Hazelnuts make a delicious snack that provide a great alternative to snacking on crisps or biscuits and other things that aren’t great for your health. If you crave a savory bite, then they will be a great substitute and because of their natural oils they will make you feel fuller for longer. The first health benefit of hazelnut then is that by keeping them in a bowl in your room, you can help yourself avoid other snacks that are unhealthy and thus lose weight.
But they aren’t just a good alternative to crisps, hazelnuts are in fact very healthy and packed with health benefits in themselves. Here we will look at what a few of these benefits are.
The first and most important benefit of hazelnut is that it is the best known source of Vitamin E and this is very important for healthy muscles including the heart muscle, and for the normal function of the reproductive system. At the same time vitamin E can also prevent the disintegration of red blood cells which are the blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. This then prevents anemia which is a condition characterized by low red blood cell count leading to low oxygen and thus lethargy.
Other Vitamins and Minerals
Hazelnut might be famous for its high vitamin E content, but that’s not the only vitamin it has to offer. At the same time hazelnut is an abundant source of:
- Iron which is important for preventing anemia by forming the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.
- Zinc which aids in the creation of sex hormones (men lose zinc in their semen).
- Potassium which helps to stimulate the nervous system and prevent cramping.
- Calcium which strengthens the bones and ligaments and helps to strengthen muscle contractions.
- Vitamin B1, 2 and 6 – which are important for blood formation as well as brain function.
Beta-sitosterol is used by the body in order to decrease cholesterol and it can also help to prevent breast and prostate cancer.
Hazelnut is full of oil and fats (in fact 60% and more of hazelnut is made from oils) which you might think make it less effective as a healthy snack. But wait – these oils and fats are in fact not the unhealthy kind, but rather essential fatty acids that perform important jobs around the body. For instance oleic acid helps to prevent high cholesterol and can decrease it as much as 26.2%, it helps with the transport of blood sugar and it prevents vein diseases among other things. These fatty acids also help the body to utilize vitamins and minerals, as well as protein. On top of this these oils will also help to lubricate the joints, regulate body temperature and improve the condition of the skin and hair and more.
Hazelnuts like many nuts are a great plant source of protein. Your body utilizes protein in countless important tasks such as building and maintaining the skin and tissue. Essentially the body takes the carbon compounds (called amino acids) used in protein sources and then recombines them to build parts of the body – so you literally are what you eat. As well as tissues and other body parts, proteins are also used for the creation of enzymes (the catalysts for chemical reactions around the body), immune function and much more. While meat sources are higher in protein content, and higher in bioavailability, hazelnuts are one of the most potent plant sources and this makes them very useful for vegetarians or those who don’t enjoy meat.
Nuts are a great source of fiber. Fiber essentially passes through the body without being transformed or dissolved and this means that it acts almost like a ‘sweep’ going through the system and clearing debris and toxins along the way. This clears the veins and arteries of cholesterol and thereby helps the blood to flow more freely – transporting oxygen and nutrients more speedily around the body and preventing heart problems. Further it also clears the digestive and intestinal tract and helps to prevent constipation and to flush the system of toxins.