While the Brazil nut obviously gets its name from the South American country it has become so familiar with, the nut trees themselves actually grow throughout most of the continent. This has been the case for many, many years as the tree can live to be between 500 and 1,000 years old. The Brazil nut tree is really a sight to behold, but the main thing we take away from the tree is the nut that grows from the branches.
Brazil nuts can be a bit expensive at the grocery store since they are actually hard to come by in the country of Brazil. However, getting your hands on them and enjoying the nuts as a snack once in awhile is going to have some great health benefits. Most people know that many nuts contain a lot of calories, fat and protein, but there’s so much more to it than that. Let’s take a look at the nutritional value and health benefits that you’ll get from adding Brazil nuts to your diet.
Nutrition of Brazil Nuts
If you are trying to slim down, then you might not want to eat too many Brazil nuts at one time. One ounce contains 184 calories, and it can be easy to find yourself snacking on much more than that in one sitting. Brazil nuts make for a great snack every now and then, though, as they contain a lot of nutrients. That one serving has plenty of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll also get eight percent of your daily fiber recommendation. Brazil nuts are a great source of protein, too, with four grams per serving.
As for vitamins, the most abundant one here is thiamin, with 12 percent daily value. Others include vitamin E (eight percent) and small amounts of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. The minerals are where it’s at for Brazil nuts, though, as you can get more than 20 percent of your recommended magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Above all, Brazil nuts contain a large dose of selenium, while also carrying manganese, zinc, potassium, calcium and iron.
Good For the Heart
When you’re getting some of those new minerals into your body, you’re going to be doing your heart a favor. Minerals such as magnesium and selenium will have a positive effect on your heart health that allows you to lower your blood pressure (we’ll touch more on selenium in a little bit). Looking at the nutrition label of Brazil nuts, there is a lot of calories from fat, which is actually a good thing for your heart in this case.
Brazil nuts contain a lot of unsaturated fats, which allows you to raise the HDL cholesterol levels (which is a good thing). The omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial to your heart and you will see an overall balance to your cholesterol. Of course, Brazil nuts should be taken in low amounts to get the maximum benefits to get the total balance.
There are many different factors that play into Brazil nuts that are going to allow you to prevent a lot of different diseases. Starting with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Brazil nuts, that will help you to fight off the free radicals in your body. These free radicals attack cells and can cause serious diseases and even damage your skin and cause colds. For this reason, Brazil nuts have been praised for their ability to prevent certain forms of cancer.
Even eating one Brazil nut is going to see some benefits, even in patients that already have cancer. The high selenium content is able to battle mercury, which is a toxic mineral you want to avoid having in your body. All of these factors can also help reduce pain in the body that’s brought on by inflammation.
Save Your Skin
Those same factors that make Brazil nuts good for your heart are also going to help increase your skin health. You already know that Brazil nuts can fight against certain forms of cancer, and skin cancer is on that list. Brazil nuts also allow your skin to have a more natural glowing look while holding off wrinkles and other signs of aging due to the antioxidants and selenium content.
For those of us that struggle with acne (especially the youngsters), eating a Brazil nut each day could go a long way. Brazil nuts have a high amount of zinc that has been shown to fight oily skin to make it more moisturized. While it’s not one of those things that you place on your skin like other foods we’ve looked at, you’ll certainly see the benefits.
There are many people that aren’t getting the important minerals that they should be, which can cause a lot of deficiencies. Eating Brazil nuts is a good way of getting many of those minerals that include zinc and selenium that you rarely think about. These are minerals that will help protect your cells and allow for repairing damaged cells.
This is also true when it comes to your hormones, as many people suffer from thyroid problems. Eating Brazil nuts can help your thyroid become more efficient and create the hormones your body needs to stay balanced. Although eating too many certainly won’t help you lose weight, eating a small amount of Brazil nuts can give your metabolism a boost and allow you to lose weight.
Fiber is another one of those things that not many people are getting enough of, but it’s a bit more common to find fiber in foods. Brazil nuts are among the foods that have plenty of fiber that can help you to regulate your digestive system. This will allow you to get rid of some of the discomforts such as diarrhea and constipation, while even being able to help prevent serious diseases such as colon cancer.
Summing it Up
There are some people in the health community that aren’t too fond of Brazil nuts, and it mainly has to do with the selenium content. Since this is a mineral that some people don’t eat at all, it can cause some weird effects at first. Overall, having too much selenium in your system could lead to toxicity, mainly with digestive issues. If you aren’t eating Brazil nuts every day, it’s very unlikely that you would encounter this problem.
Of course, the biggest complaint that people have with Brazil nuts is the high calorie content, which could lead to fast weight gain if you don’t eat the right portions. Holding yourself to just a couple of small servings per week should do the trick to get you the health benefits without the added pounds. Overall, the positives of Brazil nuts far outweigh the negatives if you’re carefully planning your diet on a daily basis. Always watch the nutrition labels for anything your eating, and you should be feeling healthier each day!