“Around here we don’t call them ‘Brazil Nuts’…in Brazil we just call them ‘nuts’”
-Rosario Dawson The Rundown (2003)
These delicious nuts have been making great waves in the health world as of late, not only because they’re super delicious and add a wonderful fragrant and earthy flavor to snacks and drinks but their amazing health benefits keep getting discovered.
Brazil nuts can be found growing on Brazil nut trees in South America predominantly along the river banks. The nuts can be found in a shell that looks similar to coconut, but contain anywhere from a dozen to 20 delicious nutrient-rich Brazil nuts.
You probably already know that Brazil nuts contain 2.1 grams of fiber, chock full of protein, and have 11% Vitamin E, but did you know that Brazil nuts can be beneficial to major organs and your body’s chemical build up? Keep reading to see 7 more benefits these delicious South American nucis.
Source of Selenium
It’s been found that Brazil nuts continually top the list of the most Selenium rich nut. Selenium is an essential mineral that can only be obtained through diet. Although it’s only needed in small amounts it plays a massive role in thyroid health, immune building, and cell growth. Because of its immunal strengthening properties it means selenium can help fight cancer, infections, heart disease and aid in healthy pregnancies and boost moods. This means you can ditch the selenium supplements and start snacking on Brazil nuts instead (in moderation of course).
If you’re reading this you probably already know about good fats and bad fats. Much like seafood and other Nuts, Brazil nuts also contain unsaturated fats (or omega-3’s). However unlike their counterparts Brazil nuts contain almost 25% total polyunsaturated fatty acids which can greatly lower your cholesterol.
They also pack tons of antioxidants, minerals, and fiber which all help lower your risk of heart disease. Beyond that, studies have also shown that Brazil nuts can also improve blood vessel functions which can lower cardiovascular deficiencies.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
We already mentioned that Brazil nuts have tons of selenium and Vitamin E, but they also contain ellagic and gallic acid which all work as amazing antioxidants. We naturally have free radicals in our body (for example they can be byproducts of metabolic rates) and they help in protecting your body from diseases. However when we drink or smoke in excess we increase the number of free radicals in our body which leads to oxidative stress. This stress can severely damage healthy cells, but antioxidants combat this. These antioxidants also release enzymes which also work as anti-inflammatories for the body.
Not to mention Brazil nuts also contain almost 5mg of Zinc which diminishes inflammation in the body and flushes out toxins.
Remember earlier when we mentioned selenium and ellagic acid? They both have a positive effect to increase your brain power as well!
Ellagic acid is a polyphenol, a micronutrient found in many plants. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties aren’t just good at combating free radicals, but they can also protect your brain and even act as antidepressants.
Low levels of selenium have also been linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. Studies have shown that adequate selenium intake can not only enhance verbal fluency, but alleviate poor moods as well.
Beyond that the B1 vitamins found in Brazil nuts also contribute to strengthening your nervous system and relieving stress.
Your hormone secreting thyroid gland is located in your throat and helps your body with general growth, metabolism, and regulates your body temperature. Selenium (you know these are in Brazil nuts right?) is actually required for your body to produce T3 (the hormone that does the above) and protective thyroid proteins.
If you are low in selenium you increase the risk of your thyroid not functioning as it should, improper thyroid regulation can lead to related autoimmune diseases or even thyroid cancer.
Brazil nuts, much like almonds, are pretty high in fiber. This makes them an awesome tool for boosting your digestive system. Fiber aids your gastrointestinal system and helps move your food through your body while also extracting as many nutrients as it can along the way. This means that fiber can help prevent common digestive issues such as bloating, ulcers, and constipation and also increases energy and promotes weight loss. Next time you make your morning smoothie, try adding in a few tasty Brazil nuts to get your fiber fix.
Integral for Immune System
This is the case for most nutrient high foods, but Brazil nuts in particular are an immune boosting superhero compared to other nuts. Because they’re high selenium and zinc, when coupled with vitamin C will stimulate white blood cell production which are needed to guard and protect against common diseases. Their high protein and collagen components content also supports awesome cell growth and repair to help heal wounds, and repair blood vessels and tissue.
Like any food, Brazil nuts should be eaten in moderation. They do have tons of awesome advantages, but over doing it can potentially lead to further unwanted complications. Always consult a healthcare professional or dietitian before any radical changes you make. If you’re already reaping the advantage of Brazil nuts though then go forth in your awesome healthy lifestyle!