Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts

July 25, 2017

health benefits of brazil nutsBrazil nut trees are native to regions in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and the Guianas. These trees can grow up to 160 feet tall and live up to 700 years old. Each mature tree can bear up to 300 fruit pods in a season. They are a staple energy source for native Amazonians even today.

Their delicious nuts provide protein and other essential nutrients with selenium being high on the list. Brazil nuts are dense in calories and high in mono-and polyunsaturated fats which help to lower LDL or the “bad cholesterol” and raise HDL , the “good” cholesterol.  They also include a rich supply of vitamin E, vitamin B-complex, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese and potassium.

Why is selenium so important? Scientific evidence suggests that selenium plays a role in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, cognitive decline, liver disease and thyroid disease. The highest concentration of selenium is found in your thyroid gland and is instrumental in keeping your metabolism in balance.

How many Brazil nuts should you eat a day? Just 2 Brazil nuts a day keep the doctor away! Don’t go overboard with these nuts, as too many may result in brittle nails, hair loss, upset stomach and fatigue.

Gluten free?  As an added bonus, it’s good to know that these nuts are free from gluten and are a healthy alternative for people with a sensitivity to wheat and/or have celiac disease.

Selection and storage?  Brazil nuts are available raw, roasted and salted. Keep them stored in a tightly sealed jar and not exposed to sunlight to avoid them becoming rancid.  If you like to shell nuts, just buy them shelled and keep in your refrigerator until you are ready to crack them open!

Serving tips?

  • Eat a couple mixed with other nuts and dried fruit for a snack
  • Grind the Brazil nuts and sprinkle on salads or vegetables
  • Use in making muffins or cookies
  • Add to soups or casserole for more substance
  • Chop and add to granola or top off your smoothie
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2. National Institutes of Health. Selenium: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.

3. Thomson CD, Chisholm A, McLachlan SK, Campbell JM. Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):379-84. PMID: 18258628

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