Okay, so maybe you have sipped a hazelnut flavored coffee, or perhaps had some roasted hazelnuts at a Holiday party. Perhaps the closest you have gotten to eating them was spreading a gob of Nutella (which is made out of hazelnuts) on your toast in the morning. Or, maybe you have never even tried them at all, and think that this oval nut that goes so well with chocolate should remain as a dessert topping or livestock feed.
Well, you better get yourself on the hazelnut bandwagon because this nut is set to soar in popularity partly because of its taste, and also because of its remarkable health benefits. Like all edible nuts, the hazelnut (or the Filbert nut like it is called in some places) is full of protein as well as beneficial fats. It is also loaded with a healthy helping of thiamine and B6, making a small handful of the nuts a nutritious, delicious snack.
Here are a few reasons why you should be eating more Hazelnuts
· Heart Healthy
Hazelnuts are packed with both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats which, unlike that fat you get with your side of fries, are actually good fats that can help keep the old ticker ticking away. Hazelnuts nuts also share something in common with olive oil in that they contain a high concentration of oleic acid. This is another beneficial good fat that can help lower the levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol and raise the level of HDL (the good cholesterol) keeping your circulatory system in good working order.
· Packed with phytochemicals
Hazelnuts contain a full boat of beneficial phytochemicals that contribute to better health. Included in a handful of hazelnuts are quercetin, kaempherol and proanthocyanidins. And, if you are saying to yourself: “Proanthocyanidins? Where have I heard that name before?” These are the flavonoids found in green tea and red wine that are thought to help improve blood circulation, contribute to a healthy brain, and even relieve allergy symptoms.
· Protein and fiber
Vegetarians listen up! A cup of hazelnuts has 17 grams of protein along with a complete array of those essential amino acids. They also contain 11 grams of fiber helping you stay both balanced and regular. However, these nuts are also dense when it comes to calorie, so just a handful, not a whole bag.
· Vitamins and Minerals