Are Hazelnuts High In Oxalates? What You Need To Know

Nuts and seeds are often considered a healthy snack option, but for those with a tendency to form kidney stones, they can be a source of concern due to their high oxalate content.

Hazelnuts, in particular, are a popular choice for snacking and baking, but are they high in oxalates?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the oxalate content of hazelnuts and whether they can be included in a low oxalate diet without compromising on taste and nutrition.

So, let’s crack open the shell and find out!

Are Hazelnuts High In Oxalates

Hazelnuts are a type of nut that is commonly used in various culinary applications, including baking, cooking, and snacking. They are known for their rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture, making them a popular choice among food enthusiasts.

However, for those who are on a low oxalate diet due to kidney stone concerns, the question arises: are hazelnuts high in oxalates?

According to a study conducted by Ritter and Savage in 2007, hazelnuts contain relatively low levels of both gastric soluble and intestinal soluble oxalates. In fact, hazelnuts were found to have one of the lowest levels of gastric soluble oxalate among all the nuts tested in the study.

This means that hazelnuts can be included in a low oxalate diet without causing any harm or increasing the risk of kidney stone formation.

Understanding Oxalates And Kidney Stones

Oxalates are organic compounds found in many plant-based foods, including nuts, seeds, leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and cocoa. When consumed, oxalates can bind to minerals and form compounds like calcium oxalate and iron oxalate. In most people, these compounds are eliminated in the urine or stool. However, in sensitive individuals, high oxalate diets have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones and other health problems.

Kidney stones are solid masses that form in the kidney when there are high levels of calcium, oxalate, cystine, or phosphate and too little liquid. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone and are caused by too much oxalate in the urine. Oxalate can bind to calcium while urine is being made by the kidneys, leading to crystal formation and the potential for stone growth.

To limit calcium oxalate stone growth, individuals with high oxalate excretions (>25 mg/day) may benefit from reducing urinary oxalate output through dietary changes. This includes avoiding high oxalate foods and consuming an adequate amount of calcium while maintaining appropriate hydration levels.

However, it’s important to note that not all nuts and seeds are created equal when it comes to oxalate content. Hazelnuts, for example, have relatively low levels of both gastric soluble and intestinal soluble oxalates compared to other nuts. This means that hazelnuts can be included in a low oxalate diet without increasing the risk of kidney stone formation.

The Oxalate Content Of Hazelnuts

The study by Ritter and Savage found that hazelnuts contained only 34.5 mg/100 g fresh weight (FW) of gastric soluble oxalate, which is considered a very low level. In comparison, almonds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and candle nuts all contained high levels of gastric soluble oxalate.

Furthermore, hazelnuts were found to have a relatively low level of intestinal soluble oxalate, with only 133.5 mg/100 g FW. This means that the fraction of oxalates that will be absorbed in the small intestine is also low.

Overall, the mean soluble oxalate content of hazelnuts was found to be only 61% of the gastric soluble oxalate content. This indicates that hazelnuts have a low overall oxalate content compared to other nuts.

Hazelnuts In A Low Oxalate Diet

If you are following a low oxalate diet, hazelnuts can be a great addition to your diet. Hazelnuts are not only low in oxalates, but they are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Hazelnuts can be enjoyed in various ways, such as roasted and salted as a snack, added to salads or baked goods, or even used to make homemade nut butter. However, it is important to keep in mind that portion control is key when incorporating hazelnuts into your diet. Consuming large amounts of any food, including hazelnuts, can lead to an increase in oxalate intake.

Other Health Benefits Of Hazelnuts

Apart from being low in oxalates, hazelnuts have several other health benefits that make them a great addition to one’s diet. Hazelnuts contain a high amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) and increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). This makes them an excellent food choice for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Hazelnuts are also rich in magnesium, which is essential for regulating blood pressure and maintaining a healthy balance of calcium and potassium in the body. Additionally, they are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to improve digestion and prevent constipation.

Hazelnuts also contain antioxidants that help to protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hazelnut Alternatives For Low Oxalate Diets

While hazelnuts are safe to consume for those on a low oxalate diet, it is always good to have some alternatives on hand. Here are some low oxalate nut options that can be used as a substitute for hazelnuts:

1. Pecans: Pecans are a great alternative to hazelnuts, with only 16mg of oxalates per 100g serving. They have a similar flavor profile and can be used in baking or snacking.

2. Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts are another low oxalate nut option, with only 5mg of oxalates per 100g serving. They have a rich, buttery flavor and can be used in desserts or as a snack.

3. Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium and contain only 12mg of oxalates per 100g serving. They have a slightly sweet flavor and can be used in baking or as a snack.

4. Pine nuts: Pine nuts are a great addition to salads and pesto sauces, with only 9mg of oxalates per 100g serving. They have a mild, nutty flavor and can also be used in baking.

5. Almonds: While almonds do contain more oxalates than the other nuts on this list, they are still considered low oxalate with only 234mg of oxalates per 100g serving. They can be used in baking or as a snack, but it is important to practice portion control.

By incorporating these low oxalate nut options into your diet, you can still enjoy the delicious flavor and health benefits of nuts without compromising your kidney health.

Conclusion: Enjoying Hazelnuts In Moderation

While hazelnuts may be a safe choice for those on a low oxalate diet, it is important to remember that moderation is key. Consuming too many hazelnuts can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Additionally, hazelnuts are high in fat and calories, so overindulging can lead to weight gain.

People with certain kidney conditions are advised to limit their intake of hazelnuts and other foods high in oxalates. However, for most people, enjoying hazelnuts in moderation can provide numerous health benefits. Hazelnuts are a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They are also rich in various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, magnesium, and thiamin.

In clinical studies, hazelnuts have been linked to improved brain health due to their high vitamin E content. Almonds and walnuts have also been shown to cause similar neurological effects.

Overall, hazelnuts can be a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation. As with any food, it is important to listen to your body and consume hazelnuts in amounts that work for you.

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