simultaneously causing subsequent increases in the amount of HDL Cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol) in the blood.
A reduction in the amount of blood LDL cholesterol has been associated with a slowed amount of plaque build-up in the arteries, which has further been linked to reduced blood pressure and improved heart health.
Furthermore, an increased amount of HDL cholesterol in the blood has been shown strong associations with an improved blood lipid profile, and reduced systemic inflammation, both of which have been suggested to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly.
As an added bonus, Hazelnuts also contain a decent portion of Magnesium, which has shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure, further improving heart health and reducing the risk cardiovascular disease.
By simply eating Hazelnuts regular, we can cause significant improvements in heart health, while also reducing our risk of developing cardiovascular complications drastically.
Hazelnuts can reduce the risk of Diabetes
As previously mentioned, Hazelnuts contain an abundance of monounsaturated fatty acids. In addition to improving blood cholesterol levels, the consumption of these fats has also shown to impact diabetes in a positive manner.
The consumption of these fats has been shown to increase satiety (sensations of fullness) while also reducing hunger signals. This has lead to reduced consumption of highly processed foods, which have shown to impact blood sugar levels considerably.
This is turn has been shown to improve blood sugar levels positively, which has been linked to an increased risk of type II diabetes, and improved insulin sensitivity. By improving insulin sensitivity, we increase our ability to manage our energy levels, and also the level of fat and glucose in the blood (an important component of diabetic management)
In fact, simply just introducing these nuts into the has been shown to cause significant improvements in blood profiles of those currently suffering from type II diabetes.
Hazelnuts are filled with Helpful Antioxidants
Hazelnuts contain a huge amount of vitamins and minerals, some of which are known to have a number of anti-oxidant properties.
These vitamins and minerals have been shown to remove the cancer causing free radicals found in the body, which can ultimately reduce our risk of developing disease and illness, and may even fight against cancer.
Furthermore, the anti-oxidant like effects that these micronutrients have on the body has also shown to reduce inflammation at a cellular level. This can further support the function of the immune and digestive systems, while also reducing our risk of developing diseases.
Hazelnuts contains a good portion of fibre
Hazelnuts contain a large amount of fibre, which is a form of carbohydrate that isn’t actually absorbed into the stomach.
Instead, fibre actually absorbs liquid in the stomach, and then proceeds to expand. This plays an important role in weight management, as after we consume hazelnuts, the fibre contained within them absorbs liquid within the stomach, and expands rapidly.
This expansion fills the gut, increasing sensations of fullness and satisfaction, while simultaneously reducing any hunger signals we may have. As a result, we are likely to eat less throughout the day, which decreases our daily energy intake, promoting weight loss and effective weight management.
As an added bonus, an increased fibre intake has shown associations with improved digestive health. This in turn can promote more efficient absorption of vitamins and minerals from our food, which can lead to improved markers of health and function.
Hazelnuts should truly be considered among the best of the nut family. They contain a huge amount of monounsaturated fats that have shown to have extremely positive effects on cardiovascular health, while also influencing diabetic risk factors positively.
Furthermore, the antioxidants found in hazelnuts have been suggested to reduce the risk of developing cancer, while also fighting cellular inflammation. This can lead to improved health and wellbeing, improved immune system function, and reduced risk of illness.
Finally, Hazelnuts contain a good portion of fibre that is known to play an extremely important role in weight management (often promoting weight loss) , and can considerably improve the function of the digestive system.
Taking all this into consideration, it becomes apparent as to why hazelnuts should make up a regular part of your diet. By merely including them into your diet, you can improve health drastically!