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A Brazil Nut a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

You may have noticed several popular TikTokers starting to add two Brazil nuts into their “what I eat in a day” videos. If you have, you might’ve wondered whether this has any real benefit, or if it’s just the latest fleeting trend. Let me break it down for you!


While it’s true that social media trends come and go, the health benefits of Brazil nuts are real and here to stay! Brazil nuts provide a wide array of benefits including improved thyroid function, reduced inflammation, and enhanced immune function, among others. What makes Brazil nuts truly exceptional is their exceptional nutrient profile, with selenium levels being particularly high. Each nut has about 96 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, but the amount can reach as high as 400 mcg, depending on the soil conditions where they grow. The recommended amount of selenium we need each day is 55 mcg, and just one Brazil nut provides a whopping 175% of that amount (FoodData Central).


Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining proper bodily functions. It is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it prevents cell damage caused by free radicals. It can also help prevent cognitive decline, heart disease, and certain cancers (Cardoso, et al).


My favorite thing about Brazil nuts is that you only need one each day to meet the recommended selenium intake. While some people opt for two nuts daily, you might wonder: what's the magic number? The truth is, everyone's needs vary, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Typically, it's advised to consume one to three Brazil nuts per day, so pay attention to your body and do what feels right to you! I typically eat one with my breakfast each day. To me, this is the easiest way to make sure I am getting enough selenium without overdoing it. I like to think about it as just one of my daily vitamins!


If that isn’t for you, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy Brazil nuts. You can roast them on the stove or in the oven with your favorite spices, use them as a delightful addition to baked goods like brownies or cookies, or sprinkle chopped nuts on top of yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, or salads. The options are endless to enjoy this delicious, nutrient-packed nut! Keep in mind, moderation is key because when consumed in very high amounts, selenium can be toxic. To ensure you achieve the perfect balance for your health, aim for one to three Brazil nuts per day!


References:

“Nuts, brazil nuts, dried, unblanched” FoodData Central, 1 Apr. 2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170569/nutrients.


Bárbara R. Cardoso, et al. “Brazil Nuts: Nutritional Composition, Health Benefits, and Safety Aspects.” Food Research International, 14 Aug. 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096399691730474X.

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