Hazelnuts, or filberts, are a sweet-flavored nut found predominantly in Europe and in the in the United States on a smaller scale . In many cultures hazelnuts presence can be found in desserts, snacks, and even main dishes. In a one ounce serving, these little nuts pack fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, calcium, and selenium as well as biotin. Also find in hazelnuts are vitamins K and E, potassium and folate. With all of these nutrients, hazelnuts are considered one of the most nutritious nuts.
In relation to other nuts, Hazelnuts have one of the lowest percentages of saturated fat and one of the highest percentages of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. The U.S Food and Drug Administration suggests eating nuts as part of a heart-health diet regimen to help reduce your risk of acquiring heart disease. The high antioxidant levels and vitamin E in hazelnuts also contribute to the promotion of heart health. The Iowa Women’s Health Study showed that antioxidants found nuts helped reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease with an increased consumption of nuts. Total death rates were decreased by 11% for nut intake just once a week. Other studies show as much as a 37% reduction of risk of coronary heart disease when subjects consumed nuts at least 4 times a week. Proanthocyanidins (PACs) content in hazelnuts (and nuts in general) are known to have an antioxidant capabilities 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and is 50 times more potent than vitamin E. PACs may have the ability to strengthen blood vessels, suppress platelet stickiness in arteries, lower blood pressure, and possibly delay the onset of dementia.
Hazelnuts are not only good for your heart but also for your hair and skin. Thanks to the presence of zinc, calcium, proteins and antioxidants and other nutrients, consuming hazelnuts can help keep your skin and hair healthy. Zinc is responsible for cell production require or tissue growth and cellular repair. Zinc is also important to maintaining the health of the oil glands on the scalp which contribute to healthy hair. Biotin is, as we all know, another hair friendly nutrient found in hazelnuts. Biotin is necessary for breaking down protein, fats, and carbohydrates and is also necessary for cell growth. As we all may know biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Many healthcare experts and dietitians agree that a deficiency in biotin is often contributed to dry skin and in severe cases may cause hair loss.
Hazelnuts can easily be enjoyed raw or roasted (unsalted) by themselves. However you can use hazelnuts in pad Thai dishes, or as a crust for baked fish or sprinkled on atop a salad. Add a punch to plain yogurt by adding chopped hazelnuts and fresh or dried fruit.
Nutrition is a big part of any healthy lifestyle and may of us can’t readily access a registered dietitian for questions, help with developing a healthy eating regimen, or to simply find out how may calories should be taken in on a given day. Most people turn to the internet with help in gaining dietary information they’re seeking but unfortunately not everything online is accurate and unbiased. Many sites tell you what you want to hear and are usually trying to get you to spend money on whatever they’re praising so highly. And lets just be honest, usually whatever the site is trying to sell you is usually a big flop. Other sites are just inaccurate with the information they present.
So where can we go online for reliable and unbiased nutritional information? Here are a few free “go-to” websites that myself, other fitness professionals, and registered dietitians highly recommend:
- www.mypyramid.gov: This is one of my favorites as I refer all of my clients to this site for nutrition information. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid offers personalized eating plans and interactive tools to help you plan or assess food choices, based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This site also provides a online food journal to help you track your caloric and nutrient intake as well as calories burned during physical activity.
- www.eatingright.org: This site is powered by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). This is a resource for the public, the media, students and health professionals.
- www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/home: The T. Colin Campbell Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers scientific and health information to the public, without influence from industry or commercial interests.
- www.consumerlab.com: This is another favorite of mine. This site provides independent test results and information to help consumers and health care professionals evaluate health, wellness, and nutrition products. This site does a lot of work in consumer advocacy regarding dietary supplements. Want to check the safety of a supplement? This is the place to go.
All of these sites base their information on solid valid scientific data. All sites have physicians and registered dietitians contributing to the content to help bring the public a solid reliable source. So if you’re revamping your nutritional intake, or just want to back up information you’ve read elsewhere, these are the sites are for you.
Until next week…