6 Nut and Seed Varieties Popular in the Mediterranean Diet

Hazelnuts are a good source of B vitamins like thiamine and folate.

Hazelnuts, also known as filberts and largely produced in Turkey, were one of the three nuts used in a large-scale Mediterranean diet study on heart health in 2013. The researchers used almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts to show that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (one of the groups monitored) greatly reduces risk for coronary events and dying from heart disease.

Thiamine and folate are essential for energy metabolism and cardiovascular health, and help create the hormone serotonin, which boosts your mood. They are also full of flavonoids like proanthocyanidins, which are the same kind of antioxidants that give green tea its benefits, including improving circulation and protecting brain health.

Although hazelnuts can be eaten raw or roasted, the nut and its oil are more frequently used to add a rich flavor to cookies, cakes, and chocolate recipes. They are also ground into flour for baking. You may be most familiar with hazelnuts as the main component of Nutella, which is made from roasted hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa.

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