Brazil nuts are native to areas around the Amazon in the regions of Brazil.
Brazil nuts are native to areas around the Amazon in the regions of Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela. From there, they are exported to other places all over the world. They are edible seeds derived from one of the tallest trees in the world.
There are various reasons why Brazil nuts must have become harder to find in the market than it was a few years back. After the “catastrophic” harvest in the Amazon rainforest, there has been a drastic reduction in the supplies of Brazil nuts. A lack of rain across South America due to El Niño also caused the Brazil nut pods to fall early causing fewer seeds to germinate and develop into trees. Besides, due to the drop in the production of Brazil nuts in recent years, cutting down a Brazil nut tree has been banned in Brazil.
There are speculations that scarcity of Brazil nuts may cause the prices of these nutritious nuts to rise considerably in the coming years.
What are the health benefits of Brazil nuts?
The American Academy of Nutrition recommends eating nuts and seeds as a part of a healthy diet. Brazil nut is one of the recommended nuts on the list.
Brazil nuts are an excellent, gluten-free source of dietary fiber, various vitamins, such as thiamin and Vitamin E, and minerals, such as selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Many of these nutrients are antioxidants (protect the body against free radicals).
Brazil nuts provide more than 100% of the daily value of selenium. Selenium is a mineral with a strong antioxidant property that helps fight off inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect of selenium can help prevent illnesses with an inflammatory component, such as diabetes, heart diseases, and certain neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
The current recommended dietary intake of selenium in adults is between 55 and 75 micrograms per day. Consumption of two to seven Brazil nuts can fulfill this requirement.
Let us have a look at what specific health benefits Brazil nuts can offer:
- Improved heart health: In general, nuts have been shown to have a heart-healthy effect due to their cholesterol-reducing effects. Just nine Brazil nuts have 28 grams of fat; the majority of fat being monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These types of fats along with the fiber content of Brazil nuts can help reduce your risk for heart diseases.
- Healthy for the thyroid gland: Selenium is an important mineral vital to the functioning of your thyroid gland. An unhealthy thyroid gland can increase your risk of thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism. Eating Brazil nuts can boost your thyroid gland health.
- Diabetes management: Some studies show that the selenium in Brazil nuts can help in the management of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels.
- Stronger and healthy bones: Being a good source of calcium and magnesium (both of which help in giving you stronger bones) Brazil nuts can help your bones stay healthy.
- Good for gut functioning: The fiber content of Brazil nuts gives you smooth bowel movements and helps with issues, such as constipation.
Are there any side effects of eating Brazil nuts?
Taking the recommended intake of Brazil nuts can rarely cause any trouble. If they are consumed in excess, you may face problems, such as:
- Allergies: Like any other nut, eating Brazil nuts can cause allergic reactions. If you develop any signs of allergies, stop eating the nuts and consult the doctor right away.
- Weight gain: Due to its high calorie and fat content, Brazil nuts may come in the way of your weight management. Ask your doctor or a certified nutritionist how much of them you can have.
- Selenium toxicity: Selenium overdose due to eating Brazil nuts in excess can cause nausea, vomiting, nail discoloration, brittleness, hair loss, fatigue, irritability, and bad breath. See your doctor if you face any of these symptoms after eating Brazil nuts.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Peres CA, Baider C, Zuidema PA, et al. Demographic Threats to the Sustainability of Brazil Nut Exploitation. Science. December 19, 2003;302(5653):2112-4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14684819/ USDA. Nuts, Brazilnuts, Dried, Unblanched. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170569/nutrients
Mayonewsreleases. Big Nutrition, Small Package. Mayoclinic June 24, 2013. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/big-nutrition-small-package/#:~:text=Just%20nine%20Brazil%20nuts%20have,Lower%20cholesterol.
Eat Right. In a nutshell. https://www.eatright.org/-/media/eatrightimages/posters/nuts/nut_24x36.pdf
Top Why Is It Hard to Find Brazil Nuts? Related Articles
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Stress-Reducing FoodsWhile there are many ways to cope with stress, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods. Find out which foods to eat as part of a stress management diet.
What Happens If You Eat Too Many Brazil Nuts?Brazil nuts have an elevated amount of selenium (68-91 mcg per nut), and having too many Brazil nuts can cause the body selenium to increase above the acceptable limit.