5 Reasons to Eat Brazil Nuts Every Day

This Amazonian superfood is packed with health benefits.

Oct 2, 2020

(RHJPhtotoandilustration / Shutterstock.com)

If you are looking for one power-packed superfood, pick Brazil nuts. To be more precise, these “nuts” are actually seeds collected from the five-pound fruit of an Amazonian tree. Towering up to 200 feet and living over 500 years, one tree produces 250 pounds of nutritious, energy dense Brazil “nuts,” according to Dr. Axe.

Not only are they from a giant source, they are hugely nutritious. Brazil nuts contain protein, fiber, and healthy fat as well as thiamine, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and vitamin E, according to Healthline. Yet, Brazil nuts are famous for one other characteristic; they offer a very high concentration of selenium.

Selenium has incredible healing properties, and since many people these days are selenium deficient, they should include Brazil nuts in their diet. Just be careful not to overdo it; two Brazil nuts a day gives you the selenium you need, including these five healthy benefits.

Rich in antioxidants
The selenium, vitamin E, and phenols in Brazil nuts are all antioxidants, according to Healthline. The job of antioxidants is to maintain healthy cells by fighting the damage made by free radicals and preventing inflammatory responses.

Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. A study showed that just one serving nuts reduced a number of inflammatory markers.

Brazil nuts also contain ellagic acid, which, according to Dr. Axe, is also highly anti-inflammatory. The key to enjoying these benefits is eating the nuts long-term.

Heart healthy
The polyunsaturated fats, fiber, and minerals found in Brazil nuts decrease one’s risk of heart disease, according to Healthline. A study of women who ate Brazil nuts for eight weeks showed increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which helps decrease one’s risk of heart disease.

And, as written by Dr. Axe, the unsaturated fats, soluble fiber, and phytonutrients in Brazil nuts help maintain healthy blood pressure level. This in turn may prevent heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease.

Food for thought
It is the ellagic acid and selenium in Brazil nuts which aid the brain, as indicated by Healthline. The ellagic acid, a polyphenol, is considered a type of healthy antidepressant, and in one animal study, ellagic acid produced an antidepressant like effect.

According to Dr. Axe, low levels of selenium can lead to anxiety, fatigue, and depression. In a British study, just five weeks after supplementing selenium, people felt an improvement in their moods and had decreased anxiety. 

May Aid the thyroid
Hormones that regulate body temperature and metabolism come from the thyroid, a gland in the throat. It is interesting that this tissue has the highest concentration of selenium in the body, according to Healthline. This is because selenium is necessary for the thyroid to create the hormone T3.

A Chinese study shows that low levels of selenium can result in reduced thyroid activity and cellular damage. Yet if someone already has thyroid disorders (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s disease), supplementing with selenium can also delay their progression, as seen in this study. So eat Brazil nuts to ensure the function of your thyroid.

Contains anti-cancer properties
Once again, it is the ellagic acid and selenium found in this superfood that is beneficial. According to Dr. Axe, ellagic acid is antimutagenic, which means it may slow the progression toward cancer.

Selenium has also been shown in a study to reduce toxic mercury levels. As there is a connection between high levels of mercury and cancer, as reported by Dr. Axe, adding Brazil nuts to your diet may help reduce your cancer risk.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.