What Are Brazil Nuts?
Brazil nuts are seeds encased in a hard pod which have a resemblance with coconut and weighs five pounds. These pods, which you can only break using an ax or a machete, house 12 to 20 seeds per segment. Brazil nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, and they are one of the richest sources of biochemical selenium which is beneficial to the mind and body.
Brazil nuts are delicious and nutritious, and they contain healthy fats necessary for growth and development. They also enable the body to maintain a balanced metabolic rate and perform muscle regeneration.
These nuts have existed for ages — people have consumed Brazil nuts as far back as the Paleolithic Era. These nuts have had records in Western literature as early as 1569. Dutch traders introduced Brazil nuts to Europe in the 1600s, but the nuts did not get to America till the 1800s. Brazil nuts are mostly cultivated in the wild in Northern Brazil between December and March.
Brazil nuts are super nutritious, with benefits ranging from a healthy state of the mind, healthy body, skin, hair, nails, and loads of other advantages; let`s get talking!
13 Health Benefits of Eating Brazil Nuts
Aids Nutrient Absorption
When the stomach lining and the health of the intestines are intact, nutrient absorption through the bloodstream is made easier. Brazil nuts contain iron, copper, and other trace minerals that ensure the safe health of the digestive system, making nutrient absorption much easier.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Brazil nuts contain healthy fats, dietary fiber, and potassium. All of these contribute to the elimination of excess fats in the arteries, hence ensuring a well functioning heart.
Have you heard anyone say that a healthy gut is equal to a healthy body? This cannot be overemphasized. Brazil nuts keep your entire digestive system in a healthy state due to its phosphorus and dietary fiber contents. Phosphorus keeps the stomach`s lining in a good state, while dietary fiber regulates bowel movements.
Females who attain menopause have a higher risk of osteoporosis due to hormonal imbalance. Brazil nuts contain enough antioxidants and zinc to balance hormonal activities in the body. It also contains phosphorus, potassium, and calcium which ensure healthy bone structure.
Enhances Weight Loss
Brazil nuts contain fiber, protein, and carbohydrates which keep the body energized and help you stay full for a longer time. This particularly brings about a reduction in your cravings, hence healthier food consumption.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Brazil nuts are quite potent at fighting free radicals The selenium content together with other biochemicals the nuts possess constitute such a powerful antioxidant force. These are reasons they are considered powerful anti-cancer nuts.
Aids Muscle Regeneration
Brazil nuts provide the body with protein and energy required to regenerate muscles and tissues. This is why the nuts make an excellent post-workout snack.
Acne breakouts are usually as a result of hormone imbalance. Brazil nuts contain zinc which is a hormone balancing mineral. The vitamin E content in these nuts, together with zinc reduce acne formation. Also, Brazil nut oil eliminates acne scars.
Brazil nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals that boost immune health and prevent chronic illnesses. The antibiotics — riboflavin and thiamine — in Brazil nuts particularly reduce the effects of inflammation and infections in the body, adding to the body`s immune strength.
Promotes Mental Health
Brazil nuts contain some antioxidants and healthy fats required for brain growth and healthy brain functioning — improved cognition in particular. Regular consumption of Brazil nuts wards off memory-related diseases.
Regulates the Thyroid Hormone
Brazil nuts contain triiodothyronine, an enzyme which enables the body to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone, hence helps the thyroid gland to function properly in order to prevent hyperactivity or any other malfunction.
Combats Acrodermatitis Enteropathica
Acrodermatitis enteropathica is a disorder that occurs as a result of zinc deficiency. Brazil nuts fight this disorder and reduce its symptoms.
Improves Bone Density
People who suffer weak bones would benefit much from the essential minerals that Brazil nuts contain; talk of calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, all in Brazil nuts, strengthening the bones and reducing the risk of fractures.
How to Make Brazil Nut Milk
You can use Brazil nuts in various kinds of recipes. This homemade dairy-free milk is one of them. It is nutritious, creamy, and quite easy to make. Let’s get talking!
- Brazil nuts — 2 cups
- Water — 4 cups
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2–3 pitted, raw Medjool dates or ½ tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- 2–3 tablespoons of cacao or cinnamon (optional)
- Soak the Brazil nuts and the vanilla bean in water overnight or for 8 hours.
- Dispose of the soaking water and rinse the Brazil nuts and vanilla bean thoroughly.
- Put the Brazil nuts and vanilla bean in a blender with the 4 cups of water and blend until it’s smooth. You may add the optional ingredients and blend along for additional flavor.
- Pour the mixture in a nut milk bag and strain into a glass jar.
- Transfer to an airtight jar and store in a refrigerator.
Side Effects of Brazil Nuts
High Amounts of Polyunsaturated Fats
Brazil nuts contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, and this is why they go bad quickly. Buying them in small quantities and storing them in a refrigerator can help preserve them better. Whatever you do, ensure you don’t eat rancid nuts, as they are unsafe for your health.
Risk of Allergies
People who are allergic to mangoes, cashew nuts, pistachios, and other foods in the Anacardiaceae family may need to be careful consuming Brazil nuts due to the high risk of having allergies.
Excessive consumption of Brazil nuts may equate to excessive selenium intake, hence selenium toxicity. This comes with symptoms such as nausea, a metallic taste in the mouth, diarrhea, hair loss, brittle nails, coughing, and loads of other conditions. To avoid this condition, try not to exceed eating five nuts per day.
20 Brazil Nut Facts
- There are 656 calories in a 100-gram (3.5 ounces) serving of Brazil nuts.
- Brazil nuts are actually not nuts in the botanical sense; they`re seeds.
- The major exporter of Brazil nuts is Bolivia, not Brazil, as you may think.
- Over 30,000 metric tons of Brazil nuts are harvested annually: Bolivia accounts for about 50%, Brazil 40%, and Peru 10%.
- Brazil nuts are used in making confectionary and baked goods.
- Brazil nut oil, produced from the seed, is used in making artists` paints, as a lubricant in clocks, and in making cosmetics.
- The Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) is the only species in the monotypic genus, Bertholletia.
- The Brazil nut tree has a lifespan of 500-1,000 years.
- The Brazil nut tree is one of the largest trees in the Amazon rainforests. It reaches 50 meters (160 feet) in height, with a trunk 1 to 2 meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet) in diameter.
- The Brazil nut tree is native to the Guianas, eastern Colombia, eastern Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, and eastern Bolivia.
- Brazil nut trees appear as scattered trees in large forests on the banks of the Amazon River, Negro, Tapajós, Rio, and the Orinoco.
- The flowers are small, greenish-white, and about 5 to 10 centimeters (2-4 inches) long.
- Each flower has two parts, with deciduous calyx, six unequal petals, and many stamens which are united into a broad, hood-shaped mass.
- The stem of the Brazil nut tree is straight and usually without branches for over half of the tree’s height.
- The bark of the tree is grayish and smooth.
- The leaves of the Brazil nut tree are alternate, simple, dry-season deciduous, and oblong with 20 to 35 centimeters (8-14 inches) long and 10 to 15 centimeters (4-6 inches) broad.
- Brazil nut trees produce fruit mainly in pristine forests because disturbed forests don`t have enough bees to pollinate the tree’s flowers.
- The Brazil nut fruit looks like a coconut endocarp in size and weighs up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).
- An average mature Brazil nut tree produces over 300 fruits between January and June.
- The fruit of the Brazil nut tree, a large capsule 10-15 centimeters (3.9-5.9 inches) in diameter, takes 14 months to mature after pollination of the flowers.