Hazelnuts are loved by children and adults thanks to their sweet and slightly buttery taste that make them a truly irresistible mid-morning snack. But hazelnuts are also very healthy, in fact, they help to counteract chronic inflammation, which, in the long run, can weaken the immune system and cause obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Di Renzo et al, Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2019). Not only that, hazelnuts protect the heart, in fact, they are rich in unsaturated fatty acids, increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol and cardiovascular risk. It has been estimated that those who consume hazelnuts at least five times a week have a 50% lower risk of developing heart and coronary disease (Adamo et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2018 - Saygi et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2018 ). Hazelnuts are also rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E and quercetin, and fiber. Therefore, hazelnuts are satiating and, given their ability to increase thermogenesis and energy expenditure, they do not cause weight gain. Not only that, hazelnuts are rich in iron, selenium, magnesium, copper, potassium and phosphorus. They are very useful for the proper functioning of the brain and memory and stimulate mental activities, indeed, hazelnuts are considered capable of reversing the process of cerebral atrophy as well as, like other nuts, participate in neurogenesis and the mechanisms by which the body opposes the accumulation of amyloid and tau plaques, the main cause of Alzheimer's disease (Gorji et al, Pharmacol Res, 2018). So, hazelnuts are good for the heart, brain and body. But let's see how to bring them to the table trying to understand the best food combinations that maximize their properties.
Pasta and hazelnuts
This recipe combines the properties of hazelnuts, rich in nutrients and capable of protecting memory and brain, with those of vitamin D and phospholipids in butter, with a protective action on cognitive functions (Soni et al, Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl, 2012). Therefore, pasta and hazelnuts is a dish that can be very useful to support the memory in case of students or people who carry out intense intellectual activity, but also for those who are convalescing or for sporty people (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role food). Here is the recipe for two people, coarsely break 80 grams of hazelnuts with a meat mallet. Boil 160 grams of durum wheat pasta in spaghetti or linguine format. Drain the pasta al dente and pour it into the pan where you melted 30 grams of butter, add a ladle of cooking water. Remove from the heat and add the hazelnuts, grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of nutmeg.
Hazelnuts and cocoa
Hazelnuts, as mentioned, protect the heart by increasing good cholesterol and reducing bad cholesterol. Cocoa improves the functioning of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels, by preserving its elasticity. Scientific studies have observed that hazelnuts and cocoa, when taken together, work in synergy by increasing the protective action on the cardiovascular system. This food combination, in fact, results more effective than the foods taken individually (Adamo et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2018). A tasty idea to combine hazelnuts and cocoa? The delicious hazelnut and chocolate cream, you can see the preparation step by step thanks to the video you can find in the Video Blog section!
Salad for the immune system
Hazelnuts contain quercetin, which is a flavonoid with an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitumor and antioxidant action. It has been observed that quercetin is capable of inhibiting the influenza A virus and, as also suggested by recent research, the new coronavirus (Derosa et al, Phytother Res, 2020). Not only that, it has been shown that the combination of vitamin C and quercetin maximizes the antiviral and immune system support action (Biancatelli et al, Front Immunol, 2020). So here is a salad capable of providing the precious quercetin, thanks to lettuce, hazelnuts, apple and extra virgin olive oil, and the vitamin C of oranges. In a bowl, break a lettuce with your hands, add lamb’s lettuce, an organic granny smith apple, cut into pieces, a finely sliced ??organic orange without removing the peel and a handful of hazelnuts. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of tamari sauce.