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Hazelnuts, also called cobnuts or filberts, have been harvested by humans for many thousands of years, providing a bounty of nutrition that stores well through lean winter months and making a helpful contribution to general health.
Hazel trees are suited to growing in temperate climates and are native to southern Europe and Asia. Timber from the trees is extremely useful due to its strength and flexibility. 
An ancient Celtic story tells of the “salmon of wisdom” that gains its wisdom by eating hazelnuts. It is, perhaps, a tale to encourage children of those days to keep up their intake of this healthy food. It is interesting to note that Hazel has been called the “tree of knowledge” in Ireland  – and these ancient legends often hint at the herbal benefits of the plant or food in question.
Science is beginning to unravel the complex picture of nutrients that promote good health, and it’s now clear that hazelnuts are rich in some of the most important ones. Turkey is the country that leads world hazelnut growing, with around 75% of the total production. 
You may already know that hazelnuts are good for health, but it has now been discovered that some of the most important health-giving properties (from phenolic compounds) are to be found in the skins, especially when eaten raw rather than roasted. Blanching or bleaching these nuts causes a great loss of beneficial phenolic compounds. The skins have a slightly bitter taste but this could also be beneficial, as the bitter taste itself directly stimulates the digestive system. 
Here are ten of the leading health benefits of hazelnuts:
1. Cardiovascular Health Testing of patients with high cholesterol levels after a period of daily hazelnut consumption has been shown to reduce the indicators of cardiovascular health risk. 
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis The significant levels of plant-based antioxidants and phytochemicals found in hazelnuts are generally accepted as having a positive effect on symptoms of this disease. 
3. Slows Alzheimer’s Disease In mild to moderate cases of Alzheimer’s, it has been shown that high levels of vitamin E and B1 (thiamin) intake can slow the progression of symptoms. Both of these vitamins are found in large amounts in hazelnuts – 1 cup (135g) contains 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E and 58% of thiamin.  Perhaps there is some truth in the ancient story that wisdom can be gained by eating these nuts!
4. Cancer Protective Dietary nutraceuticals are growing in stature as evidence grows for their role in the prevention and treatment of cancer. The healthy fats and strong antioxidants that are often linked by scientists to this protective effect against cancer in humans are found in good amounts in hazelnuts, which have benefits relating particularly to colon cancer. 
5. Female Diabetes Thiamin deficiency is strongly linked with cases of diabetes mellitus. Hazelnuts can help to supply the recommended intake as a natural dietary source of this valuable vitamin. Note: Tests show much greater improvements for women with diabetes than for men. 
6. Gallstone Reduction Regular nut consumption has been linked to a reduction in the incidence of gallstone disease in men. 
7. Weight Loss Although nuts have a high fat content, it has been shown that eating them does not contribute to weight gain; in fact, the opposite is often true. 
8. Low Sodium Content Hazelnuts contain negligible amounts of sodium, making them perfect for anyone on a low sodium diet. 
9. Metabolism Balancing The combination of nutrients and minerals in hazelnuts, as well as the presence of folic acid, help to balance the metabolism, especially by lowering homocysteine levels that can cause degenerative disease.
10. Skin Health (High in Vitamin E) The high level of vitamin E in hazelnuts makes them excellent for protecting the skin from ultraviolet rays and its effects, which include skin cancer and wrinkling.