Top 7 Brazil Nuts Benefits: Nutrients And Potential Risks

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Feb 9, 2024
Top 7 Brazil Nuts Benefits: Nutrients And Potential Risks

7 Brazil Nuts Benefits for body health

Selenium is one of the many healthy elements and minerals found in Brazil nuts. They might also improve your general health and thyroid function.
Brazil nuts are tree nuts that are indigenous to Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil's Amazon jungle. Usually eaten raw or blanched, they have a nutty flavor and a smooth, buttery texture.
These nuts are one of the most concentrated dietary sources of the mineral selenium, and they are also very nutritious and high in energy.
Consuming Brazil nuts has been shown to improve health in a number of ways, including immune system, heart, and brain support, inflammation reduction, and thyroid gland regulation.
These are seven established advantages of Brazil nuts for nutrition and health.

1. Packed with nutrients

Brazil nuts are high in energy and very nutritious.
The following nutrients are included in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts (1):
  • Calories: 187
  • Protein: 4.1 grams
  • Fat: 19 grams
  • Carbs: 3.3 grams
  • Fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Selenium: 989% daily value (DV)
  • Copper: 55% DV
  • Magnesium: 25% DV
  • Phosphorus: 16% DV
  • Manganese: 15% DV
  • Zinc: 10% DV
  • Thiamine: 15% DV
  • Vitamin E: 11% DV
One Brazil nut has 96 mcg, or 175% of the RDI, of selenium, making them an excellent source of the mineral. The majority of other nuts offer, on average, less than 1 mcg (2).
They also contain higher concentrations of zinc, copper, and magnesium, however the precise levels of these elements can vary according on soil and climate (2).
And last, Brazil nuts are a great way to get your fill of good fats. As a matter of fact, polyunsaturated fatty acids—which have been linked to heart health benefits—make up 36% of the fat content in Brazil nuts (1, 3).

SUMMARY

Brazil nuts are high in antioxidants, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, thiamine, vitamin E, and good fats.

2. Rich in selenium

Brazil nuts have a lot of selenium in them. With an average of 96 mcg per nut, they actually have higher concentrations of this mineral than any other nut. Some, meanwhile, contain up to 400 mcg per nut (1, 2).
Adults should consume 55 mcg of selenium daily. As a result, 175% of the necessary amount of this mineral is present in an average Brazil nut (1, 4).
One trace element that is essential to your body's correct operation is selenium. It affects cell proliferation and your immune system and is crucial for your thyroid (5).
Indeed, improved immune function and better outcomes for cancer, infections, infertility, pregnancy, heart disease, and mental disorders have been associated with greater selenium levels (6, 7).
Despite the rarity of selenium insufficiency, many people worldwide consume insufficient amounts of selenium for optimal health. For instance, people in the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and Europe have been reported to have inadequate selenium status (8).
A great approach to either maintain or boost your selenium intake is through Brazil nuts. Indeed, a 59-person study discovered that consuming two Brazil nuts daily increased serum selenium levels just as well as taking a pill (9).

SUMMARY

Brazil nuts have a high selenium content. 175% DV can be found in one nut. Selenium is a trace element that is necessary for healthy thyroid function, immune system function, and cell division.

3. Supports thyroid function

Located in your throat, the thyroid is a little gland resembling a butterfly. It secretes a number of hormones necessary for metabolism, growth, and controlling body temperature.
The largest quantity of selenium is found in thyroid tissue because it is necessary for the synthesis of the thyroid hormone T3 and proteins that shield the thyroid from harm (10, 11).
Insufficient consumption of selenium may result in cellular deterioration, decreased thyroid function, and autoimmune conditions such as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Thyroid cancer risk may also rise as a result of it (5, 10).
According to a major Chinese study, those with low selenium levels were far more likely than those with normal levels to have thyroid conditions such hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and enlarged thyroid (12).
This emphasizes how crucial it is to consume enough selenium. Selenium should be obtained from just one Brazil nut each day to sustain healthy thyroid function (1).

SUMMARY

Hormones required for growth, metabolism, and controlling body temperature are produced by your thyroid gland. Selenium levels in one Brazil nut are sufficient to maintain thyroid hormone production and thyroid-protecting protein synthesis.

4. May help those with thyroid disorders

Selenium not only maintains healthy thyroid function but also helps thyroid disease sufferers' symptoms.
An autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis causes the thyroid tissue to gradually deteriorate, resulting in hypothyroidism and a host of symptoms including lethargy, weight gain, and a chilling feeling (13).
Selenium supplements have been shown in several evaluations to help persons with Hashimoto's thyroiditis with their immune system and mood (14, 15, 16).
Two more reviews, on the other hand, came to the conclusion that there is insufficient data to assess selenium's potential for illness treatment. Thus, additional study is required (17, 18).
On the other hand, Graves' disease is a thyroid condition in which the overproduction of thyroid hormone results in symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, and enlarging eyes (19).
Selenium supplements have been demonstrated in studies to enhance thyroid function and slow the onset of certain symptoms in those with this illness. But further investigation is required (20).
There is a lack of research on the specific benefits of Brazil nuts as a source of selenium for individuals suffering from Graves' disease or thyroiditis. However, adding them to your diet can be a smart strategy to make sure you have enough selenium in your body.

SUMMARY

Those suffering from thyroid conditions like Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis may find relief by taking selenium supplements. However, more study is required.

5. May reduce inflammation

Antioxidants, which are compounds that support the health of your cells, are abundant in Brazil nuts. They achieve this by preventing the harm that reactive substances known as free radicals can do.
Selenium, vitamin E, and phenols like gallic and ellagic acids are among the antioxidants found in Brazil nuts (2).
Glutathione peroxidase (GPx), an enzyme that helps lower inflammation and shield your body from oxidative stress—an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals that can cause cellular damage—is elevated by selenium (21, 22, 23).
Brazil nuts have anti-inflammatory properties that can be obtained with a single, high dose or multiple, little doses spread out over an extended period of time.
A single 20- or 50-gram serving (4 or 10 nuts, respectively) dramatically decreased the levels of several inflammatory indicators, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), according to a research including 10 participants (24, 25).
In a separate three-month trial, patients receiving kidney failure medication were given one Brazil nut daily. It was discovered that although their levels of cholesterol and inflammatory markers had dramatically dropped, their levels of selenium and GPx had grown (26).
Subsequent research, however, found that these metrics went back to normal after participants quit consuming Brazil nuts. This indicates that in order to benefit from Brazil nuts, long-term dietary adjustments are required (27, 28).

SUMMARY

Antioxidants such as phenols, vitamin E, and selenium can be found in Brazil nuts. Reduction of inflammation can occur with just one nut per day. However, to keep reaping the benefits, you must maintain a steady consumption.

6. Good for your heart

Brazil nuts are high in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, and they include heart-healthy fatty acids such polyunsaturated fats that may help reduce your risk of heart disease (29).
In one study, the effects of eating Brazil nuts on cholesterol levels were examined in ten healthy persons. They received 5, 20, or 50 grams of Brazil nuts in return.
Compared to groups that got smaller dosages (30), the group that received a 20- or 50-gram meal after 9 hours had greater levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Another study examined the impact of Brazil nut consumption on individuals receiving kidney disease treatment who were obese and deficient in selenium.
It was shown that consuming Brazil nuts, which have 290 mcg of selenium per day, for eight weeks raised HDL cholesterol levels considerably. Your chance of developing heart disease may go down if your HDL cholesterol levels rise (22).
Additionally, ingesting 15–25 grams of Brazil nuts daily enhanced blood vessel function and decreased LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a 16-week study of obese youths (31).
The benefits of Brazil nuts for heart health are encouraging. However, more investigation is required to establish the ideal dosage and identify the populations that may benefit the most.

SUMMARY

By lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, and enhancing blood vessel function, eating Brazil nuts may improve your heart health.

7. May be good for your brain

Ellagic acid and selenium, which are found in Brazil nuts, are both beneficial to the brain.
One kind of polyphenol found in Brazil nuts is ellagic acid. It may protect and have antidepressant benefits on your brain because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities (32, 33, 34).
Due to its antioxidant properties, selenium may potentially benefit brain function (35).
For six months, older persons with mental impairment consumed one Brazil nut daily as part of a study. They not only had higher selenium levels but also had enhanced mental and verbal fluency (35).
Making sure you're getting enough selenium is vital because low levels have been linked to neurological illnesses like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's (36, 37, 38).
Furthermore, studies indicate that low selenium consumption is strongly linked to depressive symptoms, which could be mitigated by taking supplements of selenium. But the findings are contradictory, requiring more investigation (39, 40).

SUMMARY

Ellagic acid, found in Brazil nuts, may offer mental health benefits. Moreover, selenium may enhance mood and mental function while lowering your chance of developing certain brain disorders. However, more study is required.

Health risks of eating Brazil nuts

Although they have many remarkable health benefits, eating too many brazil nuts may be hazardous.
In fact, poisoning can result from consuming 5,000 mcg of selenium, which is equivalent to about 50 medium-sized Brazil nuts. Selenosis is a serious illness that can lead to heart attack, kidney failure, and breathing difficulties (41).
Moreover, an elevated risk of diabetes and prostate cancer has been associated with excessive selenium, especially from supplements (42, 43, 44).
Nonetheless, communities consuming traditional diets rich in naturally occurring selenium in the Amazon have not experienced any adverse consequences or indications of selenium poisoning (45).
However, it's crucial to keep your daily consumption of Brazil nuts to a minimum.
Adults should consume no more than 400 mcg of selenium daily. Because of this, it's crucial to limit your intake of Brazil nuts and to look up the amount of selenium on nutrition labels (7).
One wise strategy to prevent consuming too much selenium is to limit your intake to one to three Brazil nuts each day (29).
Brazil nuts may also cause allergies in people with nut allergies, in which case they should be avoided.

SUMMARY

One uncommon but potentially fatal disorder is selenium poisoning. A safe upper limit of selenium intake is 400 micrograms. It’s crucial to examine the amount of selenium in the nuts you purchase or limit your consumption to 1-3 Brazil nuts per day.

The bottom line

Brazil nuts are a nutritional powerhouse, offering antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. They contain a lot of selenium, a mineral with strong antioxidant qualities.
Consuming Brazil nuts can help your heart and thyroid function, lower inflammation, and promote brain function.
Try to keep your selenium intake to no more than one or three Brazil nuts a day.