1. High Selenium Content
The greatest health benefit of Brazil nuts lies in their high selenium content, and this is what makes them so special. One single kernel provides 100% of the daily value for selenium, while 1 ounce contains as much as 536.8 mg of this nutrient, meaning 766% of the DV!
The body cannot produce selenium by itself, so it must be obtained through food and water.
Although not being an antioxidant, selenium plays an important role in the antioxidant defense system of the human body. It boosts the activity of antioxidants, for their functionality greatly depends on the presence of selenium. Selenium is an essential component of two important antioxidant enzymes, known as glutathione peroxidise and thioredoxin reductase, and it also increases the vitamin E function in the body.
High levels of selenium in Brazil nuts are therefore associated with many health benefits. Listed below are some of the most important ones.
- Selenium helps fight free radicals and boosts the immune system. It encourages the production of glutathione, the most important antioxidant enzyme that defends our body against free radical damage.
- Selenium is essential to thyroid gland function.
- Selenium aids in protection against breast and prostate cancer, as well as other forms of cancer
- Selenium prevents blood clotting and helps protect from heart diseases.
2. Contains Unsaturated Fats and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Brazilian nuts contain a small amount of saturated fats and very high levels of monounsaturated fats. They provide 18.8 grams of total fat, of which 25% are saturated fats, 41% are monounsaturated, and 34% are polyunsaturated.
- 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 contain also good amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which also protect against heart diseases.
These delicious nuts are however very fattening and you should consume only one serving per day, in order to keep the daily calorie intake under control and maintain proper weight.
3. Complete Protein
Brazil nuts are good sources of complete proteins, meaning that they provide all of the essential amino acids needed for human growth and development, and required for muscle tissue repair.
Another great Brazil nuts health benefit comes from their high levels of an important amino acid know as methionine. Methionine plays an essential role in the prevention of chronic illnesses, as well as in fending off premature aging symptoms and signs.
4. Important Minerals
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.
5. Vitamin E and B-complex Group Vitamins
Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E and B-complex group vitamins, especially thiamin, or vitamin B1. 1 ounce (6 to 8 nuts) 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. If you want to learn more about this superb vitamin, read Health Benefits of Vitamin E!
In conclusion, although a little fattening, Brazil nuts are an extremely nutritive and healthy plant food! Please, share your Brazil nuts tips with us and other readers in the comment section below. We’d love to hear about them!