Uses of Brazil Nuts
The Brazil nut grows in the Amazon rainforest and comes from the Bertholletia excelsa tree. The forest stretches over northwest Brazil and into Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, encompassing roughly 2.7 million square miles.
Brazil nuts have been consumed by the region’s indigenous peoples since the Upper Paleolithic era, some 11,000 years ago. However, the first Western reference to Brazil nuts is from 1569, when Spanish and Portuguese explorers were tramping through South America, capturing native people.
These nuts are high in energy, high nutrients, and one of the best sources of the mineral selenium in the diet. Raw or blanched, their smooth, buttery texture and nutty flavor are popular.
Nutritional Makeup of the Brazil Nut
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts contains the following nutrients :
- Calories: 187
- Protein: 4.1 grams
- Fat: 19 grams
- Carbs: 3.3 grams
- Fiber: 2.1 grams
- Selenium: 988% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Copper: 55% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 33% of the
- Phosphorus: 30% of the RDI
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI
- Zinc: 10.5% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 11% of the RDI
Selenium is abundant in Brazil nuts, with one nut containing 96 mcg, or 175 percent of the RDI. On average, most other nuts provide less than one mcg. They also have higher magnesium, copper, and zinc contents than most other nuts, though the levels of these elements vary according to temperature and soil. Finally, Brazil nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts
High concentrate of selenium
Selenium is a trace element that is essential for your body’s correct functioning. It is necessary for thyroid function and has an impact on your immune system and cell proliferation. Higher selenium levels improve immunological function as well as better outcomes in cancer, infections, infertility, pregnancy, heart disease, and mood disorders.
Although selenium shortage is uncommon, many people worldwide do not get sufficient selenium to function properly. For example, people in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East tend to have lower selenium levels.
Improves thyroid function
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the back of your throat. It secretes many hormones that are necessary for growth, metabolism, and body temperature control.
Because selenium is essential for the development of the thyroid hormone T3 as well as proteins that protect your thyroid from injury, thyroid tissue has the highest quantity of selenium.
Low selenium levels can cause cellular damage, decreased thyroid activity, and autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease. It may also raise your chances of developing thyroid cancer.
In fact, it was proven by a large Chinese study, that people with low selenium levels had a much higher prevalence of thyroid illnesses, such as hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and enlarged thyroid than those with normal levels.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid tissue is gradually damaged, resulting in hypothyroidism and a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold sensitivity. Supplementing with selenium boosts immunological function and mood in people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in several studies.
This emphasizes the significance of receiving enough selenium. One Brazil nut per day should provide sufficient selenium to keep your thyroid functioning properly. Also, selenium may help people with thyroid diseases improve their symptoms as well as ensure adequate thyroid function.
Antioxidants, which are compounds that help keep your cells healthy, are abundant in Brazil nuts. They do so by preventing damage from reactive chemicals known as free radicals. Selenium, vitamin E, and phenols like gallic acid and ellagic acid are all antioxidants found in Brazil nuts.
Selenium boosts glutathione peroxidase production. This enzyme reduces inflammation and protects your body from oxidative stress caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, which can cause cellular damage.
A single 20- or 50-gram portion (4 or 10 nuts, respectively) dramatically lowered a number of inflammatory indicators, including interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, according to a study of ten persons.
Good for your heart
Brazil nuts are high in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, which may help decrease your risk of heart disease. They also include heart-healthy fatty acids like polyunsaturated fats.
Brazil nuts are high in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which are beneficial to heart health. These nutrients ensure that the heart is functioning correctly. It also lowers bad cholesterol in the body, which helps to control cholesterol levels. Overall, it aids in the prevention of cardiac illnesses and disorders, as well as problems such as stroke.
Brazil nuts are high in calcium and magnesium, which are both important for bone health. A 1-ounce portion of Brazil nuts has roughly 25% to 33% of your required daily magnesium intake, which is vital for bone development.
A lack of selenium influences the effects of neurological diseases on the body. Brazil nuts contain antioxidants, including selenium, which can aid to improve brain function. According to several studies, increasing your selenium consumption might help you feel better.
Eating Brazil nuts regularly promotes brain health in studies. The studies revealed it has led to an increase in speaking abilities as well as spatial health. Furthermore, selenium boosts the antioxidants in the body, which improves brain activity and performance. The anti-inflammatory effects of ellagic acid also help the brain operate better. Brazil nuts have anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties due to their impact on the brain. It raises serotonin levels, which improves mood overall.
May aid in weight loss
Brazil nuts are a nutrient-dense snack for weight watchers since they are high in protein and fiber. A single serving of whole Brazil nuts dramatically improves the lipid profiles of healthy people, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
It May help your digestive system
Brazil nuts are high in fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system in good shape. Fiber aids peristaltic action in the gastrointestinal system, allowing food to move more quickly through the digestive system while extracting as many nutrients as possible.
May improve skin
Brazil nuts are particularly beneficial for boosting skin health because of their comprehensive spectrum of vitamins and minerals. These nuts not only protect us from UV rays, but they also aid in the treatment of acne and the reduction of its appearance.
Brazil nuts are a godsend if you suffer from periodic breakouts or if your oily skin will not stop leaving you with blemishes and defects. It improves the elasticity of the skin and eliminates any redness or inflammation.
This is due to its calming characteristics, which help to quiet down and even drain out the free radicals that cause the skin to break out. It brightens the skin and makes it smooth and luminous. It also helps to prevent the onset of early indications of aging.
Helps protect the body against cancer
Brazil nuts include minerals and vitamins that help reduce the chance of developing malignancies such as prostate, colon, stomach, lung, and breast cancer. Glutathione, an enzyme that fights cancer-causing free radicals, is enhanced by selenium’s natural activity in the human body. Selenium is beneficial to women because it protects them against breast cancer.
Boosts the immune system
The antioxidants and organic chemicals included in Brazil nuts aid the body’s immune system development. Vitamin C, in combination with selenium and zinc, stimulates the development of white blood cells and antioxidant molecules in the body, which help to neutralize free radicals.
All of this aids the body in the prevention of a variety of chronic disorders. Selenium, found in Brazilian nuts, is beneficial to the immune system and aids wound healing. It includes a variety of nutrients that help to strengthen the immune system and combat colds and flu. Brazil nuts also provide you with a great deal of energy to get through your day.
Improve skeletal systems and muscle function
Copper is a mineral that is necessary for the production of bone tissues and is found in Brazil nuts. It improves the absorption of iron into the bloodstream and supports the production of connective tissues. Brazil nuts also help to build bones by increasing bone mineral density.
Magnesium has a catalytic property that aids in the breakdown of proteins into simpler amino acids, which is necessary for muscular function.
It reduces muscle tightness and inflammation by preventing the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles and aids protein digestion and absorption in the body.
Control zinc proportion
Acrodermatitis enteropathica is a rare genetic illness that can be treated with Brazil nuts. The condition develops when the body does not absorb enough zinc, resulting in a zinc deficit. The high zinc content of Brazil nuts can assist to treat Acrodermatitis enteropathica by addressing this deficit.
May improve hair
Brazil nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and selenium, all of which contribute to hair that is shinier, stronger, and less prone to breaking.
Improve blood sugar
Selenium-rich foods may aid people with their blood sugar levels. In a research published in the European Journal of Nutrition, healthy people who ate one Brazil nut per day for eight weeks had reduced total cholesterol and fasting glucose levels.
Another 8-week trial found that people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease who took a 200-mcg selenium supplement had lower insulin levels and better insulin sensitivity. The researchers also discovered that the body’s antioxidant capacity had grown.
When it comes to Brazil nuts, less is more. They are high in calories and fat, which may lead to unwanted weight gain if you eat too many.
Eating too many Brazil nuts may also lead to selenium toxicity. Signs of selenium toxicity include:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Brittle hair and nails
- Joint pain
In more severe cases, it may cause:
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
How to eat Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are a nutritious, energy-boosting snack that can be eaten straight or mixed with other nuts. They have a silky texture and a subtle taste that make them excellent on their own. You may also cook them in a variety of ways, including:
- They can be roasted alone or with other nuts.
- Sprinkling them raw on a salad.
- Grinding them up and mixing them into a cake batter.
- Making raw and vegan energy balls.
- Roughly chop them and mix them in with the cookie dough.
- For added crunch, add them to rice or veggie recipes.
Certain components in Brazil nuts, according to scientific research, may enhance health in a variety of ways, including decreasing the risk of heart disease, controlling blood sugar levels, and enhancing the body’s antioxidant system.
Natural selenium, a vital element recognized for its antioxidant effects, is abundant in Brazil nuts. Although selenium is beneficial to health, too much of it can cause selenium toxicity. Therefore, limit yourself to one to three Brazil nuts each day to prevent getting too much selenium.