Which nut is the best one? Surely, some of them contain better or more nutrients and are more beneficial than the others. How to make the right choice among almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews, and many others?
Before answering these questions, I just wanted to point out that technically most of the above are not actually nuts; they are either kernels or seeds. But for culinary and nutrition purposes, let’s consider all of them nuts, given that many of them contain the word “nut” in their names.
The answer to the above questions is less complicated than you think: eat whichever nut tastes the best. Don’t worry about comparing fat content or other nutrients, just trust yourself and your taste buds. To give your taste buds a fair chance to choose the tastiest nut, you should try eating unsalted and preferably raw nuts. Otherwise, the salty nuts or the ones with other added ingredients, including monosodium glutamate (MSG!) or sugar, will obviously win.
At the end of the day, nuts are a snack though a very healthy one. So, it is very difficult to make the wrong choice. Plus, you don’t have to choose only one type of nut to eat. You can consume a few or all of them, allergy permitting, of course!
In this article, we will talk about one of the biggest nuts, the Brazil nut. It is one of my favorite nuts, although I am the only one in my family who eats it. Brazil nuts grows in South America (not just Brazil). In those countries, it is against the law to cut down a Brazil nut tree.For those who already eat Brazil nuts, the below list of this nut’s health benefits is just a reassurance that they have a superfood in their menu. For those who don’t eat them yet, these are seven reasons to try Brazil nuts and see if they like it or not.
- Selenium: Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium among foods. Only 1 kernel (about 5g or 1/6 of an ounce) will fulfill your daily requirement for selenium! Selenium is an important source for production of an efficient anti-oxidant enzyme called glutathione-peroxidase. Glutathione helps to fight against free radicals in the body that may cause cancer. Selenium also helps preventing liver cirrhosis and coronary heart disease.
- Other minerals: Brazil nuts also contain other minerals, such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese, though not in such quantities as selenium. Magnesium is important for muscle function as well as protein production. Copper helps with preventing anemia as it facilitates iron absorption and also affects bone health. Phosphorus is important for teeth and bone health. Manganese is an essential component for production of antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase.
- Vitamins: Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex are also found in Brazil nuts. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps to prevent skin cancer and maintain healthy mucus membranes. Vitamin B complex is important for cell metabolism.
- Fatty acids: Brazil nuts are notoriously high in fat, which makes up approximately 2/3 of its content by mass. As a result, its calorific content is impressive: 1 kernel has 33 Calories! Don’t be scared by that number though, especially if you are on a low-fat diet. Not all fat (or calories) is created equal. Most of the fat content comes from mono-unsaturated fatty acids, including palmitoleic and oleic acids. These mono-unsaturated fatty acids actually help to lower “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol. Brazil nuts also contain the famous omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the benefits of which are well-known to many people.
- Amino acids: Brazil nuts contain various amino acids, among which l-arginine is worth mentioning. This amino acid (together with selenium) helps to remove blood clots and maintain healthy blood vessels. It also helps with hair growth.
- Enzymes: In addition to facilitating production of some important enzymes, including glutathione (described above), Brazil nuts also contain an active enzyme, triiodothyronine. This enzyme facilitates production of the active thyroid hormone, thus, ensuring healthy thyroid function.
- Men’s health: The combination selenium, minerals and other nutrients, makes Brazil nuts a very good natural supplement for men’s health. Selenium is known to help to increase natural testosterone levels and reduce men’s infertility.
And finally, a couple of points about how to eat Brazil nuts properly. We have already covered the importance of soaking nuts in one of our previous articles. This will help to remove some bad stuff that they may contain. Also, given high content of selenium, it is recommended to eat not more than a couple of kernels of Brazil nuts a day. As with any other nuts, everything is good in moderation!