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Health Benefits of Hazelnuts

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/29/2018

From heart health to prenatal health, there is a wide range of hazelnut benefits that may surprise you! A hazelnut-enriched diet provides healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, and even anticancer nutrients.


Hazelnuts are a great food to incorporate into a keto diet because they won’t spike insulin. Let’s go over some of the amazing health benefits of eating hazelnuts.

hazelnut benefits

What are hazelnuts?


Hazelnuts are a type of tree nut that grows on the hazel or hazelnut tree. They’re a healthy and versatile nut that can be used in several different recipes or eaten alone as a healthy snack.


Hazelnuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant compounds, and many essential vitamins and minerals.


Hazelnut nutrition facts for a 1-ounce serving:


  • 17 g total fat

  •  4 g protein

  •  5 g total carbs

    • 3 g fiber

    • 2 g net carbs

  • 1.75 g manganese

  • 52 mcg folate

  • 0.5 mg copper

  • 5 mg vitamin E



Watch this video to find out about some of the unique benefits of hazelnuts!

Are hazelnuts keto-friendly?


If you’re following a ketogenic diet, you’ll want to consume a diet rich in fats, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. Eating hazelnuts is a great way to increase your dietary fat intake on a keto diet.


Hazelnuts contain monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. These are important for ketone production and maintaining healthy HDL cholesterol levels. 


Replacing unhealthy snacks with hazelnuts and other keto-friendly snacks may help balance blood sugar levels, combat insulin resistance, and improve insulin sensitivity. 


There are so many ways to incorporate hazelnuts into your diet. Try hazelnut butter on celery, ground hazelnuts as a topping for salad or yogurt, or this delicious ketogenic Nutella recipe


You can find more delicious keto-friendly recipes on our Keto food list.


Like other tree nuts, hazelnuts contain phytic acid. Phytic acid can interfere with the absorption of copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. You can reduce phytic acid by soaking raw hazelnuts in water overnight.


After soaking the hazelnuts, they can be dehydrated and eaten raw or roasted in the oven at a low temperature. Roasted hazelnuts are a great snack and have better nutritional value after being soaked in water.


Overconsumption of nuts can be hard on the kidneys and can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating and gas. Enjoy moderate hazelnut consumption, and be careful not to overdo it!

hazelnut trees

Five health benefits of hazelnuts


1. Rich source of folate

Hazelnuts contain more folate than any other nut!


Folate—also known as vitamin B9—is an important water-soluble vitamin. It’s essential for healthy metabolism, immune function, cell growth, and blood sugar levels.


Folate is also crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Maintaining healthy vitamin B9 levels during pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of certain birth defects.


Signs of a folate deficiency include fatigue, lowered immune system function, and irritability.


Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate. It’s always better to choose dietary sources of folate rather than supplemental forms.


2. Important phytonutrients

Hazelnuts contain important phytonutrients like proanthocyanidin. This phytonutrient improves artery health by decreasing the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular diseases.

 

Proanthocyanidin also helps to decrease the incidence of urinary tract infections. 

As an antioxidant, this potent phytonutrient is 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E!


3. Abundant antioxidants 

Oxidation and free-radical damage can damage cell structure and mitochondria. The antioxidants present in hazelnuts protect the body from damage with their potent anticancer properties.


Hazelnuts are a rich source of vitamin E and antioxidants known as phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help protect the body from inflammation and oxidative damage that could promote cancer.


This study from the National Institute of Health highlights the effects of hazelnuts on oxidative stress. Adding hazelnuts to the diet was beneficial in improving chronic degenerative conditions without causing weight gain.


4. Trace minerals

Hazelnuts are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese. Manganese activates enzymes involved in collagen and muscle repair. 


Hazelnuts also contain copper, which is part of the vitamin C complex. Copper is an essential trace mineral for the production of collagen. It makes collagen throughout the body and also supports the adrenal glands. 


Hazelnuts contain other important trace minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, boron, and selenium.


5. Heart health 

Hazelnuts can be cold-pressed into an oil. Hazelnut oil can help improve cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure and promoting healthy blood cholesterol levels. It can also help to decrease blood cholesterol.


Hazelnuts contain the compound oleic acid, which also plays an important role in heart health. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid known to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.   

heart health hazelnuts

Key takeaways


Adding hazelnuts to your diet provides numerous health benefits, supports ketosis, and helps keep you full while intermittent fasting.  


Hazelnuts are packed full of the most abundant antioxidants, phytonutrients, and essential vitamins and minerals. 


As long as you enjoy hazelnuts in moderation, they’re an excellent and versatile food to add to your diet.  



FAQ


1. Are hazelnuts healthy?

Yes! The nutritional benefits of hazelnuts range from improving insulin sensitivity to supporting healthy skin. They’re also rich in unsaturated fats and dietary fiber, which can help you to feel full and satisfied between meals and promote weight loss.


2. What are the health benefits of hazelnuts?

Eating nuts can lower blood sugar levels, increase your intake of vitamin E and other potent antioxidants, and support ketosis and intermittent fasting.


3. Can I have hazelnuts on keto?

Yes, you can have hazelnuts on keto. They’re high in fat, have a moderate amount of protein, and are low in net carbs. This makes hazelnuts an ideal food for a ketogenic diet.


4. Can I have Nutella on keto?

Nutella that you find at the grocery store is packed full of sugar and can contribute to weight gain. Try this keto-friendly Nutella recipe to reap the health benefits of hazelnuts without the excess sugar.


5. Can I eat hazelnuts every day?

Hazelnuts have several health benefits, so they’re perfect as an everyday snack. As long as you have a moderate amount of nuts, you shouldn’t experience any negative side effects. Aim for about a half cup of hazelnuts per day.


6. Do hazelnuts have side effects?

The overconsumption of nuts can lead to bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort. Nuts also contain oxalates which can be taxing on the kidneys and can even cause kidney stones if you consume too much.


Phytic acid can also be problematic, but soaking hazelnuts in water can eliminate this problem. 


7. Which are healthier, hazelnuts or almonds?

Hazelnuts and almonds have very similar nutritional profiles. Both nuts are loaded with vitamin E, contain two net carbs, and are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals.


Hazelnuts are higher in fat and the essential mineral manganese, while almonds are slightly higher in protein.

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