Hazelnuts nutrition facts
Hazelnuts are sweet in taste and incredibly nutritious. Botanically, the nuts are fruits from the "birch" or Betulaceae family of trees. The “Filbert” (C. maxima) is similar kind and related to common hazel but only differing in having the nut more fully enclosed by the tubular involucre. In Britain, the nuts are usually enjoyed as "cobnuts."
Scientific name: Corylus avellana.
The hazel is a small deciduous tree, originated in southern Europe and Turkey. It is now being cultivated in many regions of the world including USA as an important commercial crop.
Hazel tree begin producing fruits about three years after plantation. During each spring season, the tree bears attractive inflorescence (catkins), consisting of cluster of monoecious flowers arranged closely along a central stem that ultimately become fruits by autumn.
The hazel fruit is a nut produced in clusters; with each nut held in a short leafy involucre or capsule enclosing about three quarters of the nut. Each yellow-brown color nut, roughly spherical to oval in shape, is about 1.5-2 cm long and 1.2 -2 cm broad, featuring a light scar at the base. They fall out of the leafy involucre or capsule when ripe, about 7-8 months after pollination.
Hazelnut oil, extracted from the nuts, has been used in as base or carrier oil in medicine, and in aromatherapy.
Health benefits of Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are very high in energy and loaded with numerous health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health. 100 g nuts provide 628 calories. The nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid linoleic acid that help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and increase HDL or good cholesterol. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
These nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals. Altogether, they help protect from diseases and cancers.
Hazels are exceptionally rich in folate, which is a unique feature for the nuts. 100 g fresh nuts contain 113 µg. Folate is an important vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia and most importantly, neural tube defects in thenewborn. Good news for expectant mothers!
Hazel nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E; contain about 15 g per 100 g (providing 100% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.
The nuts, like almonds, are free from gluten and therefore are a safe alternative food sources that can be used in the preparation of gluten free food formulas for gluten-sensitive, wheat allergy, and celiac disease patients.
The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and folates.
They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper and manganese are essential co-factors for anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent microcytic-anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are important components of bone metabolism.
Hazelnut oil has nutty aroma and has an excellent astringent properties. It helps to 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 pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||60.75 g||202%|
|Dietary Fiber||9.7 g||25.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.918 mg||18%|
|Vitamin A||20 IU||<1%|
|Vitamin C||6.3 mg||10.5%|
|Vitamin E||15 mg||100%|
|Vitamin K||14.2 µg||12%|
Selection and storage
Hazelnuts are available in the markets year around. In the stores, many forms of hazels are available such as shelled, unshelled, salted, sweetened, or ground etc. Try to buy unshelled (with the outer shell) raw nuts instead of processed ones. The nuts should feature bright brown-yellow color, compact, uniform in size and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, molds, and spots and free of rancid smell.
Un-shelled hazels can be placed in cool dry place for years. Store shelled (without the outer coat) nuts inside airtight container and place in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid.
Hazelnuts are eaten on its own, roasted, salted, or sweetened. Hazels as well as filberts are nutty yet pleasantly sweet in taste.
Here are some serving tips:
Hazels are widely used in confectionery, as an addition to chocolates, biscuits, sweets, and cakes.
They are also used to make hazelnut butter, which is popular with peanut allergy sufferers and for its less salty taste. It contains, however, more fat content than soy or peanut butter.
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