You Should Be Eating More Brazil Nuts. Here's Why

Brazil nuts are a snack that is often overlooked in favor of the more popular nuts, like almonds or walnuts, which are commonly added into recipes or enjoyed as a treat on their own. However, this smooth, slightly buttery nut isn't just the supporting character in a bag of mixed nuts. Brazil nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that make this nut more than worthy of holding its own as a tasty and nutritional snack in their own right. 

Brazil nuts are perhaps most notable for their high selenium content. Selenium is an important mineral that is essential for promoting good thyroid health and metabolism function, but many people do not get enough selenium in their diet (via Healthline). Snacking on a few Brazil nuts even just one or two times a week, will help ensure that your body is getting enough of this healthy nutrient. According to Healthline, a single one ounce serving of Brazil nuts contain 988% of the recommended daily intake for selenium, making it one of the most concentrated sources of the nutrient found naturally in a food. They also contain higher amounts of other healthy minerals than most other nuts, including copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, thiamine, and zinc.

Eating too many Brazil nuts can cause selenosis

Brazil nuts also have high amounts of healthy fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart problems, according to Medical News Today. Brazil nuts also contain a good amount of fiber, which has been shown to lower the risks of stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The nut also contains a high amount of antioxidants, including vitamin E, gallic acid, and ellagic acid, which are important for healthy functioning in several areas of the body. Studies have shown that antioxidants found in Brazil nuts can help lower inflammation, decrease the risk of certain neurodegenerative diseases, and help enhance brain function in older adults, per Healthline.

However, people should be aware that it is possible to eat too many Brazil nuts. Because of their high levels of selenium, consuming too many can lead to a dangerous condition called selenosis (via Medical News Today). Otherwise known as selenium toxicity, this illness can cause breathing problems, dizziness, fatigue, kidney failure, heart problems, and may even be life-threatening in some cases. So while you should be adding Brazil nuts to your diet, you really don't need to eat that many to reap their many health benefits. In fact, just one to three average-sized Brazil nuts a day is more than enough for most people to take advantage of all the beneficial fats, nutrients, and antioxidants in this healthy nut.