Whether you love to add them to your salads, morning muesli, or dessert, Brazil nuts are delicious and incredibly healthy nuts that should be present in your diet.
Thanks to their rich nutritional profile, they have unique benefits that you should not miss out on.
However, like other nuts, it is essential to eat Brazil nuts in moderation.
Introducing Brazil nuts into your diet can yield many benefits that you should not miss out on.
However, you should only eat Brazil nuts in moderation to reap all of their benefits, so let’s keep going to discover the right quantities and ways to prepare these nuts below.
What Are Brazil Nuts?
Brazil nuts come from the Brazil nut tree, which is native to certain South American regions and considered one of the longest-lived trees and largest species in the Amazon rainforest.
The tree’s edible seeds—the Brazil nuts—are commercially harvested, and have become a staple in diets around the world.
While technically, the Brazil nut is a seed rather than a nut, it is often sold as part of nut mixes and can be used as a nut in cooking.
Brazil nuts offer some unparalleled health benefits, thanks to their unique nutritional profile.
They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and selenium.
Thanks to these nutrients, Brazil nuts play a crucial role in protecting heart health, improving brain function, and providing your body with the antioxidants needed to fight back stress damage and free radicals.
They have a dense and creamy texture and have become essential foods for those who follow a vegan, plant-based, or paleo diet.
You can find out more about the benefits of Brazil nuts in the video below:
How To Introduce Brazil Nuts To Your Diet
Brazil nuts are among the best nuts to introduce to your diet, as they are highly nutrient-dense, and can yield significant health benefits.
However, Brazil nuts also have some considerable disadvantages to consider.
Most of the health benefits of Brazil nuts derive from the selenium content in these nuts, which is an essential antioxidant that plays an irreplaceable role in maintaining your immune system.
As an antioxidant, selenium’s role is to fight oxidative stress and the damage that free radicals cause to cells.
When this oxidative stress is minimized, you’ll experience a decrease in inflammation and chronic diseases such as arthritis and cancer.
However, in large quantities, selenium can also be a toxic and highly damaging substance for our well-being.
The recommended daily dose of selenium is 55mcg for adults and 20-40mcg for children.
However, each Brazil nut contains between 68 and 91mcg of selenium.
Therefore, just one nut is enough to cover selenium’s daily requirements—and even exceed that dose.
Keep in mind that Selenium’s amount in Brazil nuts varies from a nut to another, which is often connected to the minerals present in the soil where the tree is grown.
Because of all these variables, nutritionists agree that you should limit Brazil nuts’ average consumption to one to three nuts per day.
How Much Selenium in 5 Brazil Nuts?
According to the NIH Fact Sheet for Consumers about Selenium, one Brazil nut can contain between 68 and 91mcg per nut.
These values are among the highest ones in most ingredients, so you can quickly end up consuming much more selenium than you should when snacking on Brazil nuts.
As you have seen already, you should limit Brazil nuts’ daily consumption to one to three nuts.
Indeed, five Brazil nuts will contain between 340 to 455 micrograms of selenium, which is almost ten times higher than the recommended intake.
This value can change from person to person.
For example, men who want to reduce their risk of prostate cancer might consume up to 100mcg of selenium per day.
The recommended intakes for the following age and sex groups are:
|Birth to 6 months||15mcg|
|Teenagers and adults (14+)||55mcg|
Some of the milder side effects of consuming too much selenium might be visible immediately, including digestion issues and nausea.
However, some of the most severe side effects of this substance appear when consuming too many for prolonged periods.
Generally, anything above 400mcg of selenium in one serving is considered an overdose, which might require the intervention of a doctor.
Eating just five Brazil nuts can cause a mild overdose of selenium.
How Much Zinc in Brazil Nuts?
Zinc is another essential component of Brazil nuts’ nutritional profile, as it is a crucial nutrient for your body because it strengthens and protects the immune system, as well as ensures proper metabolism function.
Without zinc, your sense of taste and smell, as well as wound healing, might be compromised.
It is naturally found in fortified breakfast cereals, chicken, and beef.
It is possible to obtain all the zinc your body needs through a healthy and balanced diet.
However, if you have embraced a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet, it is crucial to find alternative foods to cover your daily need for zinc.
One of the best foods to introduce to your diet to obtain zinc from natural and plant-based sources is Brazil nuts.
Aside from being a source of protein, healthy fat, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, each Brazil nut contains around 0.2 mg of zinc or 10.5% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
How Many Brazil Nuts Have Radiation Poisoning?
Another characteristic of Brazil nuts that you should be aware of is their radioactivity potential.
As explained by EPA, radioactivity in food does not always happen because of pollution or human-caused incidents.
Indeed, this radioactivity can occur due to:
- The plant’s root uptaking radionuclides from the soil.
- Deposition of radioactive particles on the crop.
- Bioaccumulation of radionuclides due to animals that have ingested food or water compromised by radioactive material.
In the case of Brazil nuts, their radioactivity level depends on the root system’s activity.
Since Brazil nut trees are large trees that live a long time, their root system is the deepest and most expansive of all trees which uptakes and filter nutrients and water from more significant quantities of deeper soil.
A Brazil nut tree will use many more minerals than an average tree, which is why there are high amounts of selenium in Brazil nuts.
However, other substances are found in the soil alongside beneficial minerals, such as radium, which is a source of radiation that is then transferred from the roots to the plant and, ultimately, to the seeds.
Because of this characteristic, the radiation level in Brazil nuts is around 1000 times higher than found in other typical foods.
However, Brazil nuts—and their production—is strictly monitored by EPA and other governmental bodies, so you can eat them safely by sticking to the official guidelines.
What Happens if You Eat Too Many Brazil Nuts?
While Brazil nuts can be highly beneficial for your health, you should restrict their consumption to one to three nuts per day to avoid the side effects of ingesting too much selenium or radium particles.
When eaten in large quantities and for an extended period, Brazil nuts can cause several adverse symptoms, including:
- Gastrointestinal and digestive problems
- Dizziness and nausea
- Skin issues such as rashes and lesions
- Hair loss and brittle nails
- Issues related to the nervous system
- Joint pain and muscle soreness
- Fatigue and irritability
An overdose of selenium can also cause severe side effects, including:
- Heart attack and failure
- Kidney failure
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Selenium toxicity can be fatal (in extremely rare cases)
Because of these side effects and symptoms, you should stick to eating a few nuts per day to avoid selenium overdoses.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that each nut’s selenium content varies depending on where and how the plant was grown.
Another significant side effect of eating too many Brazil nuts is their high content of calories and fats.
If you are trying to lose weight, Brazil nuts can satisfy your appetite.
However, too many Brazil nuts can easily cause you to consume more calories than you need to lose weight.
Brazil nuts are highly beneficial nuts that give you considerable health benefits.
However, you should consume around one to three Brazil nuts to ensure that you are protected against their side effects.
Due to their high content of selenium, they can cause severe side effects, including nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and respiratory syndromes.
Brazil nuts can also cause allergic reactions in individuals with a nut allergy.
If you wish to introduce these nuts into your diet but are unsure about the best way to do so, you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist.