It might surprise you to know, but Brazil nuts don’t just come from Brazil.
Around 40% of the world’s Brazil nuts come from Brazil. The rest are harvested mainly in Bolivia and the countries surrounding some of the largest South American rivers, including the Amazon. Even today, they are gathered from wild trees in the jungle—how many other wild foods do you eat on a daily basis?
It’s illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree, and many of these trees live to be more than 1,000 years old! They’ve got deep roots that dredge up valuable nutrients from the soil, and those nutrients go right into the seeds where humans can reap the benefits.
These seeds provide so much nutrition that eating just one a day can fulfill your daily recommended amount of some minerals.
WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT BRAZIL NUTS?
- They’re absolutely packed with selenium. In fact, if you were to hear just one thing about Brazil nuts, it’d probably be related to their selenium content. One serving of them(that’s just 6 nuts) contains 774% of the selenium you need every day. You read that right—774%. Selenium supports a healthy immune system and prevents cell damage due to free radicals.
- They contain a daily dose of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral responsible for hundreds of chemical reactions in your body every day, and what’s even more surprising is that it’s one of the easiest minerals to become deficient in. Studies have shown that people chronically deficient in magnesium are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. But you won’t need to worry about deficiency if you’re eating Brazil nuts at roughly 100% your daily magnesium value!
- They’re an excellent source of fiber, which helps our intestines function the way they should. It also helps our bodies to retain more nutrients.
- You can use Brazil nuts for a variety of recipes. Try grinding them into a fine powder and mixing that in with a smoothie. Or chop them up and put them on a Paleo dessert. Eat them whole, or toss them with some ghee and broccoli. You could even pop them into some cookies.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
1. Brazil nuts are packed with selenium. Didn’t we talk about that before? You bet we did.
The selenium content in Brazil nuts is both a blessing and a curse. While selenium is great, too much of it can be a bad thing. The most common signs of too much selenium in the diet include stomach upset and brittle nails. To avoid this, make sure you’re not eating, you know, a whole bowl of Brazil nuts every morning.
2. Because of the high fat content in Brazil nuts, they do not keep well. They are prone to going rancid quickly, so keep them in a cool, dry place. If they begin to taste bitter, they have gone bad.
Just one Brazil nut a day has been shown to have significant positive health effects.
Remember to store them in a cool place, and remember that some people may have a Brazil nut allergy, just as they would to peanuts. But if you’re able to eat them, Brazil nuts can go a long way toward awesome nutrition!