Hazelnut vs Chestnut - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
In this article, we will explore all aspects of hazelnut and chestnut, with a focus on their health impact and nutrition. Hazelnuts are the nuts of the hazel tree, while chestnuts are a genus of plants. The name chestnut refers to the edible nuts they produce.
Hazelnuts are the fruit of the hazel; they include any nuts of the genus Corylus, also known as filberts or cobnuts. Hazelnut has slight notes of musty and earthy. The chestnuts are a group of eight or nine species of trees and shrubs in the genus Castanea. Hazelnuts are bigger than chestnuts. Chestnuts have a slightly sweet flavor more like sweet potato than another type of nut. Chestnuts are native to the Northern Hemisphere.
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 such as Nutella, and Frangelico liqueur. Chestnuts may be great to make winter soup, in desserts. They are used in baked cakes, salads, or mixing into stuffing with cranberries or apples  .
The nutritional profile of these nuts is very different. Both are rich in micronutrients, however, to better understand the difference, we created the nutritional infographic. Have a look below.
Overall, hazelnuts are richer in micronutrients, than chestnuts. Hazelnuts contain 7 times more protein and 9 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 .
In general, hazelnuts contain more calories, than chestnuts. Each hazelnut has about 628 calories per 100 g, while each chestnut contains 131 calories per 100 g .
The vitamin content of hazelnut is higher than that of chestnuts. Hazelnuts contain 5 times more Vitamin B1, 3 times more Folate, and 2 times more Vitamin B6 than chestnuts. The amount of 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 4 times higher in chestnuts. Both nuts completely lack Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B9, and both are equal in Vitamin B2  .
Overall, hazelnuts have a higher mineral summary than chestnuts. It contains 2 more magnesium, 2 phosphorus, and 8 times more zinc than chestnuts. The levels of iron, calcium, and copper are also higher in hazelnuts. Moreover, this nut has less sodium than chestnut. The amount of potassium is equal in these nuts .
Potassium is an essential mineral, which is helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones and helps to normalize water balance and blood pressure in the body. In this case, these nuts have an equal potassium level. Both contain 715 mg potassium per 100g .
The glycemic index is the relative ranking of carbohydrates in food. The difference between glycemic indexes of these nuts is huge. The estimated glycemic index of chestnuts is 52, whereas the glycemic index of hazelnut is about 15. Hazelnuts are considered a low glycemic index food. The acidity (pH) of these nuts is almost equal, it is 5.9 – 6.3.
In the case of low calories and low fats diets, chestnuts are a good choice, they contain a low level of calories and fats.
Unlike chestnuts, hazelnuts have more calories, and fats, despite that, they also can be used in case of some diets. If you are on a low carbs diet, such as the Keto diet, hazelnuts are the better choice. Moreover, they have a low glycemic index, which is good in the case Low GI or Medium GI diets  .
Research shows that eating nuts may be good for your heart . Antioxidants and minerals may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease or stroke. Hazelnuts and chestnuts are rich in potassium, which is required to keep the heart beating by keeping electricity flowing throughout the human body. Moreover, hazelnuts are also high in antioxidants, such as oleic acid, phytosterols (mainly b-sitosterol), vitamin E, and squalene, which may lower cholesterol levels in the blood  .
Chestnuts are a great source of Vitamin C, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins, which have strong antioxidant effects on the human body. According to one study, chestnuts may cure stomach cancer, epistaxis, and hemafecia. On the other hand, hazelnuts are rich in Vitamin E, which is 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 to fight several types of cancer  .
Improve Brain Function
First of all, hazelnuts are rich in the Vitamin B family which are directly linked to proper neurological development and function. Besides, the tocotrienol-rich products can help to protect brain cells from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to researchers, the micronutrients, and antioxidants in hazelnuts may protect the brain from oxidative stress.
Moreover, hazelnuts and chestnuts are rich in potassium, which can increase blood flow to the brain and promote good nervous system health  .
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 the production of white blood cells, and acts as an antioxidant, reducing the risk of formation of free radicals and neutralizing them before they cause healthy cells to mutate or induce oxidative stress near vital organs  .
According to studies, nuts, such as hazelnut or chestnut, can help to reduce blood sugar levels.
Research shows that oleic acid in hazelnuts has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity in 11 people with type 2 diabetes. Results show that a diet rich in these nuts can prevent the reduction of HDL-C concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes .
Improving Hair and Skin Health
Hazelnuts are rich in zinc, which is an important mineral for human health. This mineral may help to promote the formation of collagen to make hair healthy growth. By using hazelnut oil for scalp massages, you may stimulate the hair follicles and nourish them. 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, which can decrease oxidative stress and keep your skin healthy  .
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, which are essential during pregnancy. On the other hand, chestnuts contain folic acid which can help to prevent birth defects in newborns. Nevertheless, try to eat chestnuts in moderation to avoid excessive weight gain which is undesirable during pregnancy .
Downsides and Risks
Patients that are allergic to tree pollen allergy often have an allergy to hazelnuts. The symptoms are common, and usually include itching, swelling, 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 .
Hazelnuts contain more vitamins, minerals, protein, and less sodium than chestnuts. On the other hand, chestnuts are lower in sugars, in calories, and have a higher level of Vitamin C. Hazelnuts contain 74 times more Vitamin E and 8 times more zinc than chestnuts.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values