Our whole, raw Brazil nuts are a good source of protein, minerals, and the antioxidant selenium.
The Brazil nut has its origins in South America, specifically in the Amazon, a rainforest which stretches across a massive swath of the continent, with parts in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. Brazil nut trees can live for more than half a millenia in the lower-lying sections where flooding is more rare. The scientific name for the tree is Bertholletia Excelsa.
Brazil nuts are somewhat unique as a nut - most nuts have a hard shell around a solitary “seed”, or nut. Brazil nuts, on the other hand, grow in pods as big as an orange, in groups of up to 24 nuts. These pods are exceedingly tough; in the wild, only the agouti, a small rodent, can carve its way through the exterior shell with its sharp teeth. People need the help of tools like machetes or axes to get to the delicious nut inside. (link)
Brazil nuts are a great companion for hikes or other situations where you need lots of energy in a small package. A one ounce serving of Brazil nuts contains 187 calories. By weight, that’s 19 grams of fat, 4.1 grams of protein, and 3.3 grams of carbs in every ounce. It’s a great ingredient for your homemade trail mix!
Not only do Brazil nuts pack the calories, they also are chock full of essential vitamins and minerals. Among these are such nutrients as fiber, Vitamin E, Selenium, Copper, Thiamine, Magnesium, Zinc, and many more. In particular, Brazil nuts have a higher than average zinc, copper, and magnesium levels than other nuts. Yet another reason to take Brazil nuts on your travels!
It can be hard to find a good source for selenium, but Brazil nuts are packed with the stuff. This nutrient is essential for various health reasons, including higher fertility, reduced risk of heart disease, and even better chances for a good outcome after cancer. It’s also an important element for proper thyroid function and cell growth. Brazil nuts have more selenium than any other nut, at approximately 96 mcg per nut.
Because of their high selenium content, Brazil nuts are the perfect food for helping out your thyroid. The tissue that composes the thyroid has the highest concentration of selenium of any body tissue, because it’s crucial for creating the T3 hormone as well as particular proteins that guard your thyroid against damage. If you don’t get enough selenium, you can develop cell damage, an underperforming thyroid, as well as immune system issues like Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Low selenium levels have also been associated with hypothyroidism or enlarged thyroid.
Brazil nuts have another important nutrient, ellagic acid. This, along with the selenium also found in Brazil nuts, encourage healthy brain activity. Ellagic acid can fight inflammation, and is also an antioxidant. It also may have antidepressant effects on your brain, as well as enhanced brain cell protection! According to some studies, Brazil nuts can even increase your verbal fluency and reduce your risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Brazil nuts are fantastic for your heart and circulatory system. Even a single Brazil nut every day can reduce inflammation - though you should make sure you keep a consistent intake to make the most of the benefits. They also contain polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants, both of which can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. In numerous studies, Brazil nut consumption was seen to be associated with lower levels of bad cholesterol, and higher levels of good cholesterol.
Antioxidants are important substances which help keep your cells from being damaged by dangerous free radicals. Thankfully, Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants. Gallic acid, selenium, Vitamin E, and ellagic acid are all present in Brazil nuts, making it a good source of a variety of antioxidants. For these effects, you can either eat a large dose in a single sitting, or smaller doses over a longer period of time.
Research Supported Disease Prevention
The nutrition inside Brazil nuts have been scientifically linked with preventing numerous diseases. Various thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, as well as hypothyroidism, may be able to be avoided with the nutrition in Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts have also been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cancer, one of the most dangerous diseases out there, is less likely to give you a poor outcome if you consume enough Brazil nuts.