Sunday, May 7, 2017
Hazelnut - 'Corylus avellana' - fam: Corylaceae
The Hazel is a small deciduous tree, Corylus, originated in southern Europe and Turkey. It is now being cultivated in many regions of the world, including the USA as a major commercial crop. 1
Nuts of the species Corylus avellana, are the usual nuts called Hazelnut, but it is also known as 'Cobnut', or 'Filbert' nut, C.maxima, according to species. The 'nut' itself is referred to as a 'cob', and it 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. 1
Hazelnuts are very high in energy and loaded with many health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health. 100 gms nuts carry 628 calories. They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raises HDL or good cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet plentiful in monounsaturated fatty acids contribute to preventing coronary artery disease, and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. They are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phytochemicals. Altogether, they help protect from diseases and cancers. 2
Hazels are exceptionally rich in folate, which is a unique feature for the nuts. 100 gms fresh nuts carry 113 µgs; that is, about 28% recommended the daily intake of this vitamin. Folate is an essential B-complex vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, and most importantly, neural tube defects in the newborn. Good news for the expectant mothers! Besides being rich in folates, they packed with many other important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).
Hazel nuts are an excellent source of vitamin-E; contain about 15 gms per 100 gms (providing 100% of RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant required for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful 'free oxygen radicals'. The nuts, like in almonds, are free from gluten, and therefore, safe alternative food sources that can be employed in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas for gluten-sensitive, wheat allergic, and celiac disease patients.
They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper and manganese are essential co-factors for antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent microcytic-anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are vital components of bone metabolism.
Hazelnut oil has a nutty aroma and has excellent astringent properties. It helps keep skin well protected from dryness. The oil has also been used in cooking, and as 'carrier or base oil' in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. 2
REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 Nutrition and You 2