The hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and therefore includes any of the nuts deriving from species of the genus Corylus, especially the nuts of the species Corylus avellana. It also is known as cobnut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm (0.59–0.98 in) long and 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice as long as its diameter. The nut falls out of the husk when ripe, about 7 to 8 months after pollination. The kernel of the seed is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin, which sometimes is removed before cooking.
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. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts.
The many cultivars of the hazel include ‘Atababa’, ‘Barcelona’, ‘Butler’, ‘Casina’, ‘Clark’, ‘Cosford’, ‘Daviana’, ‘Delle Langhe’, ‘England’, ‘Ennis’, ‘Fillbert’, ‘Halls Giant’, ‘Jemtegaard’, ‘Kent Cob’, ‘Lewis’, ‘Tokolyi’, ‘Tonda Gentile’, ‘Tonda di Giffoni’, ‘Tonda Romana’, ‘Wanliss Pride’, and ‘Willamette’. Some of these are grown for specific qualities of the nut, including large nut size, or early or late fruiting, whereas others are grown as pollinators. The majority of commercial hazelnuts are propagated from root sprouts. Some cultivars are of hybrid origin between common hazel and filbert.
Hazelnuts are rich in protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, manganese, and numerous other essential nutrients (nutrition table below).
In 1995, evidence of large-scale Mesolithic nut processing, some 9,000 years old, was found in a midden pit on the island of Colonsay in Scotland. The evidence consists of a large, shallow pit full of the remains of hundreds of thousands of burned hazelnut shells. Hazelnuts have been found on other Mesolithic sites, but rarely in such quantities or concentrated in one pit. The nuts were radiocarbon dated to 7720+/-110BP, which calibrates to circa 6000 BC. Similar sites in Britain are known only at Farnham in Surrey and Cass ny Hawin on the Isle of Man.
This discovery gives an insight into communal activity and planning in the period. The nuts were harvested in a single year, and pollen analysis suggests the hazel trees were all cut down at the same time. The scale of the activity and the lack of large game on the island, suggest the possibility that Colonsay contained a community with a largely vegetarian diet for the time they spent on the island. The pit was originally on a beach close to the shore, and was associated with two smaller, stone-lined pits whose function remains obscure, a hearth, and a second cluster of pits.
The traditional method to increase nut production is called ‘brutting’, which involves prompting more of the trees’ energy to go into flower bud production, by snapping, but not breaking off, the tips of the new year shoots’ six or seven leaf groups from where they join with the trunk or branch, at the end of the growing season. The traditional term for an area of cultivated hazelnuts is a plat.
30 Amazing Benefits
Helps in Delaying Premature Ageing
One cup of hazelnuts offers about 86% of the daily Vitamin E requirement. It also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C, two powerful antioxidants. A synergic effect of these vitamins prevents the onset of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin, thus delaying the early onset of ageing signs.
Keeps Your Skin Hydrated
Hazelnuts, as mentioned above, contain Vitamin E in plentiful amounts. This Vitamin E along with the fats of this nut helps in moisturizing and hydrating the skin. It, thus, conditions the skin, keeping it soft and smooth. The skin looks visibly radiant with the slightest tint of greasiness appearing nowhere.
Keeps You Safe From Harsh UV Rays
You can apply hazelnut oil on your skin. This will act as a natural sunscreen, safeguarding you from the harmful effects of the harsh UV rays. Just mix a few drops each of sesame, avocado, walnut, and hazelnut oils and apply this mixed oil in your skin daily to get protection from UV rays.
Keeps Your Skin Healthy And Fresh
Packed with antioxidants, hazelnuts play a vital role in keeping the skin look healthier. The antioxidants combat the free radicals, which, if left untamed, could damage your skin. It also shields the skin from skin cancer induced by UVA/UVB rays. The flavanoids along with the antioxidants stimulates the regeneration of skin cells. This will eliminate the dead cells, rendering a visibly healthier and younger looking skin.
Safe And Gentle On Sensitive Skin
The gentle hydrating and conditioning properties of this nut makes it a perfect natural moisturizer for sensitive and dry skin.
The use of these rust hued nuts go beyond nutella and muffins. They make an excellent scrub ingredient for acne prone skin along with coffee beans. Crush 1 tsp roasted hazelnuts and mix it along with ½ tsp coffee powder and ½ tsp sugar in coconut oil or olive oil. Use this scrub to treat your acne.
Good for Colored Hair
Hazelnuts are used as a natural ingredient in various coloring agents. Along with rendering a delectably delightful brown hue to the strands, hazelnut also makes sure that the color lasts longer. Plus, it offers an extra protection by keeping the colored tresses conditioned and thus, safeguarding it from the damages triggered by chemical application.
You can use the oil extracted from these nuts in your daily hair care regimen. Just apply a little on the scalp and hair and massage for a few minutes. Leave it overnight and wash off the next day, if desired. You can use a mild shampoo. This will help in strengthening the hair from the roots.
Good For Dry And Damaged Hair
Is your hair too dry? Hazelnut could come to your help. Add 2 tablespoon finely powdered hazelnuts to 2 eggs and beat well. Apply this mixture on your dry scalp and hair. Wash off after 20 minutes with lukewarm water and a good shampoo. This will keep the dry hair conditioned and tamed.
Say Bye To Split Ends
Give your split ends a dose of good health by massaging a few drops of hazelnut oil. The damages will disappear over the time, leaving the hair healthy and radiant.
A Good Snack For Dieters
Chuck out those high calorie munches now and grab a handful of hazelnuts to give your weight loss journey a tasty twist. Just 1 oz of hazelnuts will give you 176 calories with 3 grams of dietary fiber and 17 grams fat. You can use it as a pre-meal munch as it fills up your stomach and prevents you from overeating your meals. Just make sure you do not go beyond the recommended level.
Good For Heart
These brown kernels are good sources of unsaturated fats and lacks cholesterol. Unsaturated fats, especially oleic acid, has the potential to curb the levels of LDL while promoting the levels of HDL. Just one cup of these nuts meet 50% of the required magnesium levels. Magnesium plays a major role in regulating the level of calcium. An exaggerated level of calcium is known to be harmful for heart health. Magnesium safeguards your heart by creating space for its ‘rest’ and preventing its overstraining.
Innate Power For Preventing Cancer
Hazelnuts are powerhouses of alpha-tocopherol, a Vitamin E variant that is known to possess the power to curb the risk associated with the onset of bladder cancer by more than 50%. These nuts are also abundant sources of manganese. This mineral is known to be an ingredient of an anti-oxidative enzyme in mitochondria, thus playing a major role in preventing cancer.
Good For Muscles
As mentioned earlier, magnesium plays a vital role in keeping calcium level moving to and from body cells in a healthy way. It, thus, aids in muscle contraction, preventing overstress on muscles. This, in turn, eases muscular tension and combats and prevents muscle fatigue, spasm, cramps, and soreness. Studies even suggest that a good dose of magnesium could actually help in strengthening the muscles.
Good Source Of Protein
Include just one cup of hazelnuts in your daily diet to reap 17 grams of protein. You get a good dose of fiber as well. This makes it a great snack option for vegetarians to boost up their fat burning ability and developing lean mass.
Good For Constipation Troubles
Being a rich source of fiber [1 oz gives 2.7 grams of fiber, meeting 10% of RDA], you can add these nuts in your diet to maintain your bowel movements. They bind with the stools, loosen them, and thus prevent constipation.
Beneficial For Joint And Bone Health
Magnesium, along with calcium, is essential for the health and wellness of your bones and joints. The extra magnesium stored up by the bones comes to rescue when there is a sudden deficiency of this mineral. Plus, hazelnuts contain manganese, a mineral that is quintessential for bone growth and strength. No wonder, it makes an inevitable snack option for menopausal and post menopausal women to safeguard themselves from osteoporosis and bones turning brittle and porous.
Improves The Health Of Nervous System
Vitamin B6 is a vitamin essential for the proper functioning of amino acids. These acids, in turn, play a regulator role in maintaining the health of the nervous system. A deficiency of vitamin B6 is known to hamper with the synthesis of myelin [the nerve insulating sheath responsible for the efficiency and swiftness of the electrical impulses] that is essential for the optimal functioning of nervous system. Vitamin B6 is also essential for the proper production of various neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, melatonin, and serotonin.
Peps Up The Health Of Digestive System
Manganese, the enzyme activating and catalyzing, is a mineral that plays a major role in synthesizing cholesterol and fatty acids. This mineral is also an essential carbohydrate and protein metabolic agent. The higher the level of manganese in the body system, the better is the metabolism of protein and carbs. This, in turn, will pep up the health of your digestive system. The fiber present in these nuts ensures proper assimilation of nutrients, while making sure that the wastes and toxins are eliminated from the body via feces.
Improves Immunity Power
Hazelnuts are abundant with various nutrients, including assorted minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. All these nutrients are essential to ensure unobstructed blood flow in the body. When the blood flows through the body unhampered, your immunity power gets a boost. This, in turn, prevents various unwanted health conditions.
Beats Stress And Depression
Hazelnuts contain a good dose of alpha-linolenic acid, along with omega 3 fatty acids. These elements along with the B Vitamins play an effective role in preventing and alleviating various psychological conditions, including anxiety, stress, depression, and even schizophrenia. These elements also enhance your memory and play a major role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Grab a piece of hazelnut embedded dark chocolate to fight those blues away.
Plays A Role In Improving The Fertility Levels
Ancient texts reveal that hazel trees are considered as a symbol of fertility by the Celts. Studies suggest that these nuts, indeed, possess the power to cut down the levels of sugar in the blood, improve insulin sensitivity, and thus aids in improving the levels of fertility.
Beneficial For Menstrual Cramps
These rustic brown hued nuts are rich in magnesium, Vitamin E, calcium and other nutrients. These elements are known to have a positive impact in easing cramps and thus helping you tide over the menstrual cycle in a better way.
Rich Source Of Iron
Studies suggest that hazelnuts make a wonderful natural remedy for iron deficiencies and health issues that have arisen due to lack of iron. These nuts contain iron in good doses. The red blood corpuscles use iron for absorbing oxygen, thus shielding you from various health conditions. A handful of hazelnuts gives about 30% of the recommended daily value of iron.
Good Source Of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is the blood clotting vitamin. It plays a significant role in thwarting off excessive blood loss by triggering the synthesis of platelets, thus shielding you from life threatening situations. This vitamin is also essential for the proper absorption of calcium, thus lowering the risk of calcium deficiency related fractures.
Good For Pregnant And Lactating Women
Proper nutrition is important during pregnancy for maintaining both mother’s and baby’s health. And, hazelnuts are rich sources of various nutrients essential for a good pregnancy, including iron and calcium. Make sure you eat these nuts in moderation along with a balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies. Also, make sure your fluid intake is sufficient to avoid constipation issues triggered due to the intake of fiber rich foods.
Breastfeeding women can consider them as an in-between snack to curb those unwanted hunger pangs. Along with keeping you full and giving you those essential nutrients, hazelnuts will also aid you in getting back to shape in a healthier way, when used judiciously in a well-balanced diet.
Good For Infants
Folate is an essential element that contributes to the growth of infants. Just 30 grams of hazelnuts will meet 17% of the recommended daily value of this essential element.
Hazelnuts is often advised by the doctors as a healthy snack for those who are under the siege of diabetes, especially type 2. It is loaded with dietary fiber, which actually helps to keep yourself full. Being low on GI, these nuts are known to prevent the sugar levels from escalating. Plus, eating hazelnuts can actually improve the HDL levels. It increases the good cholesterol level while lowers the bad cholesterol level. Thus, it could actually safeguard you from the risks of high sugar and high cholesterol triggered health conditions. However, studies are yet to establish these suggestions and hence, it is advisable to stay safe and consult with your doctor before including these nuts in a diabetic diet.
Beneficial For Controlling The Blood Pressure Level
Hazelnuts, called as cobnuts aka filberts, are known to be beneficial for people who suffer from hypertension. It is a good source of healthy fats, while the saturated fat variants make up to just 1.5 grams in an ounce of these nuts. It also gives you 46 mg magnesium, 193 grams potassium and 2.7 grams dietary fiber. A good dose of potassium is essential to lower the blood pressure level and cut down the risks associated with the onset of various cardiovascular conditions, including stroke and paralysis.
Helps you Gain Weight
Being rich in healthy fats, consuming about 2 ounces of these crunchy, sweet nuts could actually help you gain weight the healthy way. However, check with your doctor before you start eating them to avoid unnecessary complications.