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Brazil Nuts:The Selenium Packed Superfood

Updated on October 21, 2010

Delicious and Nutritious

Many people reading this article may be asking, 'what are Brazil nuts'? Brazil nuts are the large, crescent-shaped nuts which you bypass to get to the cashews, almonds and peanuts when eating a bowl or can of mixed nuts.

I'm going to share a few fantastic facts about this nut, which may have you seeing it in a new light, and think twice the next time you consider spurning this Brazilian beauty in favor of the puny peanut.

To say the Brazil nut is one of the healthiest foods on the planet is a bit of an understatement. Lets take this mesmerizing fact about the Brazil nut into consideration. The antioxidant known as selenium is a very powerful protector against heart disease and prostate cancer, and a destroyer of free-radicals.

Brazil nuts contain 2500 times the selenium found in any other nut in the world! That is an amazing fact. Just one ounce of Brazil nuts will provide more than 10 times the daily recommended allowance of Selenium.

These nuts are also a great source of Omega 6 fatty acids and a slew of other valuable nutrients which will be discussed. They are a tasty and healthy snack for teens, adults or anyone for that matter. Along with Gogi Berries, seaweed, spinach and acai....they are one of my favorite 'Superfoods'.

Bolivian actially produces the majority of these nuts

Maybe a name change is in order?

The Brazil nut is actually the name of a South American tree. Although the food the tree produces are referred to as Brazil nuts (in English speaking lands), this 'nut' is actually a fruit. That explains Its high antioxidant levels.

Bolivia actually harvests 50 percent of the Brazil nuts produced in the world. Brazil accounted for 40 percent of the production of these nuts and for remaining 10 percent we should thank good ol' Peru.

Maybe they should change the name to Bolivia nuts--nah, the name doesn't role off of the tongue like Brazil nuts does. In Bolivia they refer to this food as almendras. In Brazil they are called castanhas-do-ParĂ¡.

Where did I put that Brazil Nut?

The Brazil nut comes from one of the largest of trees in the Amazon Rain Forest. The tree is known for its impressive longevity and may actually live as long as 1,000 years.The shell that contains the nut is hard and the process of opening it is similar to that of opening a coconut.

Monkey's in the rain forest have been known to use a rock in order to strike the hard outer-shell of the Brazil nut and break it open, this releases the fruit inside.If an animal as smart as a monkey would go through that much trouble to get to the nuts, you know it has to be good.

A Brazilian worker demonstrates the Brazil Nut in its original state

Cracking open the shell of a Brazil Nut

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Brazil Nuts Health Benefits

It's already been mentioned that Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium, in fact they may be the best source of selenium you can find anywhere in the world.Brazil nuts are also high in protein, vitamin e, thiamin, copper, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Manganese is also very good for the immune system, so this food really packs a powerful punch.

It must be noted that although this food is referred to as a nut, It's technically a fruit. This explains the very high antioxidant levels of Brazil nuts.The thyroid is also benefited a great deal by the intake of this fruit. The thyroid needs a proper amount selenium in order to function correctly. The intake of Brazil nuts may greatly benefit those with thyroid issues.

Brazil nuts help to keep the heart healthy, because of the high amounts of selenium in the fruit and the omega-fatty acids.The high flavonoid content of Brazil nuts aid against the development of cancer. Additionally, Brazil nuts help to prevent cellular damage in the body due to the high antioxidant content of the fruit.

Brazil nuts have the goods. They are a bona-fide superfood. They will improve your overall health, but It's important not to eat too many of these powerhouses, Because they contain so much selenium. because of this they need to be eaten in moderation. Too much selenium intake can cause fatigue, stomach upset and make you irritable.

Brazil Nut Basics

  • Selenium reduces the risk of many cancers. It is a powerful antioxidant which rails against the aging process. it also helps the heart, boosts the immune system, and is found more in Brazil nuts than in possibly any other food in the world.
  • Since Brazil nuts are high in fiber they protect against constipation.
  • Eat a few Brazil nuts each day in order to ensure that you are getting enough critical antioxidants in your diet.
  • Our thyroid's need selenium to function well. Brazil nuts are a great food to maintain a properly functioning thyroid, or correct a poorly functioning one.
  • Brazil nuts are produced more in Bolivia than in Brazil.
  • Brazil nuts are native to the Amazon Rain Forest.
  • Brazil nuts are actually fruits, not nuts.


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    • aries3296 profile image

      Jeannie Ramirez 7 years ago from South Florida, USA

      I love nist varieties of nut but macadania nuts are my favorite. Just back from the walmart with a hug bag of trailmix nuts including my fave Yum!

    • JNKPRESS profile image

      JNKPRESS 7 years ago

      Very cool Hub. I love nuts too!!