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Health Benefits of Hazelnuts

Nuts and RaisinsNutritional analysis suggests that adding hazelnuts to your diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. Consuming just 1.5 ounces of hazelnuts per day may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new health claim that was approved by the FDA. The claim states “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as hazelnuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

In addition to their great taste, hazelnuts are cholesterol-free and chock-full of important nutrients, including protein and fiber. They are also a great source of vitamins such as folic acid, niacin, and vitamins E and B-6, and minerals like magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and potassium. Hazelnuts contain nearly 91 percent monounsaturated, mostly oleic fatty acid fat and less than four percent saturated fat. The high level of monounsaturated fatty acids found in hazelnuts may reduce both total blood and LDL cholesterol levels when consumed as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet.

In a U.S. study, cited in the June 24, 2002 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that eating nuts regularly could lower your risk of sudden cardiac death. Dr. Christine Albert of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston led a 12-year Physician’s Health Study which examined the nut consumption of nearly 22,000 male physicians aged 40-84, with no prior history of heart disease. Dr. Albert and her colleagues found that men who consumed nuts twice or more in a week had a 47 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death than men who rarely or never consumed nuts. Nut eaters also had a 30 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease death.

“This is great news for hazelnut lovers,” said Lisa Kelly, registered dietitian. “Hazelnuts are a delicious addition to salads, pasta dishes and desserts and a handful of nuts makes a nutritious snack. It’s always a bonus when we discover that foods we enjoy actually serve an important role in disease prevention,” added Kelly.

Start living healthy today! Check out our delicious hazelnut recipes.

Health benefit information copyright © 2004 The Hazelnut Council.