Brazil nuts, with their creamy texture, are a tasty snack with numerous health benefits. Studies have shown them to help lower cholesterol, have anticancer nutrients, improve thyroid function and even improve mood.
Brazil Nuts Are Very High in Selenium
The trace element selenium is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism and fighting inflammation. It fights infection and protects the body from oxidative damage and DNA synthesis.
It is found in many foods, but Brazil nuts have the highest amount of selenium of any food. Just one nut contains 95.9mcg which is 137 percent of your daily requirement.
We have all heard that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but perhaps a Brazil nut a day will help, too.
Note: Selenium can build up in your body and can even be unsafe in extreme amounts. As a snack, we can eat one to six per day but really one or two is enough and safest.
5 Health Benefits
Improves Thyroid Function
There is more selenium in the tissues of the thyroid gland than all the other organs in your body; selenium helps create and use thyroid hormones.
This nut can be a very good natural remedy helping the thyroid keep healthy because of its high selenium content.
It was found in a study that when there is a selenium deficiency, there is an increase in liver cancer. They found that low levels of selenium were related to up to 10 times an increased risk of liver cancer. Also, there are studies that indicate that sufficient selenium reduces skin cancer risk.
Related: 6 Power Foods that Help Fight Cancer
Cholesterol is Lowered
When ten healthy women and men in a study were given a single serving of Brazil nuts, they almost instantly had an improvement in their cholesterol levels. The LDL, bad cholesterol levels in the blood, was lower only nine hours after eating the nuts. Later on, the researchers found that the single serving of Brazil nuts kept their cholesterol level down; it stayed down, for a whole month after eating only those four nuts.
These nuts can improve mood and prevent anxiety and depression. The Swansea University Department of Psychology studied 50 volunteers that were either given 100 micrograms of selenium or a placebo daily for five weeks and they filled out a “Profile of Moods Stats” questionnaire. What they found is that those with lower selenium in their diet reported more anxiety and depression.
One Brazil nut per day is able to improve anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses in the body. In a 2012 study, with 45 patients who ate one nut per day for three months, they found that anti-inflammatory responses improved as well as antioxidant responses. Also, cholesterol levels improved.
Please Note: People with nut allergies should take caution.
Brazil nut trees have deep roots reaching down in the soil to where there is a source of natural radium and they absorb the radium and it makes its way to the nuts. The result is that the radium level in Brazil nuts can be 1000 times what you will find in other foods. This is another reason to only eat one or two a day.
- The Brazil nut tree is called a ‘cannon ball’ tree for reasons you can read below.
- The trees can be over 160 feet high and 6 feet in diameter with a crown up to 100 feet in diameter.
- The pod is the size of a baseball, weighing up to 5 pounds and falls when it is ripe at a speed of up to 50 mph!
- Each pod has from 10 to 21 nuts, they are not considered nuts, they are actually seeds.
- Bolivia is the biggest producer of Brazil nuts, not Brazil.
How to Store
Because they have a high-fat content of 65 percent, they are very prone to rancidity.
They come in the shell or without. Make sure they are stored in dark, airtight containers and best in the refrigerator for up to a few months.
3 Tasty Brazil Nut Recipes