Despite its name, the Brazil nut is in fact the seed produced by the fruit of the Brazil nut tree. Native to Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and of course Brasil, its nut tree is one of the largest trees known to grow in the Amazon rainforest and it reaches an average height of 160ft (49m). Brazil nuts are quickly becoming a hot health food trend, and for good reason. They contain a whole range of nutrients that can have many benefits to our health. Want to know more about why you should be going nuts for these nuts? Keep reading to find out our Top 5 Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts!
Selenium is a powerful nutrient known for its antioxidant properties. It can be found in many foods such as whole grains, seeds and green vegetables, however Brazil nuts are the highest naturally occurring source of dietary selenium on the planet. Selenium contributes to the normal function of both the immune and reproductive systems and 1-2 of these nuts will supply you with the recommended daily dose.
2. Boosts your metabolism
Brazil nuts can also supply the human body with the levels of selenium needed to keep triiodothyronine, or T3, hormone circulating around the body. This hormone produced in the thyroid gland and is essential to many of the body’s natural physical processes, including the regulation of a healthy metabolism. A healthy functioning metabolism can help to prevent unhealthy weight gain or loss.
3. Vitamin E
They are also a great source of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to maintain a healthy skin and also helps to strengthen the immune system. Not only that, but it plays a key role in keeping a natural balance of hormones within the body and this can help to reduce the pain and cramping associated with PMS and regulate the menstrual cycle.
4. Healthy cholesterol
The majority of calories in a Brazil nut come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These ‘healthy’ fats help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also known as “bad cholesterol” levels, and maintain levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) aka “good cholesterol”. Aim to eat 2-3 portions of healthy fats per day.
5. Healthy skin
Brazil nuts contain a high concentration of the mineral zinc. Zinc is important as it contributes to the prevention of acne and can help fight blemishes, promoting healthy, spot-free skin. Brazil nuts are also a great source of antioxidants, which fight free radicals in the body thus preventing damage of skin cells.
The best way to consume Brazil nuts is in their raw state, as cooking or being subjected to any form of direct heat will cause the nuts to lose some of their nutritional value. Brazil nuts can be used in baking, blended up in smoothies and even chopped up and sprinkled on top of porridge to make an easy, nutritious breakfast. However it is important to keep your daily consumption of Brazil nuts to a minimum as they are high in fat, and can lead to selenium toxicity if eaten in excessively large quantities. Nuts about these powerhouse nuts? Tell us below or @ KeepfitKingdom !