Are you looking to increase selenium levels and promote antioxidant activity in the body? Learn Brazil nuts nutrition facts and how this superfood can help.
Brazil nuts contain a significant amount of selenium, a trace element your body needs to function properly. Selenium acts as an antioxidant, which means it protects your cells from damage caused by exposure to toxins and other harmful substances. In 2008, researchers from New Zealand tried to determine if eating Brazil nuts would increase plasma selenium levels. Some study participants ate two Brazil nuts per day for twelve weeks. The researchers asked other participants to take a 100-microgram selenium supplement or a placebo daily. Plasma selenium concentration increased by 64.2 percent in the people who ate Brazil nuts and 61 percent in the people who took a selenium supplement. The Brazil nuts also helped enhance the activity of substances that act as antioxidants in the human body. The antioxidant effects of Brazil nuts are what make them a superfood.
Brazil Nut Health Benefits
The nutrients found in Brazil nuts make them a nutritional powerhouse capable of helping you protect your body from serious disease. These nuts are a good source of protein and contain several amino acids with important functions. One of these amino acids is arginine. Your body converts arginine to nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels and prevents blood from clotting. Brazil nuts are also a good source of fiber, with 2.5 g of fiber in a quarter-cup serving. Fiber keeps your digestive system healthy and plays a role in preventing heart disease. Eating Brazil nuts as part of a balanced diet can also help you control your cholesterol level. Researchers from Brazil found that eating three to five Brazil nuts per day reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol—known as “bad” cholesterol—in young obese people. For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015.
Brazil Nuts Nutrition for Healthy Bones, Hair, and Skin
When discussing Brazil nuts nutritional value, you shouldn’t gloss over the nut’s benefits for your bones, hair, and skin. Brazil nuts contain calcium, which is essential for building strong bones and teeth. They also contain magnesium, another mineral your body needs for bone health. The zinc found in Brazil nuts is especially helpful for your hair and skin. If you do not get enough zinc, you may develop acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, or other skin problems. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to hypothyroidism, which can cause severe hair loss. Dr. Oz recommends eating one or two Brazil nuts per day, and he even listed the nuts in his guide to super snacks that will give you the energy you need to handle a hectic schedule. Make Brazil nuts nutrition a priority so that you do not experience the undesirable side effects of mineral deficiency.
Raw Brazil Nuts Nutrition Facts
If you look at Brazil nuts nutrition data, you will notice the nuts contain several important nutrients. A quarter-cup serving has 218 calories, 4.8 g of protein, 4 g of carbohydrate, and 22 g of fat. In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts have iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. These nuts also contain small amounts of vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. Although the nuts are high in fat and calories, several research studies have shown that eating nuts helps with weight management. Joan Sabate of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health says nuts are not associated with a higher body mass index even though they are energy-dense foods. If you want to enjoy the nutrition of Brazil nuts without gaining weight, be sure to eat raw nuts instead of nuts that have been mixed with other high-fat, high-calorie ingredients.
How to Choose and Store Brazil Nuts
If possible, buy Brazil nuts when they are still in their shells. Shake each nut before adding it to your bag. If the shell rattles, the nut inside is likely to be rather small. Avoid these nuts in favor of nuts with shells that do not rattle. If you have to buy shelled Brazil nuts, check each nut carefully. Avoid discolored or shriveled nuts. Do not buy nuts with a musty odor, because this odor indicates the presence of mold. How long the Brazil nuts last depends on how you store them. If you keep them in your pantry, they will last two to four weeks. Refrigerated Brazil nuts are safe for up to nine months. If you freeze your Brazil nuts, they will last up to one year. Store your Brazil nuts in a cool, dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight.
Ways to Enjoy Brazil Nuts Nutrition
There are several ways to enjoy the benefits of Brazil nuts. Put several nuts in a bag for a nutritious snack you can eat anywhere. Mix these nuts with walnuts, cashews, and almonds to create a nutritious mix. Pair raw Brazil nuts with a banana or an orange for a big dose of selenium and potassium in one snack. Much like some people use coconuts to make milk and coconut oil some people use Brazil nuts to make milk and butter. To make three cups of milk, combine one cup of Brazil nuts, four pitted dates, four cups of water, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend all of the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Use the milk in smoothies, or pour it over a bowl of warm oatmeal. Make butter by putting four to six ounces of nuts in your food processor and letting it run for approximately ten minutes. Use the butter on raw vegetables, bananas, toast, and other foods.