Are you looking for the benefits of Brazil Nuts? Read on to know more about the brazil nuts benefits for health and overall wellbeing.
Imagine eating the fruit of the largest and tallest tree in the Amazon rainforest! Brazil nut tree grows up to 50 meters and tower over all the trees in the entire forest. The trees produce coconut-like hard-shelled fruits.
These fruits are not edible, but each fruit contains 10 to 24 edible seeds. And these seeds are called brazil nuts. Native to Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Columbia, nutritious-dense brazil nuts are loved by many health-conscious people, especially keto and vegan diet followers, around the world.
Did you know that most of the United State’s supply of brazil nuts comes from Bolivia? Since they are easy to nibble on, brazil nuts are many people’s to-go snacks to curb hunger on the go. Brazil nuts are extremely expensive. On average, a pound bag of brazil nuts costs almost $17.
But despite the high price, its demand never drops. These trees are now being harvested worldwide to meet their global demand. But what’s the secret? Why is this nut so expensive yet so in demand?
Brazil Nuts Nutritional Value
These crescent-shaped nuts are often seen in bowls of mixed nuts but stand out quite well among almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Once cracked open from its triangular outer shell, brazil nut has a light, smooth texture and an almost buttery taste. This nut is globally famous for being one of the largest sources of Selenium. It is one of the essential minerals our body needs to function correctly. 100 grams of brazil nuts provide approx. 656 calories.
Potassium: 659 mg
Magnesium: 33% of reference daily intake (RDI) of 55mcg.
Selenium: 988% of RDI
Copper: 55% of RDI
Phosphorus: 30% of RDI
Brazil nuts are so high in Selenium that just one nut contains 96 micrograms (mcg), while others include less than 1 mcg. Furthermore, these nuts have 37% polyunsaturated fatty acid, which benefits heart health.
Now that we know how nutritious brazil nuts are, let’s find out how these nutrients help the human body.
Benefits Of Brazil Nuts | What Are The Brazil Nuts Benefits
Benefits of Brazil Nuts To Maintain Thyroid Function
Located near our throat, the thyroid gland secretes many hormones that play crucial roles in growth, metabolism, maintaining body temperature, regulating ovulation and menstruation, etc. Thyroid tissues require the highest concentration of Selenium to support proper functionality.
Drop-in of this mineral can cause cellular damage, reduced thyroid activity, and even thyroid cancer. Therefore, it’s highly crucial to give our body its RDI. A Chinese study proved that people with low selenium levels are more prone to developing hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and enlarged thyroid gland.
Therefore, eating just one brazil nut daily is enough to fulfill the daily Selenium needed to maintain proper thyroid function.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts To Reduce Risk Of Cardiac Disease
Brazil nuts contain 25% monounsaturated fatty acids, also known as omega-3 fatty acids, such as oleic acid (18:1) and palmitoleic acid (16:1), which are extremely helpful for maintaining good cardiac health. They help balance lipid and cholesterol profiles in our body and reduce harmful Omega-6 fatty acids from the cardiovascular system.
Therefore, consuming brazil nuts reduces the risks of heart attack and stroke and maintains blood pressure.
Brazil Nuts Benefits In Diabetes Management
Unsaturated fat in Brazil Nuts has proven to help reduce the diabetes level. A study showed that consumption of brazil nuts daily for over 6 months increases the selenium level in our body. It makes the cells resistant to H2O2-induced oxidative DNA damage in Type 2 Diabetes patients.
Furthermore, replacing carbohydrate and saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats significantly reduces hemoglobin A1c levels, thereby benefiting glycemic control. So, brazil nuts are a healthy alternative to satisfy small cravings between meals instead of binging on sugary-baked food or having high-fat meat.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts For Reducing Inflammation
Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants such as Selenium, vitamin E, gallic acid, and ellagic acid. Selenium increases an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase that helps combat damage by free radicals and prevents our body from oxidative stress, which ultimately helps reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage.
According to a study, people who consumed 4-10 brazil nuts every day showed a long-term decrease in inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, interleukin-1, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
Another study indicated that people undergoing treatment for kidney failure, who had one brazil nut per day, showed a significant increase in glutathione peroxidase level that rapidly dropped inflammatory markers and cholesterol. This ultimately helped in improving their kidney health.
Brazil Nuts Benefits For Brain Health
Ellagic acid and selenium in Brazil Nut have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have antidepressant effects on the brain. Therefore, it helps uplift mood; Serotonin found in this nut also helps regulate sleep and appetite.
In a study, older adults with mild cognitive impairment, who had one brazil nut per day for 6 months, showed significant improvement in verbal fluency and constructional praxis due to increased Selenium levels and reduced oxidative stress.
Furthermore, low selenium level plays a major role in developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Therefore, it is important to include brazil nuts in your regular diet.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts In Weight Management
Weight loss doesn’t mean eating less food. It means eating the right food that helps in boosting metabolism, which ultimately aids in losing weight faster. One such superfood is brazil nuts. Brazil nuts contain L-arginine, Selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and thiamine, that is instrumental in the fat-burning process.
These nuts are also loaded with fiber and protein essential for losing weight.
Brazil Nuts Benefits By Stimulating The Digestive System
The high fiber content in brazil nuts is good for keeping our digestive system healthy. A healthy digestive system boosts metabolism. It helps maintain the peristaltic motion of our gastrointestinal tract, which ultimately helps move food seamlessly through our digestive system, thereby extracting the maximum nutrients possible. It prevents gastric ulcers, bloating, constipation, cramps, and colon cancer.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts As An Anti-Cancer Superfood
Ellagic acid and Selenium are considered to have cancer-fighting properties. It can reduce the risk of a few prostate, colon, stomach, lung, and breast cancers. Selenium in brazil nuts increases secretion of glutathione peroxidase enzymes that fight cancer-causing free radicals.
Therefore, it is highly advisable to include this nutrition-dense nut in your daily diet to prevent the risk of developing cancer.
Now that we know how beneficial brazil nuts are for health, let’s find out how to include them in our diet.
How To Use Brazil Nut | Brazil Nuts Health Benefits
As Munchies – Brazil nuts make excellent snacks to satisfy your between-the-meals cravings. You can eat it raw. But sliced, dry-roasted, and roasted salted brazil nuts are available in the market.
In Pesto – You can make pesto with brazil nuts. To balance the crunchiness of this nut, you can add a walnut along with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, water, basil, and salt & pepper seasoning. This pesto sauce goes amazingly well with pasta.
In Salad – You can chop 2-3 brazil nuts and add them to the salad to add extra crunch.
In Cake – Yes, you’ve read it right. You can grind a handful of brazil nuts and add it to the cake batter. You won’t taste it but would get all its goodness.
As Spread – The easiest ingredient in nut butter is brazil nut butter. First, dry roast the nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Then, blend the roasted brazil nuts for 2-5 minutes in a food processor. Ensure it doesn’t get overheated.
During the blending process, you will notice the nuts are being chopped. Slowly, it will start crumbling up. Then it will become a wet clumpy mixture, becoming smooth and creamy buttery. The longer you blend, the smoother brazil nut butter you’ll get. You have it with bread or add it to your smoothie.
As Oil – Brazil nut oil should not be used for cooking. As heat destroys part of its vitamin, E. Brazil nut oil can be used to make the salad.
Side Effects Of Brazil Nuts
Overconsumption of brazil nuts is harmful to health. Selenium toxicity might cause brittle nails, hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, garlic-like breath odor, rashes, and spotty-colored teeth. Consumption of 5000 mcg or 50 brazil nuts can cause selenosis, breathlessness, heart attack, and even kidney failure.
Therefore, limiting your brazil nut consumption to one to three per day is the smart way to avoid selenium toxicity.
To conclude, brazil nuts are the powerhouse of nutrition. It is as beneficial for health as it is harmful if consumed excessively. Therefore, it is important to eat it cautiously.