Benefits Of Hazelnuts

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Hazelnuts are the fruit of hazel and are also known as filberts or cobnuts. They are commonly used in desserts of all types; as hazelnut oil; or eaten raw or roasted as a snack. Evidence of cultivation of hazelnuts dates back to 7000 B.C. and has persisted till today. This is due to its excellent taste, variety of uses and its health benefits and nutritional profile.

Hazelnuts contain several essential nutrients in large quantities that help in keeping the body healthy. Though they are high in calories in fats, almost all of that fat is the “good fat”—mono-saturated fats like oleic acid and polyunsaturated fat like linoleic acid. Hazelnuts are a great source of protein and fibre both of which are essential for the smooth functioning of the body. Additionally, they have a large amount of several B vitamins and vitamin E. They also contain appreciable amounts of vitamin K. Moreover, hazelnuts contain several essential minerals and other nutrients, particularly thiamine, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc and potassium. It would be impossible for a food of this nutrient profile to not have significant health benefits.

  • Hazelnuts are good for maintaining a healthy heart. The mono-saturated fats in hazelnuts help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” while at the same time raising “good cholesterol” levels. It contains an essential amino acid called arginine which helps to relax blood vessels
  • Eating hazelnuts during pregnancy decreased the risk of birth defects like neural tube birth defects due to its high content of folate. Folate also contributes to cardio-vascular health, menstrual health and fertility.
  • Hazelnuts have been associated with lowered depression and stress. This is due to the high folate content, vitamin B, omega 3 fatty acids and other essential minerals that play an important role in the synthesis of crucial neurotransmitters.
  • Hazelnuts reduce the risk of stroke by reducing the risk of clotting. This is due to them having one of the highest proanthocyanidin content.
  • Hazelnuts are good for kidney health by protecting the system against urinary tract infections due to high content of proanthocyanidin.
  • They help maintain good digestive health due to its high content of manganese and dietary fibre. This can prevent problems of constipation. Since hazelnuts contain no gluten, they are an excellent source of nutrients for people with celiac disease.
  • Being high in fats and calories, hazelnuts are a good source of energy. In contrast to other high calories food, they are chockful of other essential nutrients and “good fat”.
  • Hazelnuts have antioxidant properties because they contain high levels of vitamins E and A, and minerals such as copper and manganese. The phytochemicals and anti-oxidants in hazelnuts have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, particularly bladder cancer.
  • They keep your bones healthy and strong with their high values of magnesium and phosphorous.
  • Regular intake of hazelnuts can prevent anaemia due to their iron content.
  • They are a good source of protein which is essential for several body functions. This is especially important for vegetarians.
  • Hazelnuts can boost the immune system by providing a wide variety of essential nutrients.
  • The vitamins that hazelnuts provide, especially vitamin B are important for the nervous system, growth of nerve cells and synthesis of neurotransmitters.
  • There is some evidence that hazelnuts help with regulating blood sugar levels making them indispensable to those suffering from diabetes type II.
  • Hazelnuts are good for your skin. The vitamin E in them keeps your skin healthy, preventing dryness and even preventing premature ageing. A hazelnut scrub can be applied externally to help with acne problems.
  • Hazelnut oil can be applied to hair to keep its shine and prevent dryness and damage.

In spite of the number of health benefits, it is important to remember that hazelnuts are most beneficial when eaten in moderation and in combination with a healthy diet.

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