It can be difficult getting enough selenium in your diet. You can take supplements, of course. Or you could simply eat one or two Brazil nuts a day—this is enough to fulfill your selenium needs. Brazil nuts are the number one food source for selenium. And, in fact, they work better than consuming your selenium in supplement form. Furthermore, Brazil nuts health benefits go beyond its high content of selenium. Read below to learn more!
Here are 5 Brazil nuts health benefits:
Brazil nuts health benefits start with the ability to lower inflammation. Ellagic acid is present in Brazil nuts, which is highly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it can even be neuroprotective. (1)
Furthermore, selenium in the Brazil nut is also anti-inflammatory. Selenium defends against free radical damage, as well. In fact, a 2012 study examined Brazil nuts health benefits regarding this area. They found that just one Brazil nut per day can help improve anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses in the body. In fact, participants in the study saw improvements not only with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses, but also with cholesterol levels. (2)
Brazil nuts health benefits continue with the ability to fight cancer. This is again due to their high ellagic acid and selenium levels. Ellagic acid is antimutagenic as well as anticancer. (3)
And selenium, an essential biological trace element, has been shown to diminish and prevent the occurrences of cancer. (4)
Several health professionals believe there is a link between toxic levels of mercury and cancer. Some animal studies show, however, that selenium can help reduce these toxic mercy levels, which in turn can help fight cancer. (5)
3. Mood Lifter
Brazil nuts health benefits include treating depression, as well. Or, if you simply want a mood lift, try eating a Brazil nut. Selenium has been scientifically proven to improve mood. One study showed that lower levels of selenium were correlated with reports of anxiety, depression, and fatigue. These symptoms were decreased, however, after five weeks of selenium therapy. (6)
Serotonin also plays a role in mood and depression. Researchers from the University of Barcelona found that people had higher levels of serotonin after consuming nuts, including the Brazil nut. Additionally, almonds and walnuts improved serotonin levels as well. (7)
If you struggle with depression, it seems like adding Brazil nuts to your diet could prove to be beneficial.
4. Heart Health Booster
Brazil nuts health benefits extend to your heart, as well. In small amounts, Brazil nuts can positively affect your heart. The selenium, potassium, calcium and magnesium present in this food are all helpful in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. (8)
And Brazil nuts health benefits your heart in another way, too. They’re high in unsaturated fats, which is good for boosting HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. A healthy level of good cholesterol can help defend against heart attack and stroke. Low levels, on the other hand, increase the risk of heart disease. (9)
Perhaps it would be prudent to add a Brazil nut or two to your daily intake of food, especially if you are at risk for heart disease.
5. Thyroid Control
Brazil nuts health benefits continue with its star mineral, selenium, treating issues with the thyroid, as well. In fact, numerous studies show a link between thyroid metabolism and selenium deficiency. Selenium helps your thyroid produce active hormones, improving the overall health of your thyroid. (10)
Furthermore, a 2015 Brazilian study found that people with reduced levels of the thyroid hormone T3 were able to increase their selenium with the Brazil nut. This lead to improvements in their thyroid hormone levels. (11)
Brazil nuts health benefits the thyroid, overall, in numerous ways. It protects it, for example, but it also regulates reactive oxygen within the gland as well as protects the body from antibodies that can create thyroid disease. (12)