What are the Health Benefits of Hazelnuts? Are They Good for You?

What are Hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts are native to Europe and Asia, though they are also grown within North America as well as other parts of the world. Contrary to popular belief, these nuts do not grow on a tree. Instead, they are the fruit of the hazel plant, which is a rather hairy shrub.

Once the buds upon the shrub are in full bloom, a small cluster of nuts is produced. As soon as the nuts become ripe, they simply fall from the shrub to the ground. Generally, this entire process takes around eight months following pollination.

Hazelnuts

For many decades, it has been known that hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fats, which make them an ideal food to consume. Recently, a report published by the Hazelnut Council has prompted Italian researchers to look into this popular nut in order to find various cures for a number of illnesses.

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Do Hazelnuts Have Healing Properties?

Researchers from the National Institute for Cancer Research, Genova, have found that the shell of the nut contains various taxanes including paclitaxel (an inhibitor used during cancer chemotherapy).

Based upon these recent findings, the number of hazelnuts consumed by the general public has nearly doubled. Even though the original Italian research findings pointed to the shell of the nut, other research conducted by the Hazelnut Council has proven that the meat of the nut holds its fair share of health benefits as well.

In addition to the large amount of Vitamin E that can be found within the nut, the cholesterol decreasing beta-sitosterol has also been discovered. Thus, consuming more than 25 grams of hazelnuts per day can help the body fight against heart-disease and certain types of cancer.

This mighty little nut also contains B1, B2, and B6 vitamins – all of these vitamins are crucial when it comes to mental and physical health. It may seem as though such a small nut can’t possibly help prevent serious illnesses, numerous studies are starting to prove otherwise.

If you want to reap the benefits of the hazelnut, it is best to eat the nuts whole rather than consume some type of praline spread. Additionally, hazelnut concentrate that can be mixed with water can also be found throughout the world in some health food stores.