The Brazil nut is a popular nut and one that you the reader may well have eaten before. With its distinctive name, one might assume that the main exporter could have been Brazil, however it has been apparently Bolivia. It may also be of note, that whilst cooks may classify the Brazil nut to be a nut, actually botanists may instead think of it as a seed due to that nut shells split in half and the meat being separate from the shell.
Looking at Brazil nuts’ benefits in relation to nutrition, we can see that they have 18% protein according to their weight, with also 13% carbohydrates and 69% fat additionally. It is stated that 91% of the calories from Brazil nuts come from fat. In terms of the percentages for fat, it is said to be approximately 25% for saturated, 41% for monounsaturated and last of all 34% for polyunsaturated. It is stated that Brazil nuts’ saturated fat content is within the highest for nuts above macadamia nuts, which are mainly monounsaturated and also they are used for oil. It is said that due to their rich taste, cooks can use Brazil nuts for a replacement of macadamia nuts/coconut within recipes.
Moreover, because they have a high polyunsaturated fat amount, which is mainly omega 6, Brazil nuts which have been shelled may soon start to get rancid. Brazil nuts’ benefits include that they are purported to be a useful source of certain vitamins and minerals. For example, if one takes a cup of the nuts (133g), they may have 0.8 mg of thiamin and 7.6 mg of vitamin E. Moreover, calcium can be 213 mg, additionally magnesium at 500 mg, phosphorus at 946 mg, copper at 2.3 mg and last of all manganese at 1.6 mg. Additionally, Brazil nuts are meant to be very high in selenium (perhaps the best known) with one ounce giving 10x the USRDA – however, the actual amount per Brazil nut intake could vary. It has been said that selenium can reduce breast/prostate cancer and thus some nutritionists have suggested to intake them for protection – however it is reported that some investigations have not been conclusive on the effects for prostate cancer.
In addition to all these constituents, Brazil nuts also have a high amount of phytic acid with 2-6% for dry weight. It is said that this constituent can prevent absorbing some nutrients, primarily iron – however, apparently the jury has still been out on its overall benefit. It is also stated that Brazil nuts can have small quantities of radium – this radioactive amount was very small – 1-7 pCi/g – 40-260 Bq/kg and the largest amount of this was not retained – however, it is said to still be over one thousand times greater than other foods – it has been asserted that this is due to the extensive roots for the trees.