Nuts and seeds are an important part of many diets. Usually when people plan to supplement their diet with nuts or seeds, they think of walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, or flax seeds.
What about the Brazil nut? Does that one come to mind?
Don’t worry — you’re not alone! Even though many of us don’t think of Brazil nuts as a go-to snack, they can be a tasty and nutritious choice. Here are a few reasons why Brazil nuts should be a staple in your kitchen.
1. They're good for your heart.
The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in Brazil nuts can help to regulate blood pressure, without providing much sodium (as long as they are unsalted). As observed by the Mayo Clinic, this means that Brazil nuts make for a heart-healthy snack! If you want to be healthier, Brazil nuts can support that goal.
2. They can help to lower your cholesterol.
The fiber in Brazil nuts can help you lower your cholesterol. This is important, since high cholesterol is associated with heart disease and other heart problems. The Mayo Clinic notes that several studies show a cholesterol-lowering effect from eating nuts regularly.
3. They're a good source of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Brazil nuts are a good source of an antioxidant called selenium. According to the Cleveland Clinic, antioxidants help to keep disease at bay, and are specifically linked to a lower risk of heart disease. It’s important to note that taking antioxidant supplements does not provide the same benefits as eating foods high in antioxidants — which is another good reason to choose Brazil nuts!
4. They decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.
The high quantity of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and relatively low saturated fat content can help to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Can you sense a theme here? There are many great nutrients in Brazil nuts that work to make the heart stronger!
5. The fat in Brazil nuts won’t make you overweight.
Quite the contrary. Even though nuts are high in fat, they are all healthy fats. And thanks to the combination of other nutrients in nuts, you really don’t have to worry about increasing your body weight, as long as you enjoy appropriate portion sizes of nuts.
In fact, the Mayo Clinic notes that a variety of studies have demonstrated that nut consumption can actually help aid weight loss. They help make you feel full and that can mean lower intake of less healthy snacks. That’s right: You could even lose weight by eating nuts!
6. They're a good source of copper, which helps to build tissue and generate energy in the cells.
Copper is one of those minerals that’s really important for our health. It doesn’t get its place in the spotlight as much as other minerals, like the aforementioned calcium. Enjoy a couple Brazil nuts each day to increase the copper in your body and promote overall wellness.
7. They support the nervous system.
Did you know that one of the most common nutritional deficiencies out there is thiamine (vitamin B-1)? The benefits of thiamine are lost during processing, so we lose out on the benefits when we eat too many processed foods.
Thiamine may even be connected to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. This means that not only are Brazil nuts a good choice for heart health, but they’re a good choice for brain health.
8. You don’t have to eat a lot of them to make a big impact on your daily nutrient requirements.
In fact, you can get the same amount of calories from just nine Brazil nuts as you can from more than 30 almonds! Brazil nuts are quite large compared to other nuts. Even eating just a couple each day can be a highly nutritious snack choice.
9. They're a complete protein.
When you aren’t eating animal products, you’ll often have to combine a couple of different foods to get a “complete” protein, which is all nine amino acids. Rice and beans are a classic example of this. Brazil nuts, however, contain all of those essential amino acids, though you may have to eat quite a few to get an adequate amount of protein! That means that Brazil nuts can contribute to your overall protein intake, and make for a wonderful everyday staple.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a healthy — and tasty! — snack to enjoy after a workout, at the office, or between meals, Brazil nuts are a smart choice.
Sagan Morrow is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a professional lifestyle blogger at SaganMorrow.com. She has a background as a certified holistic nutritionist.