If you love crunchy snacks like peanuts and cashews, you might want to add Brazil nuts to the mix. Not only are they tasty but they are packed with nutrients.
Brazil nuts are the seeds of a tropical tree found in such South American countries as Bolivia, Peru and of course, Brazil. The Brazil nut fruits look like coconuts and each contains 10 to 25 seeds. Inside the wrinkly, brown seed casings are the edible nuts.
Brazil nuts contain protein, fiber, niacin and vitamin B6, as well as minerals. Brazil nuts also regulate your thyroid gland, reduce inflammation and support your heart, brain and immune system.
However, it is most noted for its extreme selenium content, making it the most potent food source of selenium. Since one nut contains 96 micrograms of selenium, it more than meets your daily requirement of 55 micrograms.
Why is this so important? Studies have shown selenium reduces DNA damage and oxidative stress, boosts your immune system, helps to decrease body fat and destroys cancer cells.
Low selenium intake can lead to cellular damage, reduced thyroid activity and autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease.
Be aware that because of their high levels of selenium, no more than three nuts should be eaten per day. High levels of selenium can lead to problems of their own.
Just three Brazil nuts contain about 99 calories, 2 grams of protein and carbs each and 10 grams of fat, depending on their size.
These tasty nuts also contain fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, thiamine and vitamin E. Brazil nuts are also rich in antioxidants.
One study noted that a single serving of four or 10 nuts significantly reduced the number of inflammatory markers including interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha).
So the next time you’re looking for a crunchy snack, grab a Brazil nut or two, and you may even begin to feel better.