Hazelnuts are the hard-shelled nut of the hazelnut tree (Corylus avellana). Also called filberts or cobnuts, the nuts are said to have originated over 5,000 years ago in China. Today, hazelnuts are grown primarily in Turkey, Italy, and the United States.
Hazelnuts can be eaten raw but this versatile nut is also used in both sweet and savory dishes. Hazelnut oil and other hazelnut products are also widely available. These nuts offer health and nutrition benefits and can be a smart addition to your diet.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one ounce (28g or about 21 whole kernels) of unsalted hazelnuts.
- Calories: 178
- Fat: 17g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Carbohydrates: 4.7g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Sugars: 1.2g
- Protein: 4.2g
Carbs in Hazelnuts
The standard serving of hazelnuts is one ounce or about 21 nuts. According to USDA data, a serving provides about 178 calories and just under 5 grams of carbohydrate.
Most of the carbs in hazelnuts come from fiber. A lesser amount comes from naturally-occurring sugars (1.2 grams) and a very small amount comes from starch (.1 gram).
The estimated glycemic load of a single serving of hazelnuts is zero.
Fats in Hazelnuts
Most of the calories in hazelnuts come from fat. There are 17 grams of total fat in a serving of the nuts. Most of the fat is monounsaturated (almost 13 grams). There are also 2.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are considered to be healthy forms of fat. There is a smaller amount (1.3 grams) of less healthy saturated fat.
Protein in Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts provide just over 4 grams of protein per serving.
Micronutrients in Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are a good source of several vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins in hazelnuts include vitamin E (21% of your daily recommended intake), thiamin (12%), vitamin B6 and folate (8% each), and smaller amounts of vitamin C, niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
Hazelnuts are an excellent source of manganese, providing 87% of your daily recommended intake. Other minerals in hazelnuts include copper (24%), magnesium (12%), phosphorus, iron, zinc, and potassium.
Hazelnuts provide several benefits if you are trying to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. The nuts are a high-fat food, but they provide healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat—fats that help boost heart health when consumed in moderation. Hazelnuts also provide diet-friendly fiber and protein to help promote satiety.
The significant amount of manganese also provides important health benefits. Manganese plays an important role in enzyme activation for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. The mineral also has antioxidant functions, is important for wound healing, sex hormone production, and bone development.
There have been some studies linking hazelnut intake to other health benefits as well.
For instance, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that a diet rich in hazelnuts was associated with a decrease in LDL and total cholesterol without an increase in HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or BMI.1
Another study published in Clinical Nutrition found that hazelnut consumption may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels of children and adolescents with hyperlipidemia.2
Lastly, according to researchers, hazelnuts have been used in Iranian traditional medicine for memory impairment. A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that hazelnuts used as a dietary supplement may be able to improve aging and may be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.3
While these studies investigating the health benefits of hazelnuts are promising, there is not enough evidence yet to know for sure if hazelnut consumption can provide these benefits.
What Are Some Popular Products That Are Made From Hazelnuts?
The most popular product made from hazelnuts is Nutella. The chocolate hazelnut spread is often used with or instead of peanut butter and is a favorite in households all over the world. However, Nutella is high in both calories and saturated fat, so it should be consumed in moderation.
Other common hazelnut products include hazelnut milk, hazelnut flour, chocolate-covered hazelnuts, and hazelnut oil.
Are Flavored Nuts or Nut Mixes Just as Healthy as Regular Nuts?
Hazelnuts are often found in canned nut mixes that you find in the snack food aisles of the grocery store. When you buy nut blends or nut mixes, the nuts may be roasted in oil or seasoned with high sodium products. The result is that you may consume far more fat or sodium than you expect.
What’s the Best Way to Avoid Overeating Nuts or Nut Mixes?
Even though nuts provide health benefits, they are one of the most common foods that we overeat. A single serving of hazelnuts is about 21 nuts. But how often do you count nuts before you eat them?
Nuts are often kept in a resealable container in the pantry or in a bowl on a desk or table. When you eat nuts mindlessly from a large open container, you are likely to overeat them. To avoid overdoing it, use your hand to control portions. A small handful of nuts is a single serving.
Can Nuts Be Part of a Weight Loss Diet?
Nuts can make a smart snack if you are trying to lose weight. The protein and fiber in nuts may help you to feel full and satisfied so you don’t eat again soon after your meal.
Will Eating Nuts Make Me Bloated?
Some people notice that they are bloated the day after eating nuts in a bar or at a party. You probably won’t get bloated from the nuts, but if the snack was heavily salted, you may experience a temporary increase in weight from the increased sodium intake.
What’s the Best Way to Store Hazelnuts?
According to hazelnut growers, hazelnuts that are less processed last longer. So, store hazelnuts in the shell if possible and they can last up to a year. Hazelnut growers also say that it is best to process hazelnuts (roast, chop, slice, grind) just before use.
Hazelnuts (processed or unprocessed) can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for about six months.
Recipes and Preparation Tips
Hazelnuts can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. The nuts are also delicious simply roasted and eaten alone.
To roast a batch of hazelnuts, spread raw kernels on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch the nuts closely as they can burn quickly. To remove hazelnut skins, wrap the nuts in a dish towel and let them sit for five to 10 minutes. Then rub vigorously. If the nuts don’t lose their skins completely, it’s okay. The skins are edible and even add nutritional value.
Roasted hazelnuts can be added to baked goods for flavor. Add hazelnuts to muffins, bread, cookies, and cake recipes. Hazelnuts also pair well with chocolate. Add them to any chocolate dish or top your chocolate ice cream with the nuts.
Hazelnuts can also be used alone or in combination with other ingredients as a coating for seafood or poultry.
Hazelnut oil can be used in salad dressing and marinades.
Try any of these hazelnut recipes or substitute hazelnuts instead of walnuts or almonds in one of your favorite recipes.
- Chocolate Hazelnut Bites Recipe
- Homemade Gorp Trail Mix Recipe
Allergies and Interventions
If you have any tree nut allergy you should avoid hazelnuts until you know that they are safe for you. It is possible to have an allergy to one type of tree nut and have a reaction to others, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
In those who have the allergy, reactions to hazelnuts or other tree nuts can be mild to severe and may include life-threatening anaphylaxis. For that reason, the organization recommends that people who have a known allergy carry epinephrine at all times.
Seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider if you suspect that you may be allergic to hazelnuts or other tree nuts.