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Brazil nuts are a nutrient-dense and delicious type of nut that comes from a tree in South America that bears the same name. As one of the healthiest nuts on the market, despite its high fat content, there is a huge demand for these delicious brown nuts. With an impressive mineral and vitamin profile, not to mention essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber, Brazil nuts are a ‘complete package’ type of food, particularly due to its unusually high selenium content. Discover more below.
One of the most controversial and beneficial aspects of Brazil nuts is their surprisingly high content of healthy unsaturated fats, otherwise known as ‘good’ forms of cholesterol or omega-3 fatty acids. These varieties of unsaturated fats have been connected with balancing the cholesterol profile of the body and improving general heart health, mainly by eliminating dangerous omega-6 fatty acids from the body and cardiovascular system. This health cholesterol balance can help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. However, brazil nuts still contain the highest content of dangerous saturated fats, so be careful not to overdo, as Brazil nuts are also high in calories.
The comprehensive profile of vitamins and nutrients in Brazil nuts make it particularly good for protecting skin health. The selenium in Brazil nuts, which is often the most praised aspect of this nut, is great for giving the skin a healthy glow and improves the elasticity of the skin, thereby preventing premature aging. This is possible because selenium stimulates the activity of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant compound that can remove free radicals from the skin cells that cause wrinkles and even skin cancer.
Although this falls under the category of ‘skin health’, the high zinc content in Brazil nuts has been shown to protect against acne or lessen its appearance. This can be achieved through normal consumption of the nuts or by application of Brazil nut oil on the affected area. The rich vitamin and antioxidant content of the oil is the main cause behind this protective quality.
The high fiber concentration, overall nutrient density, proteins, and complex carbohydrates that are in each and every Brazil nut makes it quite filling, meaning that you are less inclined to snack incessantly and tack on those extra calories with unhealthy snacks. However, again, one ounce of Brazil nuts contains nearly 200 calories, so moderate consumption can really boost weight loss efforts.
The fiber content of Brazil nuts also makes them great for tuning up your digestive system. Fiber facilitates peristaltic motion in the gastrointestinal system, moving food through the body and extracting as many nutrients as possible. This can also help you prevent gastric ulcers, constipation, bloating, cramps, and more serious conditions like colon cancer.
Selenium plays a major role in the proper functioning of your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is where some of the most essential hormones in the body are produced, distributed, and regulated from. By ensuring proper functioning of your thyroid gland (and the production of thyroid itself) the high concentration of selenium will ensure that your bodily processes are maintained and your metabolism remains strong.
Any food that has such a high concentration of nutrients and minerals will be helpful for the immune system, but the antioxidants and organic compounds also present in this unassuming nut makes it a strong contender for one of the most immune-boosting nuts around. The vitamin C content couples wonderfully with selenium and zinc to stimulate the production of white blood cells and stimulating antioxidant compounds throughout the body to neutralize free radicals, thereby preventing many chronic illnesses, including cancer and coronary heart disease. As mentioned earlier, the glutathione enabled by the presence of selenium is an enzymatic antioxidant that eliminates free radicals in all parts of the body that cause cancer.
Brazil nuts can either be eaten in whole form or their essential oil can be extracted and used for more direct remedies. It is important to eat shelled Brazil nuts quickly, as the high content of fat makes these nut varieties go badly quite quickly. Despite this wide array of health benefits, Brazil nuts do have a high level of calories and saturated fat. Before making Brazil nuts a major part of your weekly diet, consult your health professional.
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