Are Hazlenuts Good For You?

15th Aug 2022

Are Hazelnuts Good For You?

What's in Hazelnuts?

Nuts as a food group have a lot to recommend them to a healthy diet—with a relatively high calorie count per serving, they provide energy with protein and healthy fats in a form that’s easy to store, carry and eat on the go.

Hazelnuts are a standout among commonly available nuts because of their superior profile for nutrition and antioxidants, their mid-range calorie and fat counts compared to other nuts, and their connection to a series of health benefits.

Nutrient Profile

In a one-ounce serving (about 21 kernels, roughly 30 g) include:

  • Calories: 178
  • Total fat content: 17 g
  • Saturated fat: 3 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Carbs: 7 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 7 g (10% of the Daily Recommended Intake [DRI])
    • Sugar: 2 g

Antioxidants in Hazelnuts

In that same one-ounce serving of hazelnuts—largely in the skin that surrounds the nut—include a powerful concentration of antioxidants:

  • 20% of DRI of Vitamin E, an important antioxidant that scavenges loose electrons—known as “free radicals”—that damage cells
  • 8% of DRI of folate, which decreases risk of neural tube birth defects and may reduce risk of heart disease and depression
  • 25% of DRI of copper (necessary for iron absorption)
  • 90% of DRI of manganese (necessary for bone formation)
  • Proanthocyanidin: Highest content of any tree nut, reducing risk of blood clotting and urinary tract infections and possibly preventing cancers in some organs in the body

Vitamins & Minerals

  • Iron: 33 mg (7% of DRI)
  • Calcium: 32 g (3% of DRI)
  • Magnesium: 46 g (12% of DRI)
  • Copper: 25% of DRI
  • Thiamin: 12% of DRI
  • Vitamin B6: 10% of DRI
  • Vitamin C: 3% of DRI

Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fats provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. Omega-3 fats are important as an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes.

The main Omega-3 fats are EPA, DHA and ALA. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is the most common Omega-3 in the Western diet, and it’s principally the one found in hazelnuts.

The DRI for ALA is 1.6 grams per day for men and 1.1 grams per day for women. Hazelnuts have roughly 36 grams of Omega-3 ALA per one-ounce serving.

Hazelnuts also offer Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, in greater quantities than Omega-3. Researchers are still trying to determine the most beneficial proportion of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.

Phytic Acid: Still a positive trade-off

Sometimes called an “anti-nutrient,” phytic acid interferes with a body’s absorption of certain minerals—most notably, iron, zinc and calcium. Phytic acid can contribute to mineral deficiencies, even when the food consumed contains high enough mineral levels.

While eating a balanced diet—and the consumption of meat—largely manages the effects of phytic acid, vegans and vegetarians need to be aware of the impact of phytic acid on their levels of iron, zinc and calcium.

Hazelnuts have some of the lowest amounts of phytic acid in commonly available nuts, meaning they are less likely to contribute to mineral deficiencies.

How to eat hazelnuts

While the health benefits of hazelnuts are numerous, it’s important to be deliberate about the number of servings and limit portion sizes eaten weekly. And always be careful if there is any risk of allergic reaction. Those with nut allergies should not consume hazelnuts.

Even healthy fats like hazelnuts are calorie dense, at 178 calories per ounce.

Type of nut Calories Total fat
Chestnuts, roasted 70 0.6 g
Pistachios, dry-roasted 162 13 g
Cashews, dry-roasted 163 13.1 g
Almonds, raw 164 14.2 g
Peanuts, dry-roasted 166 14.1 g
Almonds, dry-roasted 170 14.9 g
Raw Hazelnuts (filberts) / Fresh Hazelnuts 178 17.2 g
Hazelnuts (filberts), dry-roasted 183 17.7 g
Walnuts, halved 185 18.5 g
Brazil nuts, raw 187 19 g
Pecans, dry-roasted 201 21.1 g
Macadamia nuts, dry-roasted 204 21.6 g
Macadamia nuts, raw 204 21.5 g

Source: Mayo Clinic

Nuts need to be eaten in moderation, with a goal of between four and six servings weekly.

Rule of thumb: Choose raw hazelnuts, closest to their natural state. Unsalted, unsweetened, unroasted (raw) are preferable to keep calorie intake down. Dry roasted hazelnuts nuts pack a few extra calories per serving. Avoid hazelnuts cooked in oil. Serving size is a small handful (21 kernels equals one ounce) or two tablespoons of nut butter.

While nut oils such as hazelnut extract offer some nutritional benefits, they often lack the fiber found in the actual nut, but you can eat them as a healthy snack, include hazelnut oil in your recipes, or add them to salads, meals, or as toppings for any variety of dishes.

Health Benefits Related to Hazelnuts

At a high level, research shows that frequently eating hazelnuts lowers levels of inflammation as a source of antioxidants, associated with heart disease and diabetes.

  • Good for your Heart Health

    Hazelnuts offer not just preventative measures related to cardiovascular disease, due in part to the amino acids they contain —research suggests they actually improve heart function. In addition to their unsaturated fat protein, hazelnuts are thought to be beneficial to the heart thanks to being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, plant sterols, and L-arginine.

    • Reduces Risk of Developing Heart Disease: As a source of Omega-3 fatty acids—known to be heart healthy—hazelnuts may play a role in reducing the risk of developing heart disease in the first place.

      Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research suggests eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as hazelnuts, may reduce the risk of heart disease as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol by improving artery health and blood flow, and blood vessels.

    • Reduces Cholesterol: A month-long study of people who already had high blood cholesterol showed decreases in cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL (the bad cholesterol) from eating roughly 20% of their daily calories from hazelnuts.
    • Reduces Blood Pressure: The combination of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants suggest hazelnuts offer protection against oxidative stress that leads to high blood pressure. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an excess of free radicals, which are produced by the body as the result of normal metabolic processes.
  • Reduce Cancer Risk

    While most of the research has been conducted in test tubes or on animals, findings suggest the high levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins may give hazelnuts some cancer fighting characteristics on different types of cancers.

    The most promising finding is hazelnuts’ high levels of proanthocyanins, which research indicates may contribute to preventing cancers in specific organs in the body.

  • Reduces Inflammation, Protects Against Cell Damage

    Their high concentration of healthy fats and polyphenols have linked hazelnuts to decreases in inflammatory markers. Chronic inflammation precedes (but is not the direct cause of) chronic disease such as excess weight, autoimmune disease, stress, certain infection as hepatitis C as well as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

    And as with benefits to blood pressure, hazelnuts appear to offer protection against oxidative stress—an excess of free radicals, which are produced by the body as the result of normal metabolic processes. Oxidative stress breaks down cell tissue and causes DNA damage, which can lead to the inflammation that precedes other disease.

  • Manage Diabetes

    The American Diabetes Association lists nuts as a “superstar food” for managing diabetes, largely due to how nuts’ healthy fats help manage hunger.

    Important consideration: People with diabetes should choose unsalted hazelnuts to avoid complications added salt can introduce.

    • Blood sugar levels: Because hazelnuts—like all nuts—are a low Glycemic Index (GI) food, their limited carbohydrates have low impact on blood sugar levels. The fiber in hazelnuts is digested slowly, also contributing to stabilizing blood glucose.

      Further, eating nuts has consistently been shown to reduce postprandial glycemic responses—the spike in blood sugar levels that commonly takes place immediately after a meal.

    • Insulin sensitivity: By reducing the rise in blood glucose, the pancreas doesn’t have to produce abnormal levels of insulin, which is what leads to insulin sensitivity.

  • Manage Weight

    Hazelnuts’ dietary fiber, which ensures better digestion, also helps to keep you feeling full longer and stave off craving and snacking that lead to weight gain, and help maintain a healthy body weight and even help with weight loss. Of course, it’s key to carefully manage portion size and frequency to avoid hazelnut consumption itself to cause weight gain.

  • Improve Sperm Count

    During a 14-week clinical study in Spain, two groups of men aged 18-35 continued eating a Western-style diet while one group added 60 g (about two handfuls) of nuts to their daily diet.

    The group with the additional nuts saw a 16% increase in sperm count. Researchers also noted improvements in sperm vitality, motility, shape and size, as well as less fragmented sperm DNA. As with all of the rest of the studies, hazelnuts’ nutrients— Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate—contributed to hormone regulation, which is what is believed to have resulted in stronger, healthier sperm.


Eating a diet rich in nuts is a healthy way to manage not only a healthy body weight, but a tasty and easy way to ensure you get enough vitamins, minerals, and can take advantage of the naturally abundant antioxidants that nuts, particular hazelnuts, offer. Of course they can cause an allergic reaction in those with nut sensitivities.