Of all the nuts, I love Brazil nuts the most. I eat about 3 to 4 pieces of Brazil nuts every morning. I am nuts over these nuts!
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.
Additional Nutritional Benefits
A 1-ounce serving of Brazil nuts contain 27 percent the RDA for magnesium which helps with the functioning of muscles, the production of protein and absorption of energy from food. They also offer 25 percent of the RDA for copper which can help the body use iron, maintain bone and connective tissue health, promote thyroid function, support the production of melanin and protect and repair tissues. With 20 percent of the RDA for phosphorous, Brazil nuts also support bone and teeth health. Brazil nuts also provide manganese, zinc, vitamin E, potassium and riboflavin.
The high fat content of Brazil nuts means they go rancid easily. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their freshness. Regularly eating multiple servings of Brazil nuts may cause negative health effects. The CIDPUSA Foundation notes that more than 10 times the RDA of selenium can cause brittle hair and fingernails, stimulate skin rashes, affect the nervous system, make you feel fatigued and disrupt digestion causing diarrhea. Remember, moderation is the key.