Health & Wellness, Nutrition

5 Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts

If you’ve been following along the past several months, you know that I’ve been profiling the nutritional power of several foods. And, today, you’re going to be blown away by the health benefits of Brazil nuts.

If you’re not familiar with this nutritional powerhouse, you’re in for a treat! Not only are they delicious, but the many health benefits of Brazil nuts are due to the fact that they’re packed with nutrients.

Let’s learn a bit more about these powerful nuts and what all they can do to help you reach your health goals!

 

All About Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts come from trees located in the Amazon. With a smooth taste that’s enjoyed both raw or cooked in foods, Brazil nuts are one of the richest food sources of selenium. A single ounce of Brazil nuts (about six to eight nuts) contain 544 mcg per serving.

Believe it or not, that’s almost 10 times the minimum amount the average adult needs each day! And, as a result, many scientists are now considering Brazil nuts to be a viable alternative to selenium supplements. [1, 2]

In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts are rich in magnesium, copper, and zinc. As you may recall, magnesium is an essential mineral because it’s required for more than 800 different essential roles within your body. Meanwhile, zinc is critical for optimal immune health.

Brazil nuts also provide a lot of protein, which helps to support your metabolism and muscle building.

So, now that you know a little more about this powerful nut, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific health benefits of Brazil nuts.

5 Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts

Eating just six to eight Brazil nuts a day can support fertility, immune function, thyroid function, and even fight inflammation! Intrigued? Keep reading to learn more about the incredible health benefits of brazil nuts.

 

Health benefits of Brazil nuts - Dr. Pingel

 

1. Supports immune health

When it comes to the health benefits of Brazil nuts, one major benefit worth mentioning is how they support the immune system. And this is all thanks to their high selenium content.

Studies have shown that selenium supports the immune system’s barriers, which are responsible for fighting infections and keeping them from entering the body. Meanwhile a selenium deficiency impairs their function. [3]

Additionally, having a selenium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of contracting viral illnesses, such as colds and the flu.

And, speaking of respiratory effects, studies have also shown that being deficient in selenium results in greater lung problems in those with the flu. [4]

2. Boosts fertility

Another one of the health benefits of Brazil nuts is their ability to boost fertility. Once again, this is due to the high amounts of selenium found in these beneficial nuts.

Many studies have noted a link between selenium and increased likelihood of infertility, miscarriage, preeclampsia, preterm labor, gestational diabetes, and more. [5]

Additionally, a 2015 study revealed that healthy ovarian follicles have higher levels of selenium than unhealthy follicles. [6]

Meanwhile, another study revealed that supplementing with both selenium and vitamin E not only improved overall semen quality but also sperm motility, specifically. [7]

3. Supports thyroid health

If you’re currently dealing with a thyroid disorder, you’re going to want to pay attention to this piece of good news: One of the major health benefits of Brazil nuts is that they support thyroid health.

Interestingly, studies have revealed that low selenium levels significantly increase the risk of developing thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s, and an enlarged thyroid. [8]

Given this information, it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that consuming adequate amounts of selenium will benefit your thyroid health. After all, in comparison to your other organs, your thyroid gland contains the highest amount of selenium per gram of tissue. [9]

The selenium in Brazil nuts supports your thyroid health in a few ways. First, studies have shown that supplementing with selenium can reduce thyroid antibody levels, improve thyroid ultrasound features, and even improve quality of life in people with autoimmune thyroiditis. [10]

Second, a 2011 study revealed that selenium also lowers the risk of thyroid enlargement. [11] Taking these two revealing studies into consideration, it’s clear that consuming Brazil nuts on a regular basis supports thyroid function and health.

4. Contains anti-inflammatory properties

As we’ve discussed many times, most (if not all) of our modern epidemics can be traced back to chronic inflammation. Fortunately, one of the incredible health benefits of Brazil nuts is that they contain anti-inflammatory properties.

According to a randomized crossover study on 10 health people, eating either 20 or 50 grams of Brazil nuts in one sitting caused a significant decrease in several inflammatory markers. But that’s not all!

The researchers also found that the one-time consumption of Brazil nuts significantly increased levels of interleukin-10, a powerful anti-inflammatory cytokine! [12]

This means Brazil nuts can help your body fight off inflammation in multiple ways. How fantastic is that?

5. Supports brain health

Finally, one of the important health benefits of Brazil nuts is that they support brain health.

Specifically, researchers have found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have lower levels of selenium than those who don’t have the disease. [13]

Additionally, large studies have found that people with lower plasma selenium levels were more likely to experience cognitive decline as they age. [14]

These results are likely due to the fact that selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect the brain from oxidative stress. [15]

 

Key Takeaways

  • A single ounce of Brazil nuts (about six to eight nuts) contain 544 mcg of selenium per serving. That’s almost 10 times the minimum amount the average adult needs each day!
  • Brazil nuts are also rich in other minerals, making them a great grab-and-go snack, since they’re commonly eaten raw. You can also include them in cooked dishes.
  • Five of the top health benefits of Brazil nuts include: supporting immune health, boosting fertility, supporting thyroid health, containing anti-inflammatory properties, and supporting brain health.

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