Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are a type of tree nut that is native to Europe and Asia. They are small, round nuts that are encased in a hard, brown shell and are often used in cooking and baking. In addition to their versatility in the kitchen, hazelnuts also have a number of health benefits that make them a nutritious choice for improving heart and brain health.
One of the key properties of hazelnuts that makes them beneficial for heart health is their high levels of monounsaturated fats. These types of fats, which are also found in olive oil and avocados, have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Hazelnuts also contain a significant amount of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. These factors, combined with the nuts’ low sodium and high potassium content, make them a heart-healthy choice.
In addition to their benefits for heart health, hazelnuts are also good for the brain. The nuts are a rich source of vitamin B6, which is essential for brain function and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals help regulate mood and play a role in memory and cognitive function. Hazelnuts are also a good source of thiamin, another B-vitamin that is important for brain health.
Hazelnuts are also high in other nutrients that support brain health, including magnesium, which is involved in the production of brain cells and the regulation of brain function, and zinc, which is essential for the development and function of the central nervous system. Hazelnuts are also a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that is important for mental health and cognitive function.
In addition to their nutrients, hazelnuts also contain plant compounds called flavonoids, which have been shown to have a number of health benefits. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
In conclusion, hazelnuts are a nutritious choice for improving heart and brain health. Their high levels of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and other nutrients make them a heart-healthy choice, while their vitamin B6, thiamin, magnesium, zinc, and folate content support brain function. The nuts’ flavonoids may also have a number of health benefits. Whether you’re looking to lower your risk of heart disease or support your brain health, adding hazelnuts to your diet is a tasty and nutritious way to do so.