Eating 1-4 Brazil nuts, 150 calories total, a day is safe. However, each person’s body chemistry is unique and reacts differently to different food types that create different blood sugar levels, fat stores, hormone production, etc., which all, in turn, affect the metabolism in a unique way.
There are about 30 nuts in one ounce and each nut is about 100 calories. If someone eats more than four nuts per day the risk of overdose, which can potentially be deadly, increases dramatically.
One hundred and fifty calories might sound like a lot when compared with other foods but it has no fat or cholesterol to worry about. And aside from that, they satisfy hunger more effectively because Brazil nuts are much higher in protein than any other tree nut (except almond). They’re rich in fiber as well as high amounts of vitamin A which plays an important role in healthy gut function too!
What are Brazil nuts?
Brazil nuts grow on a tree in the Amazon. The mighty Brazil nut tree is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and grows up to 20 feet tall. It’s not unusual for a single tree to produce as many as 500,000 of these little nuts per year and they are about 2-2.5 inches long, 3/4 inch in diameter with six normal length longitudinal grooves around each nut.
Nuts have been found throughout archeological sites dating back hundreds of years ago all the way from Inca times! Schliemann found them during excavations at Troy in association with the remains of Asiatic wheat – 8th century BC or earlier, according to recent studies done by Dr. John Fagan.
Brazil nuts are a type of fruit that comes from forests and wild areas in the Amazon basin. They grow on a tree, with over-ripe ones falling to the ground and being consumed by animals or humans.
They’re officially known as Bertholletia excelsa, which is unfortunate because it’s really difficult to say. Instead, most people just call them “Brazil nut” or “wild nut.”
Locals roast them and eat them for their naturally high levels of selenium. When you crack open one of these big guys, you’ll find a hard but actually deliciously creamy kernel inside that can be pounded into an unsweetened buttery spread for toast or pancakes – they taste like hazelnuts mixed with almonds.
Brazil Nuts come from nuts in the same family as pecans, walnuts, and almonds. They are indigenous to the Amazon region of South America.
Chemical composition of Brazil nuts:
Brazil nuts are often eaten after they have been soaked in water to allow for easier peeling since the outer shell of a Brazil nut is thick and encases a soft kernel. The soft kernel contains 67% oil, 30% protein, 25% carbohydrate,5 grams of fiber, and no cholesterol.
They are also very high in selenium. Selenium has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer among men as it may inhibit both the development of cancerous lesions as well as reduce the frequency or progression of these lesions once they have formed. In addition to this potential effect on prostate cancer, selenium is also important for proper immunity and concentration.
Brazil nuts also contain high concentrations of copper in relation to other plant sources at 64 ppm for 100-gram serving size (meaning it has the highest concentration of copper).
The benefits of eating Brazil nuts are manifold: The seed is packed with nutrients—potassium and selenium being two big ones—and studies have shown that people who eat them regularly actually gain less weight than those who don’t! Researchers found that this was because they were able to remain fuller for longer periods.
Are Brazil nuts good for you?
Brazil nuts are good for you because they’re a rich source of Selenium which helps to detoxify your body by protecting cells from free radical damage. Additionally Brazil nuts are a good source of fiber, Omega-3s, B2 (Riboflavin), and minerals like Iron, Potassium, Zinc, and Magnesium.
They’re also low in fat with only 1g per serving or 18g for the whole cup (100 grams). A large number of calories come from fat stored in the nut’s outermost layer that provides an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids – about 35% linoleic acid.
Brazil nuts are raw and unsalted, so they don’t have any extra sugars or salt added to them (as would be the case for salted peanuts). For that reason alone, Brazil nuts are a healthier choice for snacking because they have fewer empty calories than other types of nuts.
The best thing about Brazil nuts is that they contain selenium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1(thiamine) & B2(riboflavin). These nutrients will help with energy levels and appetite control. In general, these nutty goodies can do wonders to your muscles too if eaten regularly! So go ahead and enjoy those nutrients!
Brazil nuts help boost your immunity:
Brazil nuts contain selenium, which plays a role in the immune system. The hormone-like substance Se plays a key part in producing immune cells. It also helps to regulate how these cells release their waste products and should help boost our immunity. Brazil nuts are high in this nutrient so they should be helping us fight the illness that bugs us – rather than cause it!
The amount of selenium per 100g serving is 165μg = 7% DV. That’s more than many other nuts have (for example, hazelnuts have 22 μg/100g). But even if you consumed the maximum number of Brazil nuts each day, you’d only be getting around 1230μg which is less than the recommended daily intake for most adults and not enough to boost immunity levels.
A study by researchers at the Lebanon Valley College in Hershey, Pennsylvania provides compelling evidence that brazil nuts can help our immune system support a healthy response to illness and infection.
The Journal of Nutrition published a 2013 study by three researchers who are experts on vitamins and minerals such as copper, zinc, protein, or vitamin K2 and how they impact the body’s immune defense systems. They wanted to find out if brazil nuts contain an amount of any one of these necessary nutrients which were higher than the other nuts and seeds they tested. The result? Brazil nuts have significant amounts per gram (15-30%) of all three phytochemicals–protein, iron (ferulic acid), copper–necessary for boosting immunity.
Brazil nuts support thyroid function:
Brazil nuts support thyroid function by providing iodine. One Brazil nut provides 47% of the daily value for iodine. Iodine is necessary for the metabolism of thyroid hormone thyroxine T4 to its more active form, T3.
An adult needs roughly 150-170 micrograms per day which can be obtained from iodized salt or dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese- just two tablespoons contain 32% of one’s recommended intake. The lack of sufficient iodine increases the risk of developing hypothyroidism, goiter (swelling in the front part of the neck), a high cholesterol level, or cardiovascular disease.
Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, which stimulates and regulates thyroid hormone production naturally.
Brazil nuts are high in both copper and selenium, two minerals important for healthy thyroid function. According to the Journal of Nutrition, “Selenium deficiency is linked with a suppression of synthesis of thyrotropin-releasing hormone from its precursor molecule in the hypothalamus.” Selenium helps maintain healthy levels of T3 (a type of thyroid hormone), which promotes metabolism and bodily integrity while helping regulate appetite. Levels are lower when it goes unsupplemented or mismanaged due to age or diabetes.
Brazil nuts are also high in antioxidants and our bodies use them to make the thyroid hormone thyroxine. The beta-carotenoids found in Brazil nuts can also help with anemia. So yes, I would say that they do support different aspects of thyroid function and healthy living!
Brazil nuts may reduce inflammation:
Brazil nuts may help reduce inflammation. In one study, the subjects were given a single serving of either two Brazil nuts or three hazelnuts daily for 30 days. The data showed significant reductions in inflammatory lipid markers including C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF-α, and IL-6.
People with chronic inflammation are at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, so reducing inflammation can have benefits on health too!
Eating brazil nuts has been shown to reduce the levels of inflammatory cytokines in the participants who had skin allergies and asthma. Brazil nuts also contain high levels of selenium which prevents inflammation by its activation of the Nrf2-antioxidant pathway and suppression of STAT3 signaling.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is an essential cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase which uses reduced glutathione (GSH) to “restore oxidized GSH.” It also helps clear away free radicals and manages DNA repair in cells through its role as one of four proteins required for transcription factor NF-κ.
Brazil nuts improve heart health:
In one study, participants who consumed a diet high in Brazil nuts due to their selenium-rich content improved biomarkers of cardiac risk.
Selenium is an essential nutrient for many aspects of health and cardiometabolic function. It has been shown that people with higher levels of circulating selenium also have better blood lipid profiles, including increased HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and decreased LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
When it comes to heart health, having these good ratios not only helps prevent cardiovascular events like heart attacks but also contributes to a lifespan increase.
In a study recently published in the online journal, Nutrients, researchers found that consumption of Brazil nuts continuously over four weeks can improve heart health by significantly improving cardiac lipid profile and antioxidant status as well as having synergistic effects with other cardiovascular-relevant nutrients.
This research also showed that individuals who ate at least 1 ounce of nuts per day experienced a greater reduction in inflammation than those who consumed just 25% to 50% as much. Brazilian Nut Consumption If advisable on dietary or therapeutic grounds, consumers should keep intake up to 2 ounces (approximately 18 Brazil pods) per day. However, there are some caveats associated with superfoods.
Brazil nuts are a boon to heart health and have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, especially when taken in moderation.
Nuts contain unsaturated fats which can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol found in your bloodstream. Brazil nuts are 18% protein and 34% fat – two numbers that are good for your heart!
Raw Brazil nuts also contain thiamine, an essential B-vitamin that can be lacking in your daily diet. Thiamine plays the role of “helper” to other enzymes involved in cellular metabolism, as well as regulating blood sugar levels or helping with muscle activity such as digestion and walking.
Brazil nuts are good for your brain:
Brazil nuts have very high levels of selenium and copper. Selenium is an important trace element, and too little can cause low moods, shaky hands, lack of ambition, depression, difficulty focusing on tasks, shriveling of the fish hooks that anchor nerves to muscle cells in the fingers or toes (white nails), hair loss or baldness,… Tremors and poor balance are caused by a buildup of copper in nerve cell membranes that disrupt sensitivity to neurotransmitters like dopamine. Too much selenium can also affect personality.
Side effects of eating too many Brazil nuts:
The high levels of selenium in the nuts may cause an increased risk of ulcers and other stomach issues because excessive selenium can’t be absorbed by the body without a sufficient zinc intake.
Another major side effect of eating too many Brazil nuts is reproduction difficulties for males, namely decreased sperm production and motility. Female fertility is also hindered by large consumption as a result of weight gain. Furthermore, milk production decreased tremendously when one eats three to four raw shelled Brazil Nuts per day which would translate to over 10 pounds in weight per year!
Too much selenium can be toxic to the thyroid gland and may cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain and dry skin; symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include irritability, trembling hands, or feelings of warmth when exposed to cold air.
Two Brazil nuts a few times a month is not going to do any harm for most people though. Eating more than two is not worth it. Other side effects might just be nausea after ingesting them raw but they’re unlikely to cause negative health consequences if ingested regularly over time as part of a balanced diet.
Brazil nut toxicity is rare but does happen. There are two ways that someone could experience a nut allergy and/or become dangerously ill because of a reaction – either by inhaling the dust or getting ground bits stuck on their skin and then rashy reactions afterward due to an allergic reaction to the brazil nut protein(s).
Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium. Recent studies have shown that semen quality in men who were on a diet that included 100 micrograms (mcg) per day of selenium, compared to men on the same diet with no selenium supplementation, researchers found an improvement in sperm quality among those taking the supplements.
Many researchers believe that sperm quality is determined by the balance between pro-oxidative and anti-oxidative environments within the testes.
Excessive exposure to ROS (free radicals) or RNS (reactive nitrogen species) damages seminal fluid production, sperm motility and increases oxidative stress on critical intracellular structures. Nutrition may be an effective tool in preserving semen parameters through reduction of oxidative status; however, well-controlled studies examining this issue are scarce.
From a clinical perspective, the use of antioxidants such as vitamin E, selenium, and zinc can yield improvements in lipid peroxidation, sperm count, and morphology. Considering these findings together with experimental data from animal experiments indicating that compounds from Brazil nut help improve sperm count and quality.
(1) All content found in my articles, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in my publications. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call the emergency hotline in your country immediately. My publications do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, or opinions. Reliance on any information in my publications is solely at your own risk.
(2) Some of the links on my blog are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of the companies, and I recommend them because they are extremely helpful. By using my affiliate links, you are helping me keep this blog up and running.