Hazelnuts are sweet, and incredibly nutritious edible kernels from the “birch” or Betulaceae family of trees. “Filbert” (C.maxima) is similar in kind and related to the common hazel but only differing in having its nut totally covered by its tubular involucre. In Britain, both of these nuts are in general enjoyed as “cobnuts.”
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 the USA as a major commercial crop.
The nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and packed with numerous health promoting phytochemicals. Altogether, they help protect from diseases and cancers.
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 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.
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).
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.