The health benefits of hazelnuts are numerous, but before we get into them, let’s learn a little more about this nutritious nut. At one time or another, every hiker, mountaineer, or mountain biker has carried a handful of hazelnuts in their pocket because of the energy they provide. They go very well with raisins, dried figs, and dates.
Hazelnut Scientific Facts
- Scientific name – Corylus avellana L.
- Other names – Filbert, Turkish filbert, American hazelnut, European hazel, cob, cobnut, Chinese hazel.
- French – Noisette.
- Spanish – Avellana.
- German – Haselnuss.
- Description – Seed of the fruit of the hazelnut tree, bush, or tree of the botanical family Betulaceae that reaches two to four meters in height. The seed is dicotyledonous and is enclosed in a challenging, woody, almost spherical pericarp measuring about 2 cm in diameter.
- Environment – The hazelnut is originally from Turkey, a country that is, together with Spain and Italy, one of the world’s primary producers.
Health Benefits of Hazelnuts
Despite being a highly concentrated food, hazelnuts are quite easily digested and easier than almonds and walnuts. They provide so much energy that a small handful of hazelnuts (about fifty grams) provides the necessary calories for an hour’s worth of physical exercise (316 kcal). The nutritional value of the hazelnut is like that of almonds. However, hazelnuts surpass almonds in calories, fats, vitamin B1, and folates.
On the other hand, almonds provide more proteins, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and niacin than hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are a reliable source of fats (62 percent), proteins (13 percent), vitamins B1 and B6, and minerals (particularly calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese).
As with other nuts, hazelnuts contain virtually no provitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. They are poor in carbohydrates. Because of this, it is helpful for those involved in physical activity, such as athletes, to combine them with fruits rich in carbohydrates such as raisins, dried figs, and dates. The use of hazelnuts is particularly indicated in cases of:
KIDNEY STONES: Dr. Valnet, a distinguished French phytotherapist, underscores the benefits of hazelnuts in preventing the formation of kidney stones. Making them a regular part of the diet of those suffering from renal lithiasis, particularly in cases of urate calculi, gives positive results. A handful of hazelnuts every morning provides satisfactory results.
DIABETES: Since they are low in carbohydrates and are a good energy source, hazelnuts are an excellent complement to a diabetic diet.
Whenever there is a need for higher energy levels: athletes, youth, and people that are weakened by a debilitating disease. They are also beneficial as part of the diets of pregnant women.
Those suffering from high blood pressure should not consume hazelnuts since they contain a poorly understood substance that can raise blood pressure.
How to use and Prepare Hazelnuts
- RAW: When hazelnuts are eaten raw, they should be well chewed, whether they are fresh from the tree or dried.
- ROASTED: Roasted hazelnuts are tastier than raw and are easier to digest for most individuals.
- OIL: Hazelnut oil is used very little because it quickly becomes rancid.
- HORCHATA: After soaking hazelnuts for eight hours, they are mashed to a homogenous paste. This is then mixed with water (one glass of water for every thirty grams of hazelnuts) and left to soak for an additional two hours. After this, it is strained through a fine sieve. The liquid thus prepared is hazelnut horchata.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 252, 253. Print. [health benefits of hazelnuts]