Friday, December 6, 2013

What Are Brazil Nuts?

Brazil Nuts are a medium sized nut that grow in the Amazon Rainforest.  The trees in which they grow can live over 500 to 1,000 years.  They come roasted or salted, but raw is best.  Brazil Nuts are 18% protein, 13% carbohydrates, and 69% fat by weight. 91% of their calories come from fat. The fat breakdown is roughly 25% saturated, 41% monounsaturated, and 34% polyunsaturated.  "Despite their high calorie content, eating nuts and seeds regularly is actually associated with lower body weight, possibly due to appetite-suppression from healthy fats."

These nuts are a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium.

“Selenium is a trace mineral that has an essential role in ensuring good brain health, particularly as an anti-oxidant. Studies have found that depleted levels of selenium result in poor memory, bad moods, and decreased cognitive function, while increasing selenium improves mood, clarity of thinking, and energy levels.  

Selenium plays an important role in:

  • Thyroid Function
  • Anti-oxidant Activity
  • Heavy Metal Detoxification
  • Infection-fighting
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Mental Health
  • Preserving Cognitive Function
  • Proper Immune System Function 

Selenium is available in grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and animals.  Fruits and vegetables, however, on't seem to have that much.  However, Brazil Nuts are the richest food-based source of Selenium. 

Daily Recommended Allowance (RDA)
One ounce of Brazil Nuts (6-8 nuts) contains 544 micrograms of Selenium or 777% of the recommended daily allowance, making Brazil Nuts the richest source of food-based Selenium.  To get the RDA of 55 mcg, strive to consume 2-3 Brazil Nuts every day. 

More Is Not Better
Do not over consume Brazil Nuts (400 mcg a day) as this can lead to toxicity issues.  “Early indicators of excess intake are a garlic odor in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth. The most common clinical signs of chronically high selenium intakes, or selenosis, are hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms include lesions of the skin and nervous system, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, mottled teeth, fatigue, irritability, and nervous system abnormalities.”   “Acute selenium toxicity can cause severe gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, hair loss, muscle tenderness, tremors, lightheadedness, facial flushing, kidney failure, cardiac failure, and, in rare cases, death.”  “Selenium toxicity caused by a supplement can actually contribute to nerve damage, according to Texas Tech University.”

The high polyunsaturated fat content, primarily omega-6 fatty acids, in shelled Brazil nuts causes these nuts to become rancid quickly, so it's best to store in the fridge.

Keep It Healthy!


No comments:

Post a Comment