Being native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru, these nuts are well-known for their buttery texture and nutty flavor. With one of the most concentrated dietary sources of the mineral selenium, Brazil nuts are highly nutritious and energy-dense. Eating Brazil nuts on a regular basis with adequate amounts can yield several health benefits such as supporting thyroid function, reducing inflammation, heart health and proper brain functioning.
In this article, we have included the proven health benefits of Brazil nuts and their interesting nutritional facts.
Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts
Support Thyroid Function
Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies in your throat and is responsible for secreting several hormones that are beneficial for metabolism, growth, and body temperature regulation. When it comes to the thyroid tissue, it has the highest concentration of selenium, a mineral that is required for the production of the thyroid hormone. Moreover, it is rich in proteins that protect your thyroid from damage.
For that purpose, when you eat foods less in selenium content, it can lead to cellular damage, reduced thyroid activity, and autoimmune disorders. It increases the risk of thyroid cancer. One study suggest that people with low levels of selenium have a higher prevalence of thyroid diseases compared to those with normal levels.
Therefore, Brazil nuts that are high in essential selenium can help you in supporting your thyroid function. Even one Brazil nut can provide you enough selenium to maintain the proper functioning of your thyroid gland.
Replacing food containing unhealthy fats with healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids can aid heart functions. Brazil nuts are high in fatty acids to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, the consumption of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats can improve cholesterol levels which reduces the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
People living with diabetes can have a lower chance of cardiovascular disease by eating several tree nuts (such as Brazil nuts) in a moderate amount.
Good for the Brain
Brazil nuts contain ellagic acid which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties to offer anti-depressant and neuroprotective effects on your brain. Moreover, selenium is a key mineral in supporting brain signaling pathways within the central nervous system. Brazil nuts are a good source of such essential nutrients to help the proper functioning of your brain.
Strong anti-inflammatory properties
Being abundant in antioxidants, Brazil nuts helps with the protection of cells from oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. Selenium can increase the levels of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that reduces inflammation and protects your body from oxidative damage.
Brazil Nuts Nutrition
These nuts are highly nutritious and energy-dense where one ounce (28 grams) of Brazil nuts contain the following nutrients:
- Calories: 187
- Protein: 4.1 g
- Fat: 19 g
- Carbs: 3.3 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Selenium: 988% of the DV
- Copper: 55% of the DV
- Magnesium: 33% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 30% of the DV
- Manganese: 17% of the DV
- Zinc: 10.5% of the DV
- Thiamine: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 11% of the DV
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, just 28 grams contain about 1000% of required daily value. If eaten in an adequate amount, these nuts are beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
Side Effects of Brazil Nuts
Take a look at the downside of Brazil nuts due to the excess intake.
As discussed above, Brazil nuts are high in trace mineral selenium. Even though it is essential for your body, high amounts of selenium can be harmful. To support your immune system and thyroid function as an antioxidant, only a limited amount of selenium is needed. In the event of excess intake of selenium, it can lead to selenium toxicity with a metallic taste in your mouth as an early indicator.
Symptoms of selenium toxicity include:
- Brittle hair and nails
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal issues
Severe cases may lead to:
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
- Heart Failure
Take advantage of these nutritious and mouth-watering Brazil nuts for your health, however, make sure to avoid over-consumption.