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Brazil nuts are delicious and tasty treats, packed with amazing health benefits. They provide high amounts of beneficial nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly and protect itself against diseases.
Some of the amazing health benefits of Brazil nuts include their ability to help stimulate growth and repair, improve the digestive process, boost heart health, balance hormone function, improve the immune system, boost male fertility, help with weight loss, aid in skin health and reduce the signs of aging. Brazil nuts have even been reported to help lower the risk of cancer.
That's why this relatively modest nut from the Amazon has quickly made it onto many lists of super foods. It's also why you should consider including it in your diet plan, but only in limited amounts as you will see in the next paragraph!
Brazil nuts are incredibly calorie dense at around 26 calories per nut (a 100g serving provides a total of 656 calories). They are 14% protein, 12% carbohydrate, and 66% fat by weight. 85% of their calories come from fat. The fat components are 23% saturated, 38% monounsaturated, and 32% polyunsaturated. Keep in mind that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats!
Monounsaturated fats raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Polyunsaturated encompasses omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are essential fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them, so we have to get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats can help lower your total cholesterol level.
Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content shelled Brazil nuts may quickly become rancid, so it's a good idea to keep your Brazil nuts in an airtight container and keep them in your fridge.
Brazil nuts are probably nature's most excellent source of selenium. The body cannot produce selenium by itself, so it must be obtained through food and water.
One Brazil nut provides 100% of the daily value for selenium, while one ounce (28g) contains as much as 536mg of this nutrient which is about 766% of the daily value. This is another reason to not snack away on Brazil nuts all day long, but limit your daily intake to a few nuts.
Although selenium is not an antioxidant, selenium still plays an important role in the antioxidant defense system of the human body. It boosts the activity of antioxidants as their functionality greatly depends on the presence of selenium.
Here are some important selenium benefits:
- Selenium helps fight free radicals and boosts the immune system.
- Selenium is essential to thyroid gland function.
- It has been reported that selenium can aid in protection again certain forms of cancer.
- Selenium prevents blood clotting and helps protect from heart diseases.
- Selenium is known as a testosterone booster and testosterone improves sperm quality, libido (sex drive) and stimulates muscle protein synthesis resulting in increased muscle mass.
Brazilian nuts contain a small amount of saturated fats and high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
They are particularly rich in palmitoleic acid and oleic acid, which help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels in the blood. These monounsaturated fats are therefore very useful in preventing coronary heart diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Brazil nuts also contain good amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which also protect against heart diseases.
However to keep your daily calorie intake under control you should only consume a small amount of Brazil nuts per day. Remember there are 656 calories in a 100g serving of Brazil nuts!
Brazil nuts are a good source of complete proteins. They provide all of the essential amino acids needed for human growth and development and required for muscle tissue repair.
Another great health benefit comes from their high levels of an important amino acid known as methionine. Methionine plays an essential role in the prevention of chronic illnesses, as well as in fending off premature aging symptoms and signs.
Besides selenium, Brazil nuts contain high amounts of other important minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
These minerals enhance a wide range of bodily functions, while strengthening the immune system and promoting good health.
Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E and B-complex group vitamins, especially thiamin.
One ounce (28g) contains 0.17mg of thiamin and provides 11% of the recommended daily value of this essential nutrient. Thiamin helps keep the nervous system healthy and is important for energy metabolism and heart health.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that maintains the integrity of cell membranes and protects skin from free radical damage.
In conclusion, while Brazil nuts are very calorie dense, they are also extremely rich in essential nutrients and you should consider including this amazing Amazon nut in your diet plan.