Amazon’s crowded forest grasps some of the unique plant species that commonly consumed as nuts such as Brazil nuts. Botanically, brazil-nut belongs to the lecythis family (Lecythidaceae), which is native to South America. Some of Brazil’s nut importing countries are United States, Bolivia, Australia, Hong Kong, and several other European countries.
Nutritionally, Brazil nuts are an excellent source of nutrients, including calories, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They also contain protein, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E. And minerals such as selenium (Se), magnesium, phosphorus calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and thiamine.
Nutrition’s Facts of Brazil Nuts
Fats in Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts packed with healthy fats called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Brazil nuts contain approximately 21% of PUFAs, 25% of MUFAs, and 15% of saturated fatty acids. It also contains about 7% of omega-3 fatty acids (a-linolenic acid) of total fats.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), consuming monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats helps to improve cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Vitamins in Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are rich sources of vitamin-E; contain about 5.65 mg per 100 g. It is a potent lipid-soluble antioxidant that maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosa by keeping it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
They are also a good source of B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and folates. All these vitamins are essential and work as co-factors for enzymes during metabolism.
Great Source of Selenium
Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary sources of selenium, which is an essential mineral, works as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme. A single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium. While obtaining enough selenium can help prevent liver cirrhosis, coronary artery disease, and cancers.
The deficiency of selenium can lead to hormonal imbalance that can negatively affect mood, sleep, metabolism, and concentration. It plays an essential role in hormone production, and the thyroid gland uses selenium to convert thyroxin hormone (T4) into its active form, triiodothyronine hormone (T3).
In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts are a good source of other minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. Copper helps prevent osteoporosis, leading cause of anemia and bone weakness. Like selenium, Manganese is also co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Antioxidant of Brazil nuts
Eating Brazil nuts might help prevent oxidative anxiety. Phytochemical are obtain from Brazil nuts shows antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. All these are from the combination of selenium and phytochemicals.
Other antioxidants are tocopherol, which has been lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by preventing LDL cholesterol oxidation.