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Can You Eat Raw Hazelnuts?

By Lana Billings-Smith

Hazelnuts, one of the main ingredients in Nutella, are commonly eaten toasted -- either whole; chopped up as a topping for desserts, sundaes and salads; or ground up. You can also eat hazelnuts, also called filberts, raw. Raw hazelnuts are not necessarily nutritionally different than roasted hazelnuts, although some nuts are roasted in oil, which can increase the calorie and fat content. Raw hazelnuts are high in protein and dietary fiber, and you can find them in specialty food stores, baking supply stores and health food stores.

Calorie and Sodium Content

A 1-ounce serving of raw hazelnuts has 178 calories and over 17 grams of total fat, the majority of which is monounsaturated fat. Raw hazelnuts naturally contain no sodium. Prepared foods, such as roasted hazelnuts, often contain added salt, which contributes to the high sodium content in the standard American diet. While they are high in calories and fat given their serving size, hazelnuts can still be part of a healthy diet. Health Guidance recommends them as a nutritious snack, helping you avoid more processed foods that may be higher in calories.

Source of Protein

A 1-ounce serving of raw hazelnuts has 4.24 grams of protein and counts as a nonanimal protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The recommended daily intake of protein foods is between 5 and 6 1/2 ounces. Protein helps build muscles, bones, cartilage and skin, and a diet that includes nuts and seeds, such as hazelnuts, may help reduce your chances of heart disease.

Dietary Fiber

Hazelnuts are naturally high in dietary fiber, with 2.7 grams per 1-ounce serving. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most Americans do not consume enough dietary fiber daily. The recommended intake is between 25 and 35 grams per day, which means that hazelnuts provide 7.7 to 10.8 percent of the recommended intake. Dietary fiber can improve digestion, helping waste move along more quickly through your digestive tract. It is also filling, helping you limit the number of calories you consume as it makes you feel fuller on less food.

Vitamin E

Raw hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E, with 4.26 milligrams, or 6.4 international units, per 1-ounce serving. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E is 22.4 to 28.4 international units per day for women, with pregnant and breast-feeding women requiring more. The RDA of vitamin E is 22.4 for men. A single serving of hazelnuts gives 22.5 to 28.6 percent of the recommended intake of vitamin E. In addition to being a natural antioxidant, protecting your body from harm from free radicals, vitamin E is also important for the production of red blood cells.

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