Brazil nuts contain high levels of the mineral selenium. Selenium is a micronutrient essential to a number of processes in your body. Most NZ soils are deficient in selenium so supplementation is needed. The best way to supplement is with a whole food rather than a manufactured tablet!
What selenium does:
- Selenium assists thyroid function. Healthy thyroid = healthy metabolism.
- Selenium’s antioxidant properties improve the functions of vitamins E & C.
- Selenium helps to strengthen the immune system to help protect the body against bacterial and viral infections.
- Selenium assists in maintaining a healthy cholesterol ratio by raising your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Selenium helps in the production of antioxidants which fight against free radicals that damage cells.
Other Health benefits of brazil nuts:
- Brazil nuts are a good, natural source of magnesium.
- Brazil nuts contain a good source of vitamin E. This is required for the development of red blood cells. Vitamin E can also help boost the immune system.
- Brazil nuts have a high content of zinc, which is good for fighting off acne and clearing blemished skin naturally.
- The fibre content in brazil nuts makes them great for a healthy digestive system. Fibre promotes peristaltic motion in the digestive tract, extracting as many nutrients as possible. This can increase energy levels and assist in weight loss as it helps keep your digestive system clean. It also aids in the prevention of such illnesses as constipation, gastric ulcers, bloating and more serious conditions such as bowel cancer!
How many brazil nuts should you eat:
Eating too many brazil nuts can lead to selenium toxicity. Side effects include nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, nail discolouration, nail brittleness, fatigue, and hair loss. You many also have garlicky smelling breath.
It is recommended to eat only 2 – 4 nuts per day. As my diet is quite varied and I can get selenium from other foods I have chosen to supplement my diet with 1 – 2 nuts per day.
This is well within the daily requirements of selenium and there is no risk of an overdose. Plus, 1 – 2 nuts per day is cheaper than 4!
How to store brazil nuts:
Here are some tips on storing brazil nuts:
- Store in a cool dry area. If taking them from the packaging it is preferable to store them in an airtight glass container. This also prevents them from absorbing other food odours.
- Brazil nuts can be stored in the pantry for 2 – 4 weeks without spoiling, the refrigerator for approximately 9 months, or the freezer for approximately 1 year.
- Brazil nuts can go rancid if not stored properly. If they develop a bitter, unpleasant taste or smell off, throw them out.
Where to buy Brazil nuts:
Your local supermarket should have small packets. I picked up a bag, 175g (52 nuts) for $6.19.
Your local organic or health food store should also stock these. Here you might be able to get them in the quantity you require.
The Natural Grocer also sells organic brazil nuts, $6.99 for 200grams.
Other interesting facts:
- Brazil nuts are free from the gluten protein.
- Brazil nuts come from a coconut like shell. Each shell contains 15 – 25 nuts.
- Selenium has been proven to lift moods and help dispel the onset of depression.
- Brazil nut trees grow to about 50 metres in height and the trunk measures 1 – 2 metres in diameter. They live for around 500 years.
- In Brazil it is illegal to cut down a brazil nut tree.
**Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for your general information. It is not a substitute for medical advice from a qualified medical practitioner.**