Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) belong to the Lecythidaceae family, they are native to South America, found mainly in the Amazon rainforest.
A Brazil nut tree can grow up to 200 feet, making it one of the largest trees in the world.
The nut is protected in a thick, brown shell that needs to be cracked open like other nuts in other to remove the seed. They are also sometimes referred to as “para-nuts,””castania” and “chestnuts of Brazil,”.
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They have a smooth, creamy texture and a mild, sweet flavor. The nuts are delicious and are an excellent source of a variety of minerals and vitamins. They are considered to be the number one source for the biochemical selenium which has enormous benefits for the body and mind.
The pod from which Brazil nuts are extracted resembles a coconut and may weigh around 5pounds each. These pods contain from 12 to 20 seeds each in segments, which are later harvested during the season.
Nutritional benefits of Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are largely a monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat , but they also contain some protein as well as being a good source of important nutrients including potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin E and some B vitamins.
Brazil nuts are most renowned, though, for their high selenium content, and are in fact the richest known food source of this important nutrient. Selenium is an essential mineral and antioxidant that is needed daily for a healthy immune system and it helps to prevent damage to our nerves and cells.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BRAZIL NUTS
Brazil nuts are effective in preventing cancer due to their high ellagic acid and selenium levels. Ellagic acid is an antimutagenic and anticancer agent
Selenium also reduces and prevents the incidence of cancer. In a research that took place in China during a five-year, randomized nutritional intervention where esophageal cancer rates was extremely high and selenium intake was low.
Some researchers has shown that selenium can help in reducing toxic mercury levels, which can further help fight cancer.
Brazil nuts contain high level of omega 3 fatty acids which help to lower the risk of cardiovascular and any heart related diseases.
They are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acid which are also beneficial for lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in the blood. It also prevents coronary artery diseases and stroke.
3.Brazil Nuts Boost Thyroid Health
Individuals with thyroid problems can increase their selenium intake through Brazil nut supplementation.
Increased Brazil nuts intake has resulted in proper thyroid functioning because the thyroid gland has more selenium content than any other organ in the body. This beneficial element in Brazil but has been helpful in the synthesis and utilization of thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland helps with the production, distribution and regulation of some essential hormones in the body.
Brazil nuts also contain an active enzyme called “triodothyronine” which stimulates the production of the active thyroid hormone.
The ellagic acid present in Brazil nut makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory nut. Apart from the ellagic acid, it also have selenium in the nuts, another mineral that is known to combat inflammation.
Even a single intake of Brazil nuts everyday was found to decrease long-term inflammation.
The antioxidants, Vitamin E and selenium present in Brazil nuts help to prevent the incidence of skin cancer. Basal and squamous skin cancer can be caused by selenium deficiency.
The copper present in Brazil nuts also aid the production of melanin, which is a color pigment that protects the body from the harmful ultraviolet rays. To protect yourself from skin cancer, you have to start eating Brazil nuts every day!
Brazil nuts act as a wonderful natural exfoliant for people that love to exfoliate their skin. Take half a cup of Brazil nuts, grind them to make a fine powder.
Combine this powder with mashed avocado and eggs. Rub the mixture gently on your face and leave it for about 15 minutes.
Rinse it off with cold water and pat dry, this will exfoliate the skin gently, removing the dead cells, while avocado and egg will make the skin smooth and supple.
It is needful to make smart food choices in this generation where chronic obesity has taking over a quarter of the world’s population.
They contain carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They are also loaded with amino acids like arginine which helps in promoting weight loss. This combination provides the body adequate fuel to stay energized and also stay fuller for longer.
Selenium also plays an important role in enhancing the metabolism, thus helping you to burn off all the calories.
A few nuts taken in between meals are a good way of reducing the chances of been obese.
8.Increase Testosterone Level
Brazil nuts, with their high level of selenium, are often called a ‘testosterone superfood’. Dietary selenium helps with production of quality sperm by improving its motility and volume.
A research study published in the Journal of Andrology also proved that daily consumption of Brazil but improves sperm quality. Therfore, the higher the testosterone, the higher the sperm count.
L-arginine (an amino acid) present in Brazil nuts is also an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.
The high zinc content in Brazil nuts has been shown to protect against acne because of its vitamin and antioxidant content. This protection can be achieved through the normal regular consumption of the nuts or by application of Brazil nut oil on the affected area.
Research has revealed that anxiety, stress, and tiredness, are linked to low levels of selenium intake.
11.Facilitate Nutrient Uptake
The high magnesium levels found in Brazil nuts help stimulates efficient nutrient uptake in the digestive system, which means that we get as many benefits as possible from our food.
Zinc is also one of the most important elements our body needs, and Brazil nuts contain this mineral in high levels which also help to facilitate nutrient uptake.
Brazil nuts is enriched with an amino-acid called thiamin which help in the proper functioning of the nervous system. They’ve also helped in preventing Alzheimer’s and stress-related mental disorders.
The selenium in the nuts boosts antioxidant activity that can protect the brain from damage. The selenium also elevates mood and prevent depression, it also increases serotonin levels.
It’s ellagic acid, according to research, has an anti-inflammatory effects which can also protect the brain.
13.Help In Digestion
Brazil nuts are good sources of both soluble and insoluble fibers. While the former helps food move through the digestive tract, the latter helps in bowel movement.
Brazil nuts are a nutrient-dense food containing magnesium, a mineral required for the functioning of the muscles.
Magnesium prevents the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, preventing soreness and muscular pain. Magnesium act like a catalyst by stimulating protein break down into simpler amino acids.
Brazil nuts provide the body with protein and energy to keep up the metabolic process needed to regenerate tissues and muscle.
They also prevents the build up of lactic acid in the muscles thereby making Brazil nuts the best snack after exercise as it will help renew the muscle.
Brazil nuts contain copper, a mineral vital for the skeletal system thus making them an ideal food for people suffering from weak bones. Copper is required for the formation of bone tissues and connective tissues.
It aids the absorption of iron into the blood stream. In addition to the skeletal system.
Brazil nuts are also rich in calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus which strengthen the bones by improving bone mineral density. All this minerals function to a great extent in reducing the risk of fractures.
Brazil nut contains Vitamin A and E that increases collagen production giving you a smooth and young looking skin.
They also contain the necessary minerals that work to alleviate skin dryness, this minerals are, zinc, Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acid. They help to prevent eczema, dryness of skin, psoriasis and other infections.
Brazil nuts are refered to as complete protein making them an additional food for the vegetarian.
They provide the body with all the essential amino acids needed for muscle and tissue repair.
Side Effects Of Brazil Nuts
No matter how healthy, every food can become a toxin to the body especially when the normal daily requirements are exceeded. This is also the same Brazil nuts.
Brazil nuts are so rich in selenium that having them even in a little excess can cause selenium toxicity. Symptoms of selenium toxicity include diarrhea, brittle nails, a metallic taste in the mouth, hair loss, and coughing.
Brazil nuts can cause allergies in people with nut allergies. Symptoms include vomiting and swelling.
Eating just 6–8 Brazil nuts every day can keep your heart healthy, prevent cancer, improve skin, promote thyroid balance, treat Alzheimer’s, and promote your bone and dental health.
Consuming up to 30grams of Brazil nuts a day is a great way to boost your vitality and get some vitamins and minerals into your system, especially selenium.
In case you are deficient in selenium, turn to nothing else but Brazil nuts. One nut a day will do the trick. Brazil nuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, extremely high amounts of selenium, vitamins, and antioxidants, all of which work wonders for your health. Brazil nuts are also good for those with selenium deficiency.