We often talk about the health benefits of hazelnuts because of their mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibre, and other nutrients.
But nuts are also a great source of protein, which likely contributes to the health benefits of eating them. With more Australians moving away from meat-rich diets, nuts also provide an ideal alternative source of protein.
In fact, of the common sources of plant protein that Australians eat – grains, legumes, nuts and soy – nuts generally have the highest plant protein content per 100g (1). For instance, hazelnuts have 14.8g plant protein per 100g, compared to tofu at 12g, chickpeas at 6g, and oats with 2-3g.
The protein digestibility (or ‘protein quality’) of tree nuts is similar to many other plant protein sources (2-4).
According to Nuts For Life:
Given their high level of plant protein, including a daily handful of nuts (30g) may be an effective and yet easy way for Australians to embrace plant-based eating patterns – a win for our health (and that of our planet).”
- Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). Australian Food Composition Database – Release 1.0: FSANZ; 2019. Available at: https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/
- Loveday SM. Food proteins: Technological, nutritional, and sustainability attributes of traditional and emerging proteins. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol, 2019. 10:311-39.
- Boye J., et al. Protein quality evaluation twenty years after the introduction of the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score method. Br J Nutr, 2012. 108(S2):S183-S211.
- Freitas JB., et al. Edible seeds and nuts grown in Brazil as sources of protein for human nutrition. Food Nutrition Sciences, 2012. 3(6):857-62.