Loved and hated by kids and adults alike, Brazilian nuts are usually enjoyed around Halloween. Although they can have a somewhat dry texture, the nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients and are well worth a second look.
Brazilian nuts are one of the few kind of nuts that contain a complete range of essential amino acids that are important for optimal health. Nuts are well known for containing a high amount of protein, but not many have this important combination.
For this reason, Brazilian nuts should be considered by vegetarians and vegans as an excellent source of protein to supplement their diet. It can be more of a challenge for non-meat eaters to consume enough high quality protein.
Brazilian nuts contain Selenium in abundance. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to help lower the risk heart disease and even cancer. It is also reported to help slow down the aging process, which can only be a good thing, as well as strengthening the immune system.
Only small amounts of Selenium are required by the body, so just 1 ounce of unblanched Brazilian nuts will provide over 7 times the recommended daily value of Selenium as suggested by the FDA.
Magnesium is another mineral that is found in high concentrations in Brazilian nuts. This compound is used by the body in a number of ways, from bone mineralization, through to muscle contraction and helping to metabolize food into energy. Nuts in general are a great source of magnesium and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet.
Although some may advise avoiding nuts in any shape or form as they contain high quantities of fat, it is important to differentiate between different types of fat and how they can affect the body.
Saturated fats are the fats to avoid eating too much of, as they can have serious detrimental effects to the body in high enough portions and are found in cakes, pastries, chocolate and biscuits. They are difficult for the body to break down and can therefore be easily stored as fat. Monounsaturated fats, however, are essential for the body to function properly and are found in most kinds of nuts, as well as seeds and fish. Brazilian nuts are high in monounsaturated fats and should be eaten in moderation without guilt.
All in all, a handful of Brazilian nuts every day will provide a good dose of dietary fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals that are healthy, satisfying and filling.