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Grown on the Hazel or Corylus tree, the hazelnut, also called a filbert or cobnut, is enjoyed roasted, raw or in desserts covered in chocolate or pressed into a paste or oil. Turkey is the top grower of hazelnuts, but they are also harvested in Spain, Italy, and the United States.

Hazelnuts are thought to have originated in Sweden, Germany, and Denmark as far back as 10,000 years ago. The reason being is that archaeological digs produced hazelnut shells at Neolithic and Mesolithic sites. Also, it is listed as one of China’s sacred foods in writings dating back 5,000 years ago.

Health Benefits

As with most nuts, hazelnuts are packed with nutrition ranging from healthy fats and proteins to essential vitamins and minerals. Below are five ways that hazelnuts can offer health benefits.

Heart Healthy Fats

High in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as oleic acid, hazelnuts can help reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. Results from recent studies indicate that eating between one to two and a half ounces of hazelnuts on a daily basis is linked to improved heart health.

Antioxidants that Reduce Cancer Risk

Loaded with antioxidants, hazelnuts have phenolic compounds, which help reduce cholesterol, inflammation and oxidative stress. Not only does that help reduce the risk of cancer, but it also enhances heart health. Most of the antioxidants present in the hazelnut are concentrated in the nut skins.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

The high levels of healthy fats found in hazelnuts also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can improve joint pain, cholesterol levels, and metabolic syndrome.

Helps Diabetes

The primary fatty acid, oleic, found in hazelnuts helps metabolize blood glucose levels and reduce insulin sensitivity, making it a great snack option for diabetics.

Flavonoids that Support Overall Health

Hazelnuts contain flavonoids, which are thought to protect the health of the brain and cognitive functions, by improving circulation. Flavonoids are a form of antioxidant and naturally contain properties that act as an antihistamine to fight off allergies and act as a mood enhancer.

Rich in Minerals and Vitamins

There are high amounts of B-complex vitamins as well as vitamin E and folate present in hazelnuts. They also contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This nut, so rich in vitamin and mineral sources can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure, increase metabolism, enhance skin health and support cellular composition.

Facts About Hazelnuts

  • There are 14 varieties of hazelnuts and range in height from 10 to 120 feet.
  • Many historical writings reference the hazelnut in regards to nutritional and health.
  • The ancient Romans gifted Hazel plants to award happiness.
  • Hazelnuts were crushed and given to patients suffering from coughs and the common cold, by Greek physicians.
  • Branches from Hazel trees are used as divining rods for finding springs underground.
  • Ground up hazelnuts were mixed with bear grease to treat baldness in ancient days.

Hazelnuts are tasty and healthy making it a great addition to your daily diet regimen. Whether you choose to enjoy them raw, roasted, sliced or whole or ground into a paste with added spices, the hazelnuts offer a more powerful nutrition-packed punch when the skins are consumed.

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