Hazelnuts may be the key to disease prevention

Washington: A new research suggests that adding hazelnuts to your daily diet could bode well for long-term health.

The new study, administered by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and published in ‘The Journal of Nutrition’, found that older adults who added hazelnuts to their diet for 16 weeks significantly improved their levels of two key micronutrients.

Results showed increased blood concentrations of magnesium and elevated urinary levels of a breakdown product of alpha-tocopherol, commonly known as vitamin E.

Older adults are at increased risk of various chronic diseases where inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals may play a significant role, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and cancer. Tree nuts, including hazelnuts, contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of vitamin E and a good source of magnesium, two “shortfall nutrients” that are lacking in the typical American diet.

Researchers stated the objective of the study was to determine whether daily hazelnut consumption by healthy older adults for 16 weeks improves biomarkers of micronutrient status, especially vitamin E and magnesium.

Participants including women consumed hazelnuts for 16 weeks. Blood and urine samples and anthropomorphic measures were taken at the start and end of the intervention to determine plasma and serum concentrations of magnesium, lipids, glucose, insulin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein along with urinary vitamin E metabolites, several other micronutrients were measured by a lymphocyte proliferation assay.

A one-ounce serving (28.35 g) of raw hazelnuts contains 27 percent (4 mg) of your daily value (15 mg) of vitamin E . Vitamin E is a shortfall micronutrient, which frequently is consumed at levels less than the Estimated Average Requirement of 15 mg/day.

These new findings complement existing knowledge about the role of nuts in heart health.

Compared to people who didn’t eat nuts, people who ate nuts saw benefits that increased along with the number of servings of nuts they ate. Those who ate nuts seven times a week had nearly twice the benefit compared to those who ate nuts once a week, once a week nut eaters had a small, but still significant benefit.

This observational study is an important addition to the body of research on nuts and heart health.