There are many Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts to expect once you consume it routinely in daily basis. Some sources even go as far as claiming that 30 grams of these nuts are enough to supply your body with required vitamins and minerals, especially selenium. Hence, Brazil nuts are a great source of ingredients important for your body to function properly. Botanically speaking, ‘nuts’ is a misnomer in this case.
A nut is technically a fruit consisted of seeds contained within hard shell. To be categorized as a nut, a fruit should not have an opening to disperse its seeds; instead, dispersion relies on predation or decay—a feat that Brazil nuts lack of. Per this definition, therefore, Brazil nuts are technically seeds, while some prefer calling them kernels.
But we are not here to talk about discrepancy in terminology. Technicality in naming the seeds should be left out when we are talking about the benefits of Brazil nuts. Instead, we should take a deeper look at this super-food to uncover what it has to offer you, in terms of its ability to improve your health.
As such, it is then important that you know the nuts’ rich background before delving into their nutritional makeup. This is important; you need to be thoroughly informed as to what you are taking in daily basis so you can derive benefits from Brazil nuts to the fullest extent. And what other way is better to kick off your quest to understanding them than learning about the nut’s basics, right?
Brazil nuts are scientifically referred to as Bertholettiaexcelsa. The plant is in the family of Lecythidaceae while its order is Ericales—the same order that also contains persimmons, phlox, gooseberries, tea, gutta-percha, sapote, cranberries, and blueberries. It is the sole plant in the genus Bertholletia and is native to eastern parts of Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Guianas. Its genus name is derived after Claude Louis Berthollet, a French Chemist who discovered use of sodium hypochlorite as bleaching agent.
The tree of this plant is tall and large and its lifespan can reach 500 years but some sources claim there are some that can live up to 1,000 years. The health benefits of Brazil nutslead to mass cultivation of the plant’s seed.A Brazil nut tree is off limits for cutting down in Brazil. The cutting down of this tree is made illegal so much so that the plant can be found growing in someone’s backyard or even around busy streets and roads. The trees’ fruits—which contain the nuts—are heavy.
They are so rigid that they cause danger for either people or cars that pass around their area. They also sink easily in water, which may clock the water flow. In an attempt to broaden cultivation, Brazil nut trees have been grown in plantation. However, outcomes are not satisfying in economic sense and severely low in production. Hence, to keep up rising demands due to wider understanding about brazil nuts benefits, plantation-grown commodities are currently not reliable.
Cultivation to derive Health Benefits of Brazil nuts starts once the fruit reaches maturity. The fruits mature after 14 months following pollination. They are in the shape of large capsules that look like coconut. The fruits feature a hard shell while the seeds inside each of them are triangular in shape, all arranged in the same formation as orange’s segmented composition.
One of the fruit shell’s ends has an opening on it. Rodents of small size can easily sneak through this opening by gnawing it. The rodents will enter the capsule and eat parts of the seeds inside while keeping some others underneath the soil. In fact, this is the most common way for the Brazil nuts to propagate itself. The many benefits of Brazil nutsare contained within these seeds.
Decades before the Health Benefits of Brazil nuts become something that people are looking for, however, the nuts were of somewhat controversial subject for its name. Especially in North America, Brazil nuts was named “nigger toes”. The term has been abandoned due to its racial connotation in the ‘60s. The nuts are also known by other names, including “chestnuts of Brazil”, “castania”, and “para-nuts”.
In addition, though known colloquially as Brazil nuts, the country is not the biggest exporter of the nuts. Instead, Bolivia is—Bolivia makes up about 50% of the annual 20,000 tons production of Brazil nuts. Increase in demands for Brazil nuts, however, has led to their availability being threatened. This is condition that has been made even worse due in large part to the fact that growing the plant in plantation is not a fruitful attempt.
International trades for this commodity is conducted by the use of nuts that are collected in the wild. Moderate to intense seeds collection has delivered environmental impact that may pose a threat to international trades; too many seeds are collected so there is virtually no chance in replacing old trees when they stop producing fruits.
Research has been conducted over the years to analyze the lack of younger trees growing in harvesting areas and results are consistently showing that there are no other factors affecting the decrease in younger trees’ growth. Brazil nuts are so rich in nutritional compositions that they are often sought after but the hunt for brazil nuts benefits may also be the cause of its scarcity in the future—especially if there are not real prevention being placed.
Even though the Health Benefits of Brazil nuts are abundant, they are also exceptionally high in calories. As much as 85% of total calorie count in Brazil nuts is attributed to its fat contents. A 100 gram of Brazil nuts contains 656 calories. As much as 23% of the fats the nuts contain are of saturated type, 38% is of monounsaturated, while 32% of them are of polyunsaturated. Omega-6 fatty acids, which are of polyunsaturated fat type, are the reason why the nuts turns rancid so quickly after their shell is removed.
As such, as beneficial and delicious as the nuts might be for you, moderation should always be kept in mind when consuming them. Plenty of nutrients can be found in Brazil nuts, too.Many benefits of Brazil nuts come from its high selenium content. A serving of 6 nuts (totaling to 28 gram in weight) contains 774% of recommended daily selenium intake—which is 10 times higher than what is advised.
In addition, the nuts are rich in dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Per 100 g, the nuts contains 54% of Daily Value (DV) for thiamin, 38% DV for vitamin E, 106% DV for magnesium, 104% DV of phosphorus, 57% DV of manganese, and 43% DV of zinc. Import of Brazil nuts in their shells from Brazil, however, has been strictly regulated in European Union. The reason behind this is attributed to the nuts’ shells having a significant amount of aflatoxins, which may trigger liver cancer.
The benefits of Brazil nuts are also present even when the nuts are processed into oil. In this form, you will be served with a substance that is composed of 75% unsaturated fatty acids, which are linoleic and oleic acids, in addition to vitamin E, beta-sitosterol, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, and phytosterol. Oil made of Brazil nut is widely used in food preparation.
However, its use is not only limited to nutritional consumption. The oil can be used to lubricate clocks, be mixed into paints, and as additive in making cosmetics. The shell of the nuts are also beneficial; ground finely, they are used in polishing metals and ceramics.Now that you have learned above and beyond about them, it is time to learn specifically about brazil nuts benefits.
But before we do delve into discussion, keep in mind that moderation in consuming Brazil nuts is utterly important. The nuts’ high concentration of saturated fat and calories may be more detrimental than beneficial if you are already affected by heart diseases or other vascular conditions. On this note, Brazil nuts can still help with cardiovascular disease but more as a prevention rather than cure. And if you are a person with allergy toward nuts, you might also suffer from an attack when consuming Brazil nuts. Selenium can also be source of problems if taken in excess. Selenium poisoning of high severity can manifest in cirrhosis, pulmonary edema, and even death.
The recommended amount per consumption is limited to two nuts per day. This is enough for you to derive Health Benefits of Brazil nuts and cover your daily needs of vitamins, minerals, and good fats. In general, Brazil nuts can slow down aging process, improve skin health, be used to aid in weight loss, elevate fertility for men, cause a decrease of cancer risk, boost immune system, keep hormonal functions in check, maintain heart and blood vessels health, promote good digestion, and regulate bodily growth and repair.
With benefits that much, it is no wonder that you may feel the need to over-consume. Again, moderation is the key component in getting the most out of Brazil nuts. Also, if you are living in a place where the climate is humid and hot, refrigerating the nuts may help stop them from going rancid quickly.
The many brazil nut benefits mentioned above can be boiled down to nine major points. Let’s talk about their high selenium counts. Selenium boosts testosterone production. It also plays a role in improving sperm counts and their motility.
The Health Benefits of Brazil nuts can also be felt through their high level of unsaturated fats. Oleic and palmitoleic acids present in the nuts contribute to balancing cholesterol in your body. They are exceptionally good at cleansing omega-6 fatty acids off the body. As a result, you can expect preventing your body from developing atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks.
The brazil nuts benefits can also be experienced on the skin. Selenium once again plays a role in this as it boosts skin’s elasticity and prevents premature aging in the process. Selenium activates the excretion of glutathione, which is important in flushing free radicals—which causes wrinkles and skin cancer—off the system.
As an extension of the Health Benefits of Brazil nuts for the skin, the nuts are surprisingly good at fighting off acnes. Zinc is present in abundance in Brazil nuts as well as antioxidants and vitamins. These are materials needed by the skin to protect itself against acnes.
Brazil nuts are also exceptionally rich in dietary fiber, making it a suitable choice for those who wish to shed some weight. Combined with sufficient carbohydrate contents, you can enjoy the full extension of brazil nuts benefits. Their complete nutritional profile makes for good food supplement so you can avoid snacking excessively.
Fiber in Brazil nuts also helps with bowel movement and this is one of Health Benefits of Brazil nuts you can rely on to prevent serious digestive diseases from ever developing. Brazil nuts eliminate stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, and gastric ulcers. Also, by having good bowel movement, you can avoid contracting colon cancer.
Your thyroid gland will thank you for deriving brazil nuts benefits. Some of the most important hormones necessary in running bodily functions are coming from this gland. Selenium maintains thyroid gland’s proper function to produce, distribute, and regulate those hormones.
Vitamin C works very well alongside the likes of zinc and selenium. Together they will boost the production of white blood cells and antioxidants will spread throughout your body, neutralizing each and every free radical they come upon. Selenium serves as one of the sources of Health Benefits of Brazil nuts by activating glutathione, the enzyme responsible for catching all the free radicals.
Last in the short list of brazil nuts benefits is their ability to provide the body with the kinds of protein it needs to repair cellular damage and conduct cellular growth. Their vitamin C is also helpful in collagen formation—which is one of the most important building blocks for many organs inside the body.