Hazels and Brazils... Delectable Nuts!

Sure, you hear wonderful comments about the ideal almond and the healthy walnut, but when was the last time you heard the good news about that little hazelnut (who also goes by the name of filbert) or the humble Brazil nut? Read on for the health benefits of these nuts, and tasty recipes to try!

Hazelnuts - Top 3 Nutrients

Manganese:  found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.

Copper: It helps make red blood cells and keeps nerve cells and the immune system healthy. It also helps form collagen, a key part of bones and connective tissue. Plays important antioxidant role. Helps the body absorb iron, and make energy.

Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant. Helps keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Helps form red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K. It also helps widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting inside them.

Easy Hazelnut Muesli recipe

  • 1 C hazelnuts, chopped (roasting nuts beforehand optional)
  • 1/2 C sunflower seeds
  • 3 C quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 3/4 C wheat germ
  • 1 C raisins (or mixture of goji berries and mulberries)
  • 1/2 C dried apricots, cut up
  • 1/4 C coconut flakes or chips
  • 1/2 C coconut palm sugar (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Brazil Nuts - Top 3 Nutrients

Selenium: plays a key role in metabolism and thyroid health, and may help treat prostate cancer.

Phosphorus: the 2nd most abundant mineral in the body, just behind calcium, and works in conjunction with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Also helps filter out waste in kidneys. Reduces muscle pain after workouts.

Thiamin (aka: vitamin B1): helps the body's cells change carbohydrates into energy, especially the brain and nervous system. Not enough can cause weakness, fatigue, psychosis, and nerve damage.

Organic Brazil Nut Milk recipe

In a high speed blender add:

Fill blender with filtered water and blend well. Percolate through a nut milk bag twice for a smooth texture. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Parsley Brazil Nut Pesto recipe

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a mini food processor, combine the parsley with the Brazil nuts, water, tarragon, garlic and lemon zest and pulse to a coarse paste. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the Parmesan and process to a slightly smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrient information/benefits source: University of Maryland Medical Center  

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