6 Health Benefits Of Hazelnuts That Might Surprise You!

Health benefits of hazelnuts.

Arguably one of the most popular nuts, hazelnut perfectly compliments chocolate pie, tomato-based pasta, truffle soup, pesto sauce, strawberry tart, and even butternut quiche. Most recently, hazelnut milk has also become a much-loved alternative to dairy-based milk. But if cooking with it is not something you’d prefer, they taste delicious when had on their own or roasted. But their flavor is not the only thing that makes them a must-have in your pantry. Hazelnuts pack in the nutrition as well. Here are all the health benefits they offer.

1. Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Whether you are diabetic, at risk of diabetes, or just trying to manage your blood sugar levels, consuming hazelnuts regularly might help. Studies have found that nuts, like almond and walnuts, help reduce blood sugar levels.1 2 And while there aren’t as many studies conducted on hazelnuts, there’s evidence to show that they may also have the same benefit. One study, which involved giving a combination of 30 grams of mixed nuts (15 grams walnuts, 7.5 grams almonds, and 7.5 grams hazelnuts) to 50 people with metabolic syndrome, found a significant reduction in fasting insulin levels after 12 weeks.3 4


This could be due to its oleic acid content, the main fatty acid in hazelnuts, which has been shown to have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. Besides this, a 2-month study conducted in 11 people with type-2 diabetes found that a diet rich in oleic acid significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and insulin levels while increasing sensitivity. A diet rich in hazelnuts can, hence, lower your blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.5 6

2. Reduce The Risk Of Inflammatory Disorders

Inflammation is a normal, necessary, and healthy response of the body to an injury or certain conditions. But when the immune system attacks its own body’s cells and tissues, it leads to chronic inflammation, which could result in chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness, and damage to normal tissues. Here’s where eating hazelnuts regularly can be beneficial. One study found that consuming a diet in which hazelnuts accounted for 18–20% of their total calorie intake,  lowered inflammation after 4 weeks.7 In addition to this, eating 60 grams of hazelnuts every day for 12 weeks has been found to reduce inflammatory markers in overweight people, while 40 grams of hazelnuts may reduce the same in healthy people.8 That said, it isn’t enough to consume hazelnuts alone. Instead, consuming a calorie-controlled diet is ideal for reducing inflammation.9 10 11


3. Protect Heart Health

[pullquote]Eating 29–69 grams of hazelnuts per day can improve heart health.12[/pullquote]

Consuming hazelnuts regularly may keep heart diseases at bay.13 They contain a high concentration of antioxidants and healthy fats that lower cholesterol levels in the blood.14 15 In fact, a month-long study, which observed 21 people, found that people, with high cholesterol levels, who consumed a diet that consisted of hazelnuts accounting for 18–20% of their total daily calorie intake found a reduction in triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol levels. They also noticed improvements in artery health and inflammation markers in the blood.16


Besides this, a review of 9 studies, which included over 400 people found that people who ate hazelnuts also noticed reductions in bad LDL and total cholesterol levels. Meanwhile, good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides remained unchanged.17 Most importantly, hazelnuts contain high amounts of fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium, which have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce blood fat levels, increase vitamin E levels, and in turn, improve heart health.18

4. Promote Thyroid Health

If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disorders, stock up on hazelnuts. A cup of its serving offers 6.175 mg of manganese, which makes up for over 87% of your recommended daily intake.19 This nutrient helps enzymes function and work properly in your body and plays a role in the production of thyroxine. This is a vital hormone that is required for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which helps you maintain a proper appetite, metabolism, weight, and organ efficiency. Including hazelnuts in your diet might, hence, help manage your thyroid hormones.20


5.  May Lower The Instances Of Epileptic Seizures

The leading cause of epilepsy in adults over 35 is a stroke. And this caused by decreased blood flow to your brain. Manganese is known to enlarge veins and efficiently carry blood to tissues like the brain. In turn, it decreases the risk of a stroke as well as epileptic seizures.21 In addition to this, part of the body’s manganese content is found in the brain with several studies suggesting that manganese levels may be lower in individuals with seizure disorders.22 Since hazelnuts pack in the manganese, they might aid towards lowered instances of stroke and seizures.

6. May Prevent Cancer

Consuming hazelnuts regularly may keep cancer at bay. They contain a high concentration of antioxidant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that have anti-cancer properties.23 In fact, hazelnuts have the highest concentration of proanthocyanidins (antioxidants) amongst all other nuts. And studies have found that proanthocyanidins may help prevent and treat certain types of cancers by protecting against oxidative stress.24 In addition to this, hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E, another antioxidant that protects against cell damage. The manganese content in hazelnuts has also been found to aid the functions of specific enzymes that reduce oxidative damage.25 26


All these factors combined could be why studies have found hazelnut extract to be beneficial in the treatment of cervical, liver, breast, and colon cancer. In fact, one animal study even found that using a product made from hazelnut skin extract decreased the risk of colon cancer after 8 weeks.27 That said, it’s important to remember that most studies investigating the benefits of hazelnuts have been conducted in test tubes and on animals, not on humans. Further studies are needed to fully validate this benefit of hazelnuts.