Introducing the mighty, large-and-in-charge Brazil nut!
If you’ve ever snacked on one of those giant bulk-size containers of mixed nuts, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already familiar with these nutritional powerhouses, even if you didn’t realize that’s what you were munchin’ on.
Let’s not waste one second and dive straight into the ah-mazing health benefits of these bad boys!
The Curated Kitchen
WHY YOU NEED ‘EM //
Like other nuts, these Amazonian giants are a great source of healthy fats but the real reason people go crazy over the Brazil nut is for it’s high selenium content.
Selenium is an important micronutrient that has been shown to play a role in reducing allergies and inflammation and improving thyroid and immune function. Keep in mind it only takes 2-3 Brazil nuts a day to get 200 mg of selenium, which is the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) and the safe tolerable upper limit is 400 mg (i.e. the highest amount you should consume if taking a supplemental form).
However, a little goes a long way and too much can lead to fatigue, irritability, poor GI health, and even mild nerve damage. Not to scare you away from Brazil nuts, of course, I just want to make sure you don’t think more is better because that’s usually not the case.
And if you don’t really like nuts or have a nut allergy, not to worry!
Other sources of selenium include wild cod, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, chicken, eggs, and turkey.
FUN FACTS //
Because your championship title at trivia may someday depend on your knowledge of this single nut. I mean, it probably won’t (heck you may not even like trivia), but it could be a fabulous conversation start, right? Ow ow!
+ It takes about 15-30 years before the evergreen trees (from which Brazil nuts grow) will start producing the fruit but they live for 500-800 years (whoa) and can yield up to 250-500 pounds of seed pods (whoa again)
+ The trees really only thrive in the wild of Brazil (obvi) and Peru and attempts to cultivate them outside of these areas have failed
+ There are only a handful of Brazil nut plantations and most of the nuts we consume today are harvested from a few wild “stands” of about 50 to 100 trees
+ Harvesters have to wear protective helmets and gear because the pods are so heavy and fall from so far up, they could kill someone on impact (yikes)
+ It’s a great source of protein and two contain about the same calories as an egg!
+ In Brazil, the nuts are steeped in a tea used to soothe stomach aches
+ Brazil nuts are the richest natural source of selenium
NUTRITION HIGHLIGHTS //
Serving size: 1 nut kernel*
Calories: 33 kcals
Protein: 0.7 g
Fat: 3.3 g
Carbohydrates: 0.6 g
Fiber: 0.4 g
Nutrients: vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, omega 3s, potassium and so many more!
Note: An actual serving size is more like 2-3 nuts, but the nutrition outlined above reflects nutrient in one single kernel, ~5 grams.
WAYS TO EAT ‘EM //
Straight Up. Make your own nut blend or simply enjoy them exactly as you find them, but don’t go too crazy—these guys are very calorically dense!
Oatmeal + Porridge. Top your warm breakfast with finely chopped nuts for extra crunch and healthy fats.
Yogurts + Chia Pudding. Add a bit to the top of a yogurt or or stir it into chia fruit parfait.
Toast. Blend with other nuts into a mixed nut butter and slather on top of locally baked gluten-free bread (try Bread Srsly, seriously).
Salads. Chop and add just as you would any other nut. They taste extra delicious with this strawberry quinoa salad.
Desserts + Treats. Healthy ones, obviously like banana ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Yum!
SHOP SMART //
You can find Brazil nuts in the bulk bin section of most grocers and markets.
TIPS + ADVICE //
All nuts are best kept in the fridge (or even better the freezer) because their high fat content makes them prone to rancidity. When stored properly, shelled Brazil nuts will keep for up to two months.
A little goes a LONG way with selenium so don’t over do it with the Brazil nuts. Honestly, 1-2 a day every few days or a week will provide you with more than enough selenium.
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
Have you ever had a Brazil nut? What did you think? What are your favorite nuts to stock and snack on?
Until next time friends!