Brazil Nuts – Facts, Origin & Benefits
- Wednesday March 8th, 2023
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Brazil
Brazil nuts are edible seeds growing inside the fruit of the Brazil nut tree. The fruit is relatively big, weighing around 1.5 kg and usually containing around 20 seeds each. The nut is rich in nutrients, especially selenium, potassium, and phosphorus.
In Brazil, the nut is called Castanha-do-Pará, which means ‘chestnuts from Pará’, a state in the northeast region of Brazil.
Are Brazil Nuts From Brazil?
The Brazil nuts are endemic to tropical forests in the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. However, they are much more abundant in Brazil and Bolivia. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, about 73,000 tons of the nut were harvested in 2021, of which Brazil is responsible for 45 percent, Bolivia for 42 percent, and Peru for 9 percent of total production.
Sadly, Brazilian production fell drastically between 1970 and 1980 due to the deforestation of the Amazon forest.
Benefits of the Brazil Nuts
The Brazil nut is rich in protein, fiber, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins B and E.
The selenium present in Brazil nuts is great for increasing the body’s antioxidant system and preventing oxidative stress. They also have antioxidant effects that can improve brain function. These antioxidants also help reduce LDL cholesterol and consequently decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
But be aware! Experts say the consumption of up to two Brazil nuts per day should not be exceeded, because it can lead to excessive amounts of selenium in the body.
Because it is rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin B, omega-3, and vitamin E, the regular consumption of Brazil nuts favors the health of hair, skin, and nails. Furthermore, a study reported that eating a Brazil nut per day has positive effects on cognitive functions among older adults with cognitive impairment.
The seeds can be consumed in natura or roasted, as well as used to make flour, desserts, and ice cream.
- Brazil nut oil is used as a lubricant.
- The oil is also used in cosmetics, such as soap, perfume, and lotions.
- Charcoal is used to purify water.
- The lumber from Brazil nut trees is of excellent quality, especially for flooring.
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