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Hazelnut vs. Chestnut — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Hazelnut
vs
Chestnut

Summary

Hazelnuts contain more vitamins, minerals, protein, and less sodium than chestnuts. On the other hand, chestnuts are lower in sugars and calories and have a higher level of Vitamin C. Hazelnuts contain 74 times more Vitamin E and eight times more zinc than chestnuts.

Introduction

Hazelnuts are the nuts of the hazeltree, while chestnuts are a genus of plants. The name chestnut refers to the edible nuts they produce. This article will explore all aspects of hazelnuts and chestnuts, focusing on their health impact and nutrition.

Actual differences

Varieties, Taste, and Appearance

Hazelnuts are the fruit of the hazel tree; they include any nuts of the genus Corylus, also known as filberts or cobnuts. The chestnuts are a group of eight or nine species of trees and shrubs in the genus Castanea. 

Chestnuts are bigger than hazelnuts. Chestnuts have a slightly sweeter flavor, more like a sweet potato than another type of nut, while hazelnuts have a musty and earthy taste

Chestnuts are native to the Northern Hemisphere. The homeland of hazelnuts is Asia Minor.

Uses

Hazelnuts are used in desserts, baking, and in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles. The oil from hazelnut is used as a cooking oil. The most popular hazelnut products are chocolate bars, hazelnut cocoa spread, Nutella, and Frangelico liqueur. Hazelnuts are used as a topping for various desserts as well.

Chestnuts may be great to make winter soup in desserts. They are used in baked cakes and salads or mixed into stuffing with cranberries or apples (1) (2).

Nutrition

The nutritional profile of these nuts is very different. Both are rich in macronutrients. We created the nutritional infographic to understand the difference better. Have a look below.

Macronutrients

Overall, hazelnuts are more affluent in macronutrients than chestnuts. Hazelnuts contain seven times more protein and nine times more fiber than chestnuts. The level of fats in hazelnuts also is higher. Chestnuts contain fewer sugars than hazelnuts. Both nuts contain no cholesterol (3).

The infographic below shows that hazelnuts are denser in macronutrients than chestnuts because chestnuts are notably higher in water

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +647.5%
Contains more Fats +4302.2%
Contains more Other +222.5%
Contains more Carbs +66.2%
Contains more Water +1183.4%
15% 61% 17% 5% 2%
Protein: 14.95 g
Fats: 60.75 g
Carbs: 16.7 g
Water: 5.31 g
Other: 2.29 g
2% 28% 68%
Protein: 2 g
Fats: 1.38 g
Carbs: 27.76 g
Water: 68.15 g
Other: 0.71 g
Contains more Protein +647.5%
Contains more Fats +4302.2%
Contains more Other +222.5%
Contains more Carbs +66.2%
Contains more Water +1183.4%

Fats

In general, hazelnut is higher in both saturated and unsaturated fats. Hazelnut is especially richer in monounsaturated fats (around 96 times richer). Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats because they contain plant fats. 

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +9490.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +1353.2%
Contains less Saturated Fat -94.2%
8% 79% 14%
Saturated Fat: 4.464 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 45.652 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 7.92 g
20% 37% 43%
Saturated Fat: 0.26 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.476 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.545 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +9490.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +1353.2%
Contains less Saturated Fat -94.2%

Fiber

Nuts are packed with dietary fiber. As our source tells, hazelnut contains more fiber than chestnut. It has 9.7g of fiber per 100g. Most of the fiber in hazelnuts is soluble.

Calories

In general, hazelnuts contain more calories than chestnuts. Hazelnuts have about 628 calories per 100 g, while each chestnut contains 131 calories per 100 g (4). Most of the hazelnuts' calories come from their fat content. 

Vitamins

The vitamin content of hazelnuts is higher than that of chestnuts. 

Hazelnuts contain five times more Vitamin B1, three times more Folate, and two times more Vitamin B6 than chestnuts. Vitamin K, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B5 are also higher in hazelnuts than in chestnuts. 

On the other hand, chestnuts contain more Vitamin C. The amount of this Vitamin C is four times higher in chestnuts. Both nuts lack Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B9 entirely, and both are equal in Vitamin B2 (5) (6).

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +17.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +334.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +146.2%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +190.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +141.6%
Contains more Folate +197.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +323.8%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.104
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2% 301% 0% 21% 161% 27% 34% 56% 130% 85% 0% 25% 36%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2% 0% 0% 89% 37% 24% 14% 19% 54% 29% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +17.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +334.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +146.2%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +190.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +141.6%
Contains more Folate +197.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +323.8%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.104

Minerals

Overall, hazelnuts have a higher mineral summary than chestnuts. It contains two times more magnesium, two times more phosphorus, and eight times more zinc than chestnuts. Iron, calcium, and copper levels are also higher in hazelnuts. Moreover, this nut has less sodium than chestnut. The amount of potassium is equal in these nuts (7).

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +147.8%
Contains more Iron +171.7%
Contains more Magnesium +201.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +192.9%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Zinc +880%
Contains more Copper +265.5%
Contains more Manganese +623.1%
Equal in Potassium - 715
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 35% 177% 117% 125% 60% 0% 67% 575% 806% 14%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 14% 65% 39% 43% 64% 4% 7% 158% 112% 0%
Contains more Calcium +147.8%
Contains more Iron +171.7%
Contains more Magnesium +201.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +192.9%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Zinc +880%
Contains more Copper +265.5%
Contains more Manganese +623.1%
Equal in Potassium - 715

Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral, helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones and helps to normalize water balance and blood pressure in the body. In this case, chestnuts win. Chestnuts contain 715 mg of potassium per 100g, while the same serving of hazelnuts provides 680mg (8).

Glycemic Index and acidity

The glycemic index is the relative ranking of carbohydrates in food. The difference between the glycemic indexes of these nuts is vast. The estimated glycemic index of chestnuts is 52, whereas the glycemic index of hazelnuts is about 15. Hazelnuts are considered a low-glycemic index food. These nuts' acidity (pH) is almost equal; it is 5.9 – 6.3.

Health Benefits

Weight Loss

In low-calorie and low-fat diets, chestnuts are a good choice; they contain low calories and fats.

Unlike chestnuts, hazelnuts have more calories and fats; however, hazelnuts can also be used in some diets. If you are on a low-carb diet, such as the Keto diet, hazelnuts are the better choice. Moreover, they have a low glycemic index, suitable for low GI or Medium GI diets (9) (10).

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Hazelnuts and chestnuts are both beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Hazelnuts can help prevent the decrease of "good" cholesterol in the blood, reduce inflammation, and prevent the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol. These benefits are essential in decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the leading cause of coronary artery disease. As a result, it can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction. Similarly, chestnuts can also help decrease "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood. So, consuming hazelnuts and chestnuts can be an excellent addition to your diet for a healthy heart (11, 12, 13, 14, 15).

To effectively lower your cholesterol, keep in mind that it's crucial to consume nuts in sufficient quantities rather than fixating on specific types (16). 

According to this study, Mediterranean diets supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced cardiovascular events, particularly stroke, compared with a control, lower-fat diet (17).

Consuming nuts, such as hazelnuts and chestnuts, was found to decrease the risk of developing atrial fibrillation and heart failure (18).

Cancer

Chestnuts are a great source of Vitamin C, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins, which have potent antioxidant effects on the human body. According to one study, chestnuts may cure stomach cancer, epistaxis, and hemifacialia. On the other hand, hazelnuts are rich in Vitamin E, an excellent dietary source of natural antioxidants. Research shows that some neolignans (cedrusin and balanophonin, and gallic acid) can inhibit the growth of human cancer cells. Besides, hazelnuts are rich in Vitamin B6, which may help fight several types of cancer (19) (20).

Improve Brain Function

First, hazelnuts are rich in the Vitamin B family, directly linked to proper neurological development and function. According to researchers, the micronutrients and antioxidants in hazelnuts may protect the brain from oxidative stress. Besides, the tocotrienol-rich products can help to protect brain cells from diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Moreover, hazelnuts and chestnuts are rich in potassium, increasing blood flow to the brain and promoting good nervous system health (21) (22).

Boost Immune System

Research shows that vitamin C may help people to recover more quickly from the common cold.

The high level of vitamin C makes chestnuts an ideal boost to your immune system. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell production and acts as an antioxidant, reducing the risk of forming free radicals and neutralizing them before they cause healthy cells to mutate or induce oxidative stress near vital organs (23) (24).

Diabetes

According to studies, nuts, such as hazelnuts or chestnuts, can help to reduce blood sugar levels.

Research shows that hazelnut oleic acid benefits insulin sensitivity in 11 people with type 2 diabetes. Results show that a diet rich in these nuts can reduce HDL-C concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes [25].

Improving Hair and Skin Health

Hazelnuts are rich in zinc, an essential mineral for human health. This mineral may help promote collagen formation to make healthy hair growth. You may stimulate and nourish the hair follicles by using hazelnut oil for scalp massages. Moreover, hazelnuts are a great source of Vitamin E, which can help your skin look young and vibrant. On the other hand, chestnuts are rich in Vitamin C, decreasing oxidative stress and keeping your skin healthy (26) (27).

Pregnancy

Studies show eating nuts during early pregnancy provides long-term benefits for a child's motor and cognitive development. Moreover, hazelnuts are a great source of omega-3s essential during pregnancy. On the other hand, chestnuts contain folic acid, which can help to prevent congenital disabilities in newborns. Nevertheless, eat chestnuts in moderation to avoid excessive weight gain, which is undesirable during pregnancy (28).

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Patients who are allergic to tree pollen allergy have an allergy to hazelnuts. The symptoms are common and usually include itching, swelling, and chestnuts burning in the mouth and throat.

In cases of allergy to chestnut, the allergen responsible for the reaction is likely to be one of the lipid transfer proteins—30% of patients with chestnut-allergic experience severe anaphylactic episodes of ingestion. Symptoms usually include wheezing, throat swelling, and breathing difficulty (29).

References

  1. http://www.fao.org/3/x4484e/x4484e03.htm
  2. https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/10/2/article-p296.xml
  3. Nuts: source of energy and macronutrients
  4. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/S095442241100014X
  5. http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/SERVER/APJCN/17/s1/329.pdf
  6. https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2009.02155.x
  7. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00611-3
  8. https://sci-hub.se/10.1017/BJN20061862
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32006366/
  10. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2011/357350/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23415431/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793369/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27897978/
  14. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary_ad.htm
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235886/#B8-biomedicines-08-00075
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4658458/
  17. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.03353
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161661/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133749/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4127821/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790869/
  22. http://www.bourre.fr/pdf/publications_scientifiques/259.pdf
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17636648/
  24. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814611003943
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793377/
  26. A potential medicinal importance of zinc in human health and chronic disease
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
  28. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200710-1544OC
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811165/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan

Infographic

Hazelnut vs Chestnut infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Hazelnut Chestnut
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Hazelnut Chestnut Opinion
Net carbs 7g 27.76g Chestnut
Protein 14.95g 2g Hazelnut
Fats 60.75g 1.38g Hazelnut
Carbs 16.7g 27.76g Chestnut
Calories 628kcal 131kcal Hazelnut
Starch 0.48g Hazelnut
Fructose 0.07g Hazelnut
Sugar 4.34g Chestnut
Fiber 9.7g Hazelnut
Calcium 114mg 46mg Hazelnut
Iron 4.7mg 1.73mg Hazelnut
Magnesium 163mg 54mg Hazelnut
Phosphorus 290mg 99mg Hazelnut
Potassium 680mg 715mg Chestnut
Sodium 0mg 27mg Hazelnut
Zinc 2.45mg 0.25mg Hazelnut
Copper 1.725mg 0.472mg Hazelnut
Manganese 6.175mg 0.854mg Hazelnut
Selenium 2.4µg Hazelnut
Vitamin A 20IU 17IU Hazelnut
Vitamin A RAE 1µg 1µg
Vitamin E 15.03mg Hazelnut
Vitamin C 6.3mg 26.7mg Chestnut
Vitamin B1 0.643mg 0.148mg Hazelnut
Vitamin B2 0.113mg 0.104mg Hazelnut
Vitamin B3 1.8mg 0.731mg Hazelnut
Vitamin B5 0.918mg 0.316mg Hazelnut
Vitamin B6 0.563mg 0.233mg Hazelnut
Folate 113µg 38µg Hazelnut
Choline 45.6mg Hazelnut
Vitamin K 14.2µg Hazelnut
Tryptophan 0.193mg 0.022mg Hazelnut
Threonine 0.497mg 0.071mg Hazelnut
Isoleucine 0.545mg 0.079mg Hazelnut
Leucine 1.063mg 0.118mg Hazelnut
Lysine 0.42mg 0.118mg Hazelnut
Methionine 0.221mg 0.047mg Hazelnut
Phenylalanine 0.663mg 0.084mg Hazelnut
Valine 0.701mg 0.112mg Hazelnut
Histidine 0.432mg 0.055mg Hazelnut
Saturated Fat 4.464g 0.26g Chestnut
Monounsaturated Fat 45.652g 0.476g Hazelnut
Polyunsaturated fat 7.92g 0.545g Hazelnut

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Hazelnut Chestnut
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
67%
Hazelnut
20%
Chestnut
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
197%
Hazelnut
50%
Chestnut

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut contains less Sodium (difference - 27mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is lower in glycemic index (difference - 39)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Hazelnut
Hazelnut is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Chestnut
Chestnut is lower in Sugar (difference - 4.34g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Chestnut
Chestnut is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 4.204g)
Which food is cheaper?
Chestnut
Chestnut is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Hazelnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170581/nutrients
  2. Chestnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170168/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.