Brazilian nuts pack a punch of health benefits and they are phenomenal fruits. From the health benefits to their rich history, their never ending uses and as an added advantage, it is extremely delicious.
Its benefits range from improving your skin (tone and texture), hair to improving your general body health thus helping your body function properly.
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- Health benefits of Brazilian nuts
- Hormone function
- Improves Heart health
- Useful in Acne Treatment
- Useful for the growth of healthy hair
- A useful tool for weight loss
- Facilitates easier digestion
- Boosts immune functions
- Effective Anti-ageing properties
- Boosts nutrient efficiency
- Helps in cellular growth, repair and wound healing
- Improves male fertility
- Useful in curbing zinc deficiency
- Facilitates muscle function
- Promotes an effective skeletal system
- Side effects of eating too much
- Nutrition Facts (per 100g)
- Fun facts on Brazilian nuts
The Brazilian nut (Bertholletiaexcelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and also the name of the tree’s commercially produced edible seeds. The nut is in the order Ericales and the tree is the only species in the monotypic genus Bertholletia. It is native to the Guanas, Venezuela, Brazil, eastern Peru and eastern Bolivia. It occurs as scattered trees in large forests on the banks of the Amazon River, Rio Negro, and the Orinoco. The genus is named after the French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet.
Health benefits of Brazilian nuts
Brazilian nuts are a rich source of selenium and it assists in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. This is where some of the essential hormones in the body are produced, distributed and regulated from. By ensuring proper functioning of the thyroid gland the high concentration of selenium will automatically mean that normal bodily functions take place smoothly.
Improves Heart health
Brazilian nuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids otherwise known as the good forms of cholesterol. The omega-3 fatty acids act on the body by eliminating the bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. Consequently, this acts as a preventive mechanism against, heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis (accumulation of fat deposits in the arteries hindering normal blood flow).
Useful in Acne Treatment
Apart from being rich in selenium, the nut is also a good source of Zinc whose anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects are useful in treating acne. The zinc protects against acne, reduces skin redness and lessens its appearance by eliminating toxins from the body and promoting the formation of collagen (an abundant protein found in the body and its responsible for accelerating the healing of dying pimples).
Useful for the growth of healthy hair
The human scalp requires an adequate flow of blood for proper hair growth. The Brazilian nut contains L-arginine which improves capillary blood circulation to the scalp. This improves perfusion of the cells of the hair follicles hence stimulating hair regrowth. The L-arginine is also important as it is used to reverse baldness in men as it promotes the growth of healthy hair.
A useful tool for weight loss
The nuts are a rich source of fiber and proteins and this means consumption of an adequate amount will give an individual the feeling of satiety. Consequently, this will mean the individual will not overfeed on snacks and hence tack on those extra calories from the unhealthy snacks.
Facilitates easier digestion
The fiber in the nuts makes them a great tool for tuning up the digestive system. As it is commonly known, fiber aids in peristalsis (movement of the food bolus along the gastrointestinal tract). This smooth peristaltic movement ensures nutrients are extracted effectively from the food, helps prevent; gastric ulcers, constipation, bloating, cramps and at times colon cancer.
Proper gastrointestinal functioning also ensures the digestives system is kept clean at all times and is running smoothly.
Boosts immune functions
The high amounts of selenium and zinc coupled up with vitamin C present in the nuts stimulate the production of white blood cells from the bone marrow. The white blood cells are responsible for protecting the body from infectious diseases and foreign invaders. Selenium also stimulates the production of enzymatic antioxidants which eliminates or neutralize free radicals in all parts of the body thereby preventing many chronic illnesses, including coronary heart diseases and cancer.
Effective Anti-ageing properties
Brazil nuts have adequate amounts of vitamins A and E which are vital for the production of collagen which gives skin its firm nature and a natural smooth feel. The selenium present is also great for giving the skin a natural healthy glow and boosting skin elasticity thereby preventing premature aging.This anti-ageing effect comes about as a result of the selenium stimulating the activity of glutathione which is an antioxidant that can remove free radicals from skin cells that cause wrinkles and at times in serious situations skin cancer.
Boosts nutrient efficiency
Brazilian nuts are rich sources of magnesium and this magnesium is particularly important as it facilitates uptake of nutrients example calcium, copper, zinc, and vitamin D meaning we get as many benefits as possible from the food we put in our bodies. Magnesium is also vital in general body functions as in one way or another it’s involved in regulating blood sugar levels, controlling blood pressure, aiding in metabolism and protein synthesis.
Helps in cellular growth, repair and wound healing
The Brazilian nut is considered to be a complete protein as it contains all the 9 essential amino acids hence can make an awesome substitute for meat thereby working well for vegetarians. It being a complete protein also enables it to provide the amino acids required for tissue and muscle repair and facilitate the growth of cells.
Improves male fertility
Selenium in the nuts boosts testosterone levels and improves the sperm production and sperm mobility. The antioxidants in the nuts protect the semen from free radical damage and also play a role in reducing infertility in males.
Useful in curbing zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency causes a rare inherited disorder called Acrodermatitisenteropathica and it occurs when the body fails to absorb sufficient zinc from food. Since the Brazilian nuts contain large amounts of zinc they can be a useful tool that can help combat the disorder.
Facilitates muscle function
Magnesium, found in the Brazilian nuts is vital when it comes to muscle function. The mineral prevents the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles of the body and this consequently prevents soreness and pain.
Promotes an effective skeletal system
The copper found in the Brazilian nuts is important for promoting bone integrity as it is required for formation of bone tissues. It also aids in the formation of the connective tissues and absorption of iron into the blood stream.
Side effects of eating too much
Brittle nails and hair
Too much of the recommended allowance for selenium causes toxicity which leads to brittle hair and nails and eventually complete hair and nail loss. Selenium toxicity can be caused by ingesting small regular doses or a single large dose of selenium supplements.
Presence of aflatoxins
Brazilian nuts have been proven to contain aflatoxins which just so happen to be carcinogenic. These compounds increase one’s chances of getting cancer hence are a threat to general health.
Consumption of excess Brazilian nuts can lead to complications with the normal functioning of the digestive system for example; garlic smell on breath, metallic taste in the mouth, rashes on the skin and diarrhea.
Although consuming Brazilian nuts aids in weight loss when consumed in required amounts, in excess they can lead to weight gain. This is because they are high in calories and fats and accumulation of these two could lead to weight gain and they are also risk factors to other diseases example high blood pressure and diabetes.
Detrimental effects of radium
Radium has been proven to exist in Brazilian nuts and this is because of the vast root system the tree has. This root system allows the tree to filter water and nutrients from the soil. Radium is a radioactive element that has detrimental effects on the body including; anemia, cataracts, fractured teeth, cancer and at times even death.
Nutrition Facts (per 100g)
Fun facts on Brazilian nuts
- Falling Brazilian nut tree pods can travels at speeds of 80km/h and as a result can be fatal to humans and can easily damage things like vehicles.
- It is believed that agoutis which are a small rodent are the only animal in the whole amazon capable of penetrating the thick 8-12mm nutpod of the nut to access the nut, which they later eat or bury in the ground for later use.
- The Brazilian nut is actually a seed rather than a nut.
- The Brazilian nut allergic reaction is the only sexually transmitted reaction known to man.
- Despite their name, the most significant exporter of Brazil nuts is not Brazil but Bolivia.
- The full Portuguese title for Brazil nuts is castanhas-do-Para which means ‘chestnuts from the vast ocean’.
- In Portuguese, Brazil nuts pods are called ouricos or ‘hedgehogs’.
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