Nutritional Information for Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are unique in that they offer a whopping dose of selenium, a potent mineral that acts mainly as an antioxidant. Just one Brazil nut contains enough selenium for the entire day! They are large in size and often found in “mixed” nuts.
Benefits of Brazil Nuts
Cancer Prevention Benefits
Nuts and seeds in general contain cancer-fighting compounds, which fire-up mechanisms in the body that initiate cancer cell death (known as apoptosis) and can inhibit the spread of cancer. Human trials are lacking, but it appears Brazil nuts have chemoprotective (cancer protecting) effects.
Men's Health Benefits
One clinical trial found that eating just 4 nuts per month dramatically lowered cholesterol and kept it low after 30 days. There are so many reasons why eating a few Brazil nuts every week is a good thing. Nut consumption is associated with lower risk of heart disease. Some evidence suggest it also helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and gallstone diseases. In the UK, selenium intake has been declining, which may be worrisome for total health. Selenium is crucial for a healthy immune system. It may help prevent certain cancers, improve male fertility, and as mentioned above may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk. In patients on dialysis, one Brazil nut was eaten every day for 3 months and seemed to reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant agent. In healthy populations, eating over a ¼ an ounce (that is like eating 1 Brazil nut, or 5 almonds) per day was associated with lower BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure. Eating nuts also appears to help reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
Ways to Use Brazil Nuts
+ Make homemade plant-based milk using brazil nuts.
+ Chop into smaller pieces and toss in salads or oatmeal.
+ Use brazil nuts in pesto rather than pine seeds or other nuts.
+ Add to smoothies.
Resources for Brazil Nuts
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Brazil Nuts
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- O’Neil CE, Fulgoni VL 3rd, Nicklas TA. Tree Nut consumption is associated with better adiposity measures and cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome health risk factors in U.S. Adults: NHANES 2005-2010. Nutr J. 2015;14:64.
- Brown K, Arthur J. Selenium, selenoproteins and human health: a review. Public Health Nutr. 2001;4(2B):593-9.
- Stockler-Pinto MB, Mafra D, Moraes C, et al. Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa, H.B.K.) improves oxidative stress and inflammation biomarkers in hemodialysis patients.Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014;158(1):105-12.
- Papanastasopoulos P, Stebbing J. Nuts and cancer: where are we now? Lancet Oncol. 2013;14(12):1161-2.
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- Falasca M, Casari I. Cancer chemoprevention by nuts: evidence and promises. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2012;4:109-20.
- Colpo E, de Avila Vilanova C, Reetz L, et al. A single consumption of high amounts of the Brazil nuts improves lipid profile of healthy volunteers. J Nutr Metab. 2013:653185.