Hazelnut, (genus Corylus), also called filbert, cobnut, or hazel, genus of about 15 species of shrubs and trees in the birch family (Betulaceae) and the edible nuts they produce. The plants are native to the north temperate zone. Several species are of commercial importance for their nuts, and a number are valuable hedgerow and ornamental trees grown for their colourful autumnal foliage. An oil from the European filbert, or common hazel (Corylus avellana), is used in food products, perfumes, and soaps; the tree yields a reddish white soft timber, useful for small articles such as tool handles and walking sticks.
Hazelnuts are deciduous; their leaves are alternate, serrate, obovate, and hairy. The plants range from 3 to 36 metres (10 to 120 feet) in height. In late winter a profusion of yellow male catkins and smaller red-centred clusters of female flowers appear on the same tree. The roundish or oblong brown nut, usually 1 to 4 cm (0.5 to 1.5 inches) long, is partly or wholly enclosed in a husk. The plants are deep-rooted moderately shade-tolerant trees that fruit best in well-drained soil and in full sun.
Choice nuts are produced by two Eurasian trees, the European filbert (Corylus avellana) and the giant hazel, or giant filbert (C. maxima), and by hybrids of these species with two American shrubs, the American hazelnut (C. americana) and the beaked hazelnut (C. cornuta). The large cobnut is a variety of the European filbert, and Lambert’s filbert is a variety of the giant filbert. Nuts produced by the Turkish hazelnut (C. colurna) are sold commercially as Constantinople nuts. The former common name for the genus was hazel; various species were termed filbert, hazelnut, or cobnut, depending on the relative length of the nut to its husk, but this distinction was found to be misleading.
The Jamaican cobnut (Omphalea triandra) has a similar flavour but is an unrelated plant of the family Euphorbiaceae.
benefits of using Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are a rich source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, manganese and copper. Additionally, they have a high content of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Hazelnuts are packed with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidant compounds and healthy fats.
They may also have health benefits, including helping decrease blood fat levels, regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar levels, among others.
On the downside, just like other nuts, hazelnuts may cause allergic reactions in some people.
All in all, hazelnuts are an excellent and delicious source of nutrients that can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Loaded with Antioxidants
Hazelnuts provide significant amounts of antioxidants; they are rich in phenolic compounds that have been shown to increase antioxidant protection in the body. It is best to eat hazelnuts whole and un-roasted to ensure you get the highest concentration of antioxidants.
May Be Good for the Heart
In hazelnuts, the high concentration of antioxidants and healthy fats may increase antioxidant potential and lower cholesterol levels in the blood. One month-long study observed 21 people with high cholesterol levels who consumed 18–20% of their total daily calorie intake from hazelnuts. The results showed that cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol levels were reduced. Moreover, the high content of fatty acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium in hazelnuts seems to help normalize blood pressure.
Linked With Lower Rates of Cancer
The high concentration of antioxidant compounds, vitamin E and manganese in hazelnuts may help decrease the risk of certain cancers, though more research is needed.
Among other nuts like pecans and pistachios, hazelnuts have the highest concentration of a category of antioxidant known as Proanthocyanidins.
Could Decrease Inflammation
Hazelnuts have been linked to reduced inflammatory markers, thanks to their high concentrations of healthy fats.
One study investigated how eating hazelnuts affected inflammatory markers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, in 21 people with high cholesterol levels.
Another study examined how eating hazelnuts affected inflammation. It showed that eating 40 grams of hazelnuts may reduce the inflammatory response in healthy people.
However, most studies conclude that eating hazelnuts alone is not enough. In order to reduce inflammation, it is also important to follow a calorie-controlled diet.
Easy to Add to Your Diet
Hazelnuts can be incorporated into the diet as a healthy snack or as an ingredient in many dishes.
You can enjoy them raw, roasted, whole, sliced or ground.
Moreover, hazelnuts can also be coated with chocolate or spices, like cinnamon.
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