Hazelnuts provide significant amounts of antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress, which can damage cell structure and promote aging, cancer and heart disease.
The most abundant antioxidants in hazelnuts are known as phenolic compounds. They are proven to help decrease blood cholesterol and inflammation. They could also be beneficial for heart health and protecting against cancer.
An 8-week study showed that with or without the skin, it significantly decreased oxidative stress compared to not eating hazelnuts, which caused no effects .
The majority of the antioxidants present are concentrated in the skin of the nut. However, this antioxidant content could decrease after the roasting process.
Therefore, it is recommended to consume whole, unroasted kernels with the skin rather than peeled kernels, either roasted or unroasted.
Hazelnuts: Great For Your Heart
Eating nuts has been shown to protect the heart.
In hazelnuts, the high concentration of antioxidants and healthy fats may increase antioxidant potential and lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
One month-long study observed 21 people with high cholesterol levels who consumed 18–20% of their total daily calorie intake from hazelnuts. The results showed reduced cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol levels.
Participants also experienced improvements to artery health and inflammation markers in the blood.
Moreover, a review of nine studies including over 400 people also saw reductions in bad LDL and total cholesterol levels, while good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides remained unchanged.
In general, eating 29 to 69 grams of hazelnuts per day has been linked to improvements in heart function.