A hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and is also known as cobnut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice as long as it is round. The nut falls out of the husk when ripe, about seven to eight months after pollination. The kernel of the seed is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. Hazelnuts are also used for livestock feed, as are chestnuts and acorns. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin, which is sometimes removed before cooking.
Hazelnuts are produced in commercial quantities in Turkey, Italy, Greece, Georgia, in the south of the Spanish region of Catalonia, in the UK county of Kent and in the American states of Oregon and Washington. Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world with approximately 75% of worldwide production.
Hazelnuts are used in confectionery to make praline, and also used in combination with chocolate for chocolate truffles and products such as Nutella and Frangelico liqueur. Hazelnut oil, pressed from hazelnuts, is strongly flavoured and used as a cooking oil.One of the biggest advantages of hazelnuts is that they can be eaten raw. Raw hazelnuts are good for you as they retain the goodness and nutrients present in the nut. Hazelnuts are extremely good for health as they are rich in many vitamins and minerals.
These nuts are abundant in minerals and contain a wide range of minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and manganese. This nut also contains vitamin K, which is an essential component of blood. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), phylloquinone (vitamin K1), folates (vitamin B9), niacin (vitamin B3) and thiamine (vitamin B1) are some of the other vitamins present in hazelnuts in addition to vitamin K.
Apart from these vitamins and minerals, amino acids, aspartic acid, arginine, glutamic acid and alanine are also present in hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are also rich sources of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Additionally, hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber.
Hazelnuts like many other nuts have more nutrients in them than you could have thought possible. This tiny nut is packed with vitamins and minerals that promote good health. The usage of these nuts as a natural remedy has increased as these nuts are believed to help prevent spells of dizziness and are even believed to prevent cancer.
Hazelnut is a good source of polyunsaturated fats and monosaturated fats that protect the heart. That is the reason why many doctors advise heart patients to include hazelnuts in their diet.
Vitamin E is also found in plenty in hazelnuts. Vitamin E is very good for the muscles of the body, especially the heart muscles. Even simple physical activities such as walking are dependent on the strength of the muscles. If the muscles are in good shape, it makes simple tasks much easier to perform. Additionally, vitamin E also helps improve the health of the skin, hair as well as the nails. This is the reason why hazelnut oil is used as oil for hair.
A rich source of phytochemicals, hazelnuts contains quercetin, kaempherol and proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins present in hazelnuts help relieve allergic symptoms, improve circulation and benefit the brain as well. These are the substances that found in other health promoting foods such as green tea and red wine.
As a source of protein and dietary fiber, eating hazelnuts are a great option. This is because one cup of hazelnuts contains about 17 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. Vegetarians in particular can benefit from eating hazelnuts, which can help them get their daily protein requirement through a nonmeat source. Additionally, as they are rich in fiber, they help smoothen bowel movement and relieve constipation.
Hazelnuts are a good source of the B complex vitamins as well. B complex vitamins are essential for the body as deficiency can cause problems of the nervous system, depression, birth defects, and many other illnesses. A handful of hazelnuts will ensure that your body gets enough B complex vitamins, especially if you do not eat meat or eggs.
These nuts are also a rich source of other essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium. These minerals help in regulating the circulation of blood. Improved blood circulation not only means proper functioning of your body, it also means that the overall immune system functions better, keeping fever, colds and everyday illnesses at bay.
For those who have iron deficiencies, doctors recommend that they include hazelnuts in their diet. This is because a handful of these nuts gives a third of the required amount of iron per day. In the body, Iron is needed for the blood to absorb oxygen. The more iron you blood has, the more oxygen it can transport to different parts of your body and the more energetic and full of life you will feel. Consuming hazelnuts can prevent you from feeling tired and fatigued.
Hazelnuts are also believed to have the additional benefit of eliminating the factors that lead to the development of all types of cancers. While this is still not proven and the relationship between hazelnuts and cancer is under study, including hazelnuts in your diet every day may help decrease your chances of cancer.
One very important benefit of hazelnuts is that they provide a lot of calories in one single serving. About 100 grams of these nuts can provide you with over 600 calories. Therefore, snack on a handful of these nuts before going to your gym and after a rigorous exercise routine to ensure healthy pre and post workout nutrition.
Considering the nutritional value of hazelnuts, these should definitely be a part of our daily diet. Including a cup full of these nuts as a snack or in some recipe every day can go a long way towards ensuring that you provide your body with a whole load of nutrients on a daily basis. You could use them as a part of a salad, as topping over dessert, or even use them as garnish for a wide variety of dishes. However, as mentioned earlier, hazelnuts contain a lot of calories, so if you are overweight, you should speak with your doctor first.
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