Hazelnuts are one of the squirrel’s favourite foods.1 We advise that if you aspire to be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as those little rascals, you should consider incorporating more hazelnuts into your diet.
Here, we’ll explain everything about hazelnuts, from the science behind eating more of them to the instances when you should avoid them.
What are hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts are the hazel tree fruit, native to the British Isles, Europe, and Western Turkey.2 Evidence demonstrates that not only were hazelnuts eaten in Britain as early as 9,000 years ago, but trading them was a vital part of the Mesolithic economy.3
Health benefits of hazelnuts
Contemporary scientific research has linked hazelnuts to a few benefits for health and wellness, including:
Better heart health
Hazelnut consumption is associated with good heart health, thanks to impressive quantities of good fat, Vitamin E, copper, and magnesium.4
Supports diet goals
Though hazelnuts are high in calories, studies have discovered that eating them doesn’t lead to weight gain.5
Numerous studies have linked hazelnut consumption with reduced cholesterol levels.6,7,8
Hazelnuts nutrition profile
Nutrients per serving (28g)9
Hazelnuts are relatively calorie-dense because of their fat content. However, most of the fat within hazelnuts is monounsaturated, which means that they’re “good” fats which help maintain bone strength and immune function.10
Hazelnuts are also full of Vitamin E – one portion will provide around 28% of your daily recommended allowance.11 Vitamin E helps keep your skin, eyes, and immune system healthy.12
How to include more hazelnuts in your diet
You can enjoy these delicious, healthy nuts by eating them raw. When harvested fresh in Autumn, hazelnuts have a deliciously mild, almost floral flavour, and are beautifully sweet.
Hazelnuts can be dried and eaten later in the year (or earlier in the next). Still, their taste loses some of its sweetness and delicacy. If older hazelnuts are all you’ve got, it’s best to animate them by baking them in cookies, pies, or cakes.
Risks associated with hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are an allergen. Allergic responses to hazelnuts are most common among those who experience hay fever and allergic reactions to tree pollen.13
If you have a known allergy to other tree nuts, you should also avoid hazelnuts in case of an allergic reaction. Always solicit medical help if you’re experiencing severe shortness of breath, light-headedness, and wheeziness after eating hazelnuts.14
Last updated: 23 February 2021
1 https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/08/hazelnuts-where-and-when-to-forage/ 2 https://www.treeguideuk.co.uk/hazel/ 3 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223619342_Plant_Use_in_the_Mesolithic_Evidence_from_Staosnaig_Isle_of_Colonsay_Scotland
4 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/31/why-hazelnuts-are-good-for-you 5 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2019/4683723/
9 https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170581/nutrients 10 https://www.verywellfit.com/monounsaturated-fat-2242011
12 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-e/ 13 http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/informall/allergenic-food/index.aspx?FoodId=29 14 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anaphylaxis/