Whether dry roasted, baked into muffins or grounded up for coffee flavoring, having some hazelnuts everyday can do you a great deal of good. These spherical brown kernels have a bold and smoky flavor that can add an extra kick to the taste and texture of your food. In addition to being a tasty treat, hazelnuts have an extensive list of health benefits. They are loaded with healthy fats that can help clean out the plaques from your blood vessels. They are also rich in proteins, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. And most importantly, hazelnuts contain a rich supply of phytosterols, which make some of nature's most powerful antioxidants.
Calories and Weight Control
These nuts are considered to be high in calories and fat. But if you keep your intake in moderation, hazelnuts can actually help you with weight loss because they can make you feel satisfied for longer period of time. In general, an ounce of hazelnuts is a good serving size. One ounce of hazelnuts (about 21 kernels) adds about 176 calories, 17 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Eating half of a serving to a serving of hazelnuts 1 to 2 hours before dinner can effectively keep you from eating too much during your meal. In order to make sure that you're not exceeding the recommended amount of hazelnuts into your diet, FitDay.com can be used to help you keep track of your intake.
Good Fats for Heart and Mind
Like all nuts, the fat content in hazelnuts does seem high, but don't worry, they are good unsaturated fats that keep your heart healthy and mentally alert.
Hazelnuts have a high concentration of oleic acid. This is an omega-9 fatty acid that can effectively reduce your blood pressure, prevent strokes and heart attacks. Oleic acid has also been known to prevent cancer and improve mental acuity. Studies have shown that regular intake of oleic acid can significantly boost your memory.
Hazelnuts are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). When it gets into your system, your body converts ALA into EPA and DHA. Both of these are omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to many functional systems, such as your circulatory, nervous and immune systems. Their most notable benefits include maintaining blood vessel integrity, reducing blood pressure, preventing psychological diseases like depression and schizophrenia, relieving allergies and preventing cancer.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects your cell membranes from free-radical damage. They are one of nature's most bioactive antioxidants because of their immediate free-radical removal ability. Increased vitamin E intake can effectively help you improve your overall state of health. Hazelnuts are one of the richest sources of vitamin E. Each ounce of hazelnuts contains 21% of your daily requirement for this vitamin. Having some hazelnuts everyday can significantly reduce signs of aging, strengthen your immunity and improve your mental alertness.
Phytosterols are steriod alcohols that are highly valued for their effectiveness in heart disease and cancer prevention. They have the ability to increase HDLs, which are "good" cholesterol that keep plaques from forming in your blood vessels. At the same times, they block the absorption and synthesis of "bad" cholesterol, so that you will have a much improved blood profile. Phytosterols are also strong antioxidants that can effectively prevent cell mutation and cancer growth.