Forest Delicacies or Gifts to Our Health?


(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis)

Forests are true providers for all animal beings. They provide you with almost everything and you can survive there like your ancestors. The only thing you need is the traditional knowledge of previous wise generations, which we have unfortunately forgotten due to the industrialization and urbanization. Forests provide a shelter to live in and a variety of delicacies to eat – as long as you can recognize them. Herbs, greens, fruits, bulbs, and many other offerings are what mother nature gives us generously asking for just only one thing in return: to respect her balance.

A great example is nuts!

Rich in nutrients and power, they can give you a healthy boost with just a handful of them in your pocket. Greek mountains are blessed with two species of hazelnuts. Greeks of Pontos had a tradition in hazelnut cultivation, from ancient times, mainly the city of Kerasounta which its magnificent location between forests. It was an ideal location for many different nut trees among them, hazelnuts. Hazelnuts was the main work occupation in Kerasounta, and it was an important part of the local economy. Pontians did not just cultivate hazelnuts, they also processed them for oil and sold the nuts wholesale. It was the vertical industry of that time. In modern Greek, hazelnuts are called ‘foudouki’, which is actually a Turkish word.

But in ancient Greek, hazelnuts were called ‘korys’ (helmet of soldiers), because of their shape, hence the scientific name of the hazelnut family: Corylus. A handful of raw hazelnuts every day, will offer you a great amount of antioxidants, reducing your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, supply you with fibers, folic acid (100 g contain 113μg), Β vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals. Greek yogurt, with a spoon of honey and a sprinkle of raw hazelnuts is the best energy snack for midday. But be careful do not consume too many because being packed with energy means they have a lot of calories. With just a handful of hazelnuts you could get all the energy and health nutrients you need in a day!

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and Ph.D. Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication