Brazil Nuts’ Health Benefits
1. Brazil nuts contain good quantities of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. The nuts in-fact has been a staple diet of Amazonians.
2. 100 g of Brazil nuts provide about 656 calories. Their high caloric content comes from their fats. However, the nuts are an especially excellent source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like paleolithic acid (16:1) and oleic acid (18:1) that helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
3. Brazil nuts contain exceptionally high levels of selenium. 100 g nuts provide about 1917 µg of selenium and 3485% of recommended daily intake making them as the highest natural source of this mineral. Selenium is an important cofactor for anti-oxidant enzyme glutathione-peroxidase. Just 1-2 nuts a day provides enough of this trace element. Adequate selenium foods in the diet help prevent coronary artery disease, liver cirrhosis, and cancers.
4. Additionally, these creamy nuts are an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such asthiamin (51% of RDA per 100 g), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates. Altogether, they work as co-factors for enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism inside the body.
5. Other than selenium, they contain very high levels of other minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Copper helps prevent anemia and bone weakness (osteoporosis). Manganese is an all-important co-factor for antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
6. The nuts are also a very good source of vitamin-E; contain about 7.87 mg per 100 g (about 52% of RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant. It is required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
7. Also like almonds, Brazil nuts are free from gluten and therefore, is one of the popular ingredients for the preparation of gluten-free food formulas. These formula preparations are, in fact, healthy alternatives in people with wheat food allergy and celiac disease.