Off lately, Brazil nuts have gained immense popularity as a superfood, and these are widely known for improving life’s longevity and providing protection against a broad array of health ailments. The high concentration of minerals like selenium and essential vitamins are responsible for the incredible health benefits of Brazil nuts.
High in fats and calories, the Brazil nuts have a creamy texture and are specifically valued for their high mineral content. There are countless Brazil nuts health benefits which make them a perfect addition to your daily diet, and these benefits are also complimented by their rich creamy flavor that can enhance a broad array of dishes.
Before we move on to the Brazil nuts benefits, let’s first find out about the origin of these healthy nuts.
Contrary to their name, the Brazil nuts are neither the nuts nor they grow only in Brasil. These are seeds which hail from the rainforest of South America, the Amazon rainforest which is home to an array of unique plant species like Guarana, Acai berry, and the Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts grow in the non-flooded forests of Peru, Bolivia, and Brasil. The tree on which these nuts grow is known as “Bertholletia excelsa”.
These nuts are also known by the names like “Chestnuts of Brasil”, “Castania”, and “Paranuts”.
Nutritional Value of Brazil Nuts
The native Amazonians have cherished Brazil nuts for ages, and these have been one of the main sources of their energy, fats, and proteins.
These nuts are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals and are especially valued for their high selenium content. They are the best source of selenium on our planet, and just a couple of nuts can satisfy our daily selenium requirement completely.
About 10 grams of these nuts can provide 348.5% RDA of this trace mineral. This implies that 2- 2.5 grams of nuts are enough for daily consumption and you need to eat just two nuts a day.
Selenium is one of the vital co-factors of the “glutathione peroxidase”, the antioxidant enzyme present in the Brazil nuts.
These nuts are high in calories and are also rich in anti-oxidants which can prevent the growth of the cancer cells in the body. One can gain up to 656 calories by consuming around 100 grams of the Brazil nuts.
Also, while they are rich in fat content, but, the fats that they contain are MUFA (Monosaturated Fatty Acids) like Oleic acid, and Palmitoleic acid, which helps in lowering down the bad cholesterol, that is DL, and help in enhancing the good cholesterol, that is, HDL.
Apart from these, the Brazil nuts are also a good source of Vitamin E, gluten free protein, B Complex vitamins, including Thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folates, pantothenic acid, etc. The vitamins present in these nuts help in accelerating the cellular substrate metabolism in the body.
The minerals present in these nuts includes magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, zinc, iron and calcium. Like selenium, manganese is also one of the vital co-factors of the “superoxide dismutase”, the antioxidant enzyme.
Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts
1. Production of Active Thyroid Hormone
The individuals who are suffering from low thyroid function can eat the Brazil nuts to overcome the problem easily.
Being an excellent source of selenium, these nuts convert the inactive T4 thyroid enzyme into the active T3 enzyme known as “triodithyronine”, and thus, help in curing the Thyroid problems.
2. Boosts Testosterone Levels
Brazil nuts help in boosting the testosterone levels in the men while improving their motility and the sperm production.
Men with low sperm count can consume these nuts regularly for a couple of months to raise the count.
3. Enhance the Heart Health
The Brazil nuts possess MUFA (Monosaturated Fatty Acids) such as Oleic acid and Palmitoleic acid.
These unsaturated fats are known for balancing the cholesterol profile in the body, as they help in reducing the LDL levels and increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
These nuts also eliminate the Omega-6 fatty acids, which are quite dangerous for our heart and thus, aid in preventing the strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis.
But, Brazil nuts also contain harmful saturated fats too, and thus, one should not indulge in excessive intake of these nuts as, overdose may harm the health.
4. Support Weight Loss
Each Brazil nut is packed with high fiber content, complex carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This makes these nuts highly fulfilling, and thus, you stay full for longer.
Consequently, the snack cravings are less, and you end up consuming lesser calories. These also help in enhancing the metabolism and thus, supports weight loss.
5. Strengthen the Immune System
The Brazil nuts have a high concentration of nutrients and minerals, which support the immune system. Also, the anti-oxidants and organic compounds present in these nuts make them incredible immunity boosting foods.
The combination of selenium, zinc and Vitamin C stimulates the production of WBCs (White Blood Cells) while the antioxidants help the body to overcome the oxidative stress by neutralizing the free radicals.
This helps in preventing many chronic illnesses, including cancer while developing protection against a number of viral and bacterial infections.
6. Tunes Up The Digestive System
Brazil nuts are high in fiber, and thus, they tune up the digestive system efficiently. The fiber in the nuts enables the peristaltic motion in the gastrointestinal tract and makes the food easily move through the body.
This effectively cures constipation and helps in preventing the bloating, gastric ulcers, cramps and even the colon cancer.
As the food is digested easily, it aids weight loss and enhances the energy levels in the body.
7. Lowers the Risk of Cancer
The vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants present in these nuts significantly reduce the risk of many types cancer including, breast, lung, stomach, colon, and prostate cancer.
Also, the selenium richness of the nuts enables the secretion an enzyme called “glutathione”which fights the free radicals responsible for causing cancer.
8. Protects Against Skin Cancer
Selenium present in the Brazil nuts is very efficient in preventing and combating the skin cancer.
Researches reveal that the inadequate levels of selenium in the body can result in squamous and basal skin cancer.
9. Reduce the Signs of Aging
The sun exposure results in the wrinkles and skin damage. Over exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun can result in premature aging of the skin and appearance of the signs of aging including fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation etc.
The anti-oxidants, and the Vitamins A and E help in fighting the free radicals, and boost the skin collagen, thereby resulting in reduced signs of aging and smoother complexion.
Apart from eating the nuts, the oil extracted from these nuts can directly be applied to the skin before sleeping after washing the face. It will not only eradicate the minor infections but, will also enhance the glow of the skin.
10. Heal the Cracked and Dry Skin
During the winters the skin becomes excessively dry and the heels of the feet start cracking. Brazil nuts offer an amazing solution to cure these skin issues.
You can apply the oil extracted from these nuts to the cracked or dry skin to relieve itching and painful tightness.
11. Improve the Hair Growth
Selenium is one of the vital trace minerals which is essential for the natural hair growth. Often, the deficiency of selenium is associated with this excessive hair fall.
Eating these nuts on the regular basis slows down the hair fall and slowly improve the hair growth. It significantly helps in controlling the hair fall.
12. Treat Acne
The high zinc content in these nuts not only protects the skin against acne but also helps in reducing its spots. The rich content of vitamins and anti-oxidants enhance the cell renewal process and helps in lightening the acne marks on the skin.
To treat acne, you can either consume the nuts or can apply its oil on the affected areas of the skin.
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A Word Of Precaution
Brazil Nuts may cause allergy in some sensitive individuals and the symptoms of this reaction may vary in individuals. It may be a simple skin itching or even the severe form of anaphylactic manifestations, including diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or difficulty in breathing. Thus, one needs to ensure that they don’t get an allergic reaction after eating these nuts, to avoid any complications.
Sometimes these nuts also cause cross-reactions with the fruits and nuts hailing from “Anacardiaceae family” like pistachio, cashew nuts, mango etc.
If you buy higher quantities of these nuts, then, ensure that you store the in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid. In hot and humid temperatures, these nuts may become harmful for consumption.
Also, while Brazil nuts are one of the healthiest foods on earth, but, it’s important that you understand that how many Brazil nuts in a day can be eaten without any side effects. Excessive consumption of these nuts may cause “selenium toxicity” in people.
Its symptoms include a garlic kind smell in the breath, vomiting, nausea and the emotional disturbances. Sometimes, people also experience alopecia, dental caries, neuropathic pain or dermatitis. Thus, don’t eat more than 4 nuts a day, and try to keep your daily intake under 3 nuts per day.