Brazil nuts are technically seeds, not nuts, but their brown nut-like casings have led most people to call them nuts. They are produced by a South American tree which tends to grow in virgin rain forests, and they are an extremely popular food source in many Latin American nations, as well of the rest of the world. The nuts have a rich, creamy flavor which lends itself well to an assortment of dishes in addition to being tasty on its own.
Benefits of Brazil nuts:
- Builds Immune System: Selenium in Brazilian nuts is also beneficial for building the immune system and helps wounds to heal. Just 3 to 4 Brazil nuts a day can fulfill your entire selenium requirement.
- Lowers Heart Related Diseases: According to medical research, selenium in these nuts also provides protection from heart diseases. Brazil nuts are also high in omega-6 fatty acids that can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Supports Healthy Cholesterol Profile: Brazil nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) such as palmitoleic acid and oleic acid that help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood.
- Lowers Cancer Risks: The minerals and vitamins present in Brazil nuts can reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancers such as prostate, colon, stomach, lung and breast cancers.
- Improves Male Fertility: Being a powerful antioxidant, selenium is known to protect the body from cellular damage by free radicals and improves male fertility.
- Contains all Essential Minerals: Apart from selenium, they contain other minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. Copper prevents anemia and osteoporosis (bone weakness) whereas manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
How to use Brazil nuts:
- Brazil nuts can be eaten raw or used in cooking. Whole, they are used in confectionary and are good for decorating fruit cakes or larger cakes because of their nice shape and size.
- Roughly ground, they make good toppings for desserts and add crunch to rice or vegetable dishes.
- Ground Brazil nuts can be stirred into cakes and cheesecake bases.