8 Good reasons you should eat more hazelnuts as part of your regular diet (recipes included)
11/17/2020 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
8 Good reasons you should eat more hazelnuts as part of your regular diet (recipes included)

Hazelnuts are the hard-shelled nuts from trees and shrubs belonging to the Corylus genus. Sometimes referred to as filberts and cobnuts, hazelnuts are slightly smaller than an acorn and have a tough, smooth shell.

Inside that shell is a sweet-tasting, cream-colored kernel with a thick, dark brown skin that some people like to remove before eating.

Hazelnuts used to be endemic to China. Now, the nuts are cultivated all over Europe in countries like Italy and France where the climate is temperate.

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The many health benefits of hazelnut

Hazelnuts are often eaten raw or cooked into desserts and other sweet-tasting dishes. In addition, hazelnut oil is sometimes used to make soaps and perfumes.

But more than being a delicious snack, hazelnuts are an incredible superfood boasting a wide range of benefits, including better heart health, lower blood pressure and better digestion, among several others.

Here are eight of the most touted health benefits of the humble hazelnut:

  1. Provides essential nutrients – Hazelnuts are a good source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, these nuts are considered one of the richest sources of vitamin E and folate of all tree nuts. Other nutrients hazelnuts contain include potassium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron.
  2. Protects cells from inflammation – Hazelnuts are also chock-full of plant compounds with powerful antioxidant properties, most of which are found in the husk of the nuts. These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals and inflammation associated with chronic diseases.
  3. Lowers bad cholesterol levels – Recent studies found that eating hazelnuts is associated with lower bad cholesterol levels. Having high levels of bad cholesterol is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
  4. Helps lower blood sugar levels – Studies show that a low-carb diet containing vegetables, beans and nuts like hazelnuts helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes.
  5. Supports weight management – Hazelnuts are an incredibly healthy snack because they don’t have cholesterol or sodium. Plus, instead of causing weight gain, the fats in hazelnuts simply allow your body to absorb vitamins and minerals better. They also help you keep weight off in the long run.
  6. Improves digestive health – The fiber in hazelnuts helps improve your overall gut health by boosting digestion and keeping you regular. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut that keep it clean.
  7. Lowers the risk of cancer – Cell damage caused by harmful free radicals can lead to cancer. By neutralizing free radicals, the many antioxidants in hazelnuts effectively reduce your risk of cancer.
  8. Supports skin health – As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects skin cells from the harmful effects of too much sun. Vitamin E also helps rejuvenate your skin, reducing visible signs of aging and other blemishes.

Healthy hazelnut recipes

Here are three simple, easy and healthy hazelnut recipes for you to try.

Hazelnut spread

Instead of buying a jar of processed hazelnut spread for your breakfast toast, just make a batch at home. You’ll only need four key ingredients. This recipe is dairy-free, too!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 360 F. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 8–10 minutes.
  2. Remove hazelnuts from the oven and let cool. Place them on a kitchen towel, then roll them around to remove most of the skins.
  3. To a high-speed blender, add the hazelnuts without the skin. Blend on low for 8–10 minutes.
  4. While the hazelnuts are blending, heat the dark chocolate over a double broiler until melted.
  5. Incorporate vanilla extract and salt into the hazelnut butter. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend.
  6. Pour the finished hazelnut butter into a clean jar and store at room temperature. It should keep for 2–3 weeks.

Paleo hazelnut cookies

These gluten-free hazelnut cookies make a deliciously healthy treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/4 cup organic ghee
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine hazelnut flour, almond flour, baking soda and sea salt.
  3. In a small bowl, mix ghee, vanilla extract and honey.
  4. Combine the contents of the two bowls and stir until a dough is formed.
  5. Spoon the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Flatten the balls of dough until about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Bake for 10–12 minutes or until just starting to brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Candied hazelnuts

Make desserts and savory dishes even better by sprinkling over some candied hazelnuts. You can also enjoy them as a healthy and delectable snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • 3 cups blanched hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine coconut sugar, egg white, salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon.
  3. Toss the hazelnuts into the bowl and stir until coated with the mixture.
  4. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Remove hazelnuts from the oven. Let cool before transferring them to an airtight container. It should keep for up to 1 week.

Hazelnuts are superfoods brimming with beneficial fats, protein and essential micronutrients. Make hazelnuts part of your regular diet to reap their nutritional benefits.

Sources:

CMS.HerbalGram.org

MedicalNewsToday.com

MinimalistBaker.com

MyLifeWellLoved.com

CookingLight.com

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