Do You Know The Health Benefits of Hazelnuts?
Nuts are a nutrient-dense food that contain healthy fats, protein, fibre, minerals and phenolic compounds. They are thought to offer wide-ranging cardiovascular and metabolic benefits and can be readily integrated into a balanced diet.
By Sayer Ji | Guest Writer
The hazelnut, which comes from the Corylus tree of the Betulaceae family, offers a sweet flavour and the flexibility of being eaten raw, roasted or as a paste in ground form.
It’s considered an excellent anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic treat, being the second richest source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) among nuts and being chock full of vitamin E, magnesium, copper, selenium, L-arginine, folate, fibre and polyphenols, to name a few. Here are five evidence-based benefits of hazelnuts.
Hazelnuts have one of the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scores of any nut, signifying outstanding levels of antioxidants. These chemicals protect the body from oxidative stress, which can damage cells, accelerate aging and promote disease.
As testament to their antioxidant prowess, a hazelnut-enriched diet modulates oxidative stress and inflammatory gene expression without causing weight gain. Compounds of the tiny, mighty nut have been found to have antioxidant and antimicrobial effects.
Hazelnuts also contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which some studies indicate may help shield the body from cell damage linked to cancer.
Proteins derived from hazelnuts are an excellent source of bioactive peptides. A 2019 study purified and identified antiobesity peptides from the nut, finding that the novel synthetic pentapeptide had potential antiobesity effects and may help combat metabolic conditions.
In a European study involving over 370,000 men and women ranging from 25 to 70 years old, higher intake of nuts was associated with reduced weight gain along with a lower risk of becoming obese or overweight.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
The MUFAs and antioxidants in hazelnuts have been tied to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In an intervention diet lasting up to 84 days with a dosage of hazelnuts ranging from 29 to 69 grams a day, it emerged that a hazelnut-enriched diet can decrease LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, without substantially changing HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and body mass index (BMI).
According to separate research, a high-fat, high-MUFA hazelnut diet proved superior to a low-fat diet in terms of creating favourable changes in lipid profiles, therefore positively affecting coronary heart disease risk in the subjects.
The high fatty acid content as well as fibre, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium, in the nuts also seemed to help normalize blood pressure levels. In a randomized study, the combination of hazelnut and cocoa acted in a synergistic and protective way on the cardiovascular system.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Largely due to their micro and macronutrient profiles, nuts are believed to help control blood glucose levels. They are low in available carbs, offer a healthy fatty acid profile and are high in fibre, plant protein and magnesium. In a study that combined hazelnuts with walnuts and almonds for metabolic syndrome patients, the results also reflected reduced fasting insulin levels.
Potential Use Against Cancer
The high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals along with other nutrients in hazelnuts may also give the nut some anticancer action.
In a study, the nuts’ shell extract provided antioxidant effects and cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines. “The cytotoxic activity relies on the presence of the neolignans (balanophonin), and phenol derivatives (gallic acid), showing a pro-apoptotic effect on the tested cell lines,” the researchers wrote.
Results from a separate study suggested a potential use of hazelnut extracts against cervical cancer, hepatocarcinoma and breast cancer.
Learn more about hazelnuts from study abstracts on the GreenMedInfo.com database. Incorporate these nuts into your diet as a snack or a component of many different dishes, enjoying them raw, roasted, sliced, ground or even whole. Peeled hazelnuts can also be turned into flour for healthy baking or as a nutrient-filled spread.
If you want to buy Hazelnuts (Organic), it’s widely available here.
About the Author
Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.
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