Hazelnut Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Hazelnuts, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Hazelnuts are the hard-shelled nut of the hazelnut tree (Corylus avellana). Also called filberts or cobnuts, the nuts are said to have originated over 5,000 years ago in China. Today, hazelnuts are grown primarily in Turkey, Italy, and the United States. 

Hazelnuts can be eaten raw and this versatile nut is also used in both sweet and savory dishes. Hazelnut oil and other hazelnut products are also widely available. These nuts offer health and nutrition benefits and can be a smart addition to your diet.

Hazelnut Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 ounce (28g or about 21 whole kernels) of unsalted hazelnuts.

  • Calories: 178
  • Fat: 17g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4.7g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Sugars: 1.2g
  • Protein: 4.2g

Carbs

The standard serving of hazelnuts is 1 ounce or about 21 nuts. According to USDA data, one serving provides about 178 calories and just under 5 grams of carbohydrate.

Most of the carbs in hazelnuts come from fiber. A lesser amount comes from naturally occurring sugars (1.2 grams) and a very small amount comes from starch (0.1 gram).

The estimated glycemic load of a single serving of hazelnuts is 0. Glycemic load takes portion size into account when estimating a food's effect on blood sugar.

Fats

Most of the calories in hazelnuts come from fat. There is a total of 17 grams of fat in a serving of the nuts. Most of the fat is monounsaturated (almost 13 grams). There are also 2.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are considered to be healthy forms of fat. There is a smaller amount (1.3 grams) of less healthy saturated fat.

Protein

Hazelnuts provide just over 4 grams of protein per serving.

Vitamin and Minerals

Hazelnuts are a good source of several vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of vitamin E (about 28% of your daily recommended intake) and a good source of thiamin. Hazelnuts also contain smaller amounts of vitamin B6 and folate.

Hazelnuts are also an excellent source of manganese and copper and a good source of magnesium. There are also smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron, zinc, and potassium in hazelnuts.

Health Benefits

There have been some studies linking nuts in general and hazelnuts specifically to certain health benefits as well.

Aids Healthy Weight Maintenance

Hazelnuts provide several benefits if you are trying to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. Hazelnuts provide diet-friendly fiber and protein to help promote satiety.

Eating nuts instead of other starchy snacks such as chips or pretzels may help you to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, a 2014 study showed that regular consumption of nuts (about one handful) can be incorporated as a component of a healthy diet for the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes when used as a replacement for less healthful foods.

Provides Antioxidant Protection

The significant amount of manganese in hazelnuts also provides important health benefits. Manganese plays an important role in enzyme activation for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. The mineral also has antioxidant functions, is important for wound healing, sex hormone production, and bone development.

Supports Better Heart Health

Nuts are a high-fat food, but they provide healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat—fats that help boost heart health when consumed in moderation.

A large study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that higher consumption of certain types of nuts including hazelnuts was inversely associated with total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Lowers Cholesterol

A study published in the journal Nutrients found that a diet rich in hazelnuts was associated with a decrease in LDL and total cholesterol with steady levels of HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and body mass index (BMI). These results are favorable for cardiovascular disease prevention.

Another study involving 66 adolescents and children with hyperlipidemia found that hazelnut consumption could have a positive effect on their cholesterol levels.

Allergies

If you have any tree nut allergy you should avoid hazelnuts until you know that they are safe for you. It is possible to have an allergy to one type of tree nut and have a reaction to others, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI).

In those who have the allergy, reactions to hazelnuts or other tree nuts can range from mild to severe and may include life-threatening anaphylaxis. For that reason, the organization recommends that people who have a known allergy carry epinephrine at all times.

Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider if you suspect that you may be allergic to hazelnuts or other tree nuts.

Varieties

There are a few different types of hazelnut, including the American hazelnut, the European hazelnut, and the beaked hazelnut. The kind that you are most likely to find in the store is the American hazelnut.

These nuts are often sold roasted or salted. Hazelnuts are also found in canned nut mixes that you find in the snack food aisles of the grocery store. When you buy nut blends or nut mixes, the nuts are often roasted in oil and seasoned with high sodium products. These added ingredients will change the nutritional profile of the nut.

One of the most popular products made from hazelnuts is Nutella. The chocolate hazelnut spread is often used with or instead of peanut butter and is a favorite in households all over the world. However, Nutella is high in both calories and saturated fat, so it should be consumed in moderation.

Other common hazelnut products include hazelnut milk, hazelnut flour, chocolate-covered hazelnuts, and hazelnut oil. 

When It’s Best

Unlike many other nuts, hazelnuts are harvested in mid-summer. Although most markets sell hazelnuts all year long.

When selecting hazelnuts, you can choose to buy them with the shell on or off. If you buy shelled hazelnuts, find those that are heavy, full, and mold-free. Out of the shell, the nuts are likely to be packaged so you won't be able to select individual nuts. If you can, look for those that have consistent color and are blemish-free.

Storage and Food Safety

According to hazelnut growers, hazelnuts that are less processed last longer. So, store hazelnuts in the shell if possible and they can last up to a year. Hazelnut growers also say that it is best to process hazelnuts (e.g., roast, chop, slice, grind) just before use. 

Hazelnuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer where they will stay fresh for about six months.

How to Prepare

Hazelnuts can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. The nuts are also delicious simply roasted and eaten alone.

To roast a batch of hazelnuts, spread raw kernels on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch the nuts closely as they can burn quickly. To remove hazelnut skins, wrap the nuts in a dish towel and let them sit for five to 10 minutes. Then rub vigorously. If the nuts don't lose their skins completely, it's OK. The skins are edible and even add some nutritional value.

Roasted hazelnuts can be added to baked goods for flavor and texture. Add hazelnuts to muffins, bread, cookies, and cake recipes. Hazelnuts also pair well with chocolate. Add them to any chocolate dish or use them to top chocolate ice cream.

Hazelnuts can also be used alone or in combination with other ingredients as a coating for seafood or poultry.

Recipes

Healthy Hazelnut Recipes to Try

Try one of these hazelnut recipes or substitute hazelnuts for another nut in other recipes.

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Article Sources
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