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Brazil Nuts

by Alyssa Adler on June 14, 2016

Not Too Nuts!

By Alyssa Adler

Interestingly, Brazil nuts are technically seeds that are found inside of a coconut-like shell. This shell can contain up to 20 to 30 nuts and is grown on 150-foot treetops in Latin American countries.

Similar to all nuts, Brazil nuts are nutrient dense and contain high amounts of fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants (NIH). The fats in Brazil nuts are mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, which are heart healthy and help lower cholesterol. These nuts are also a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Brazil nuts contain high amounts of the element selenium. In fact, one Brazil nut alone gives you all the selenium that you need for the day! According to the National Institute of Health, selenium is suggested to have preventative effects with cancer such as targeting DNA repair, cell destruction, and immune system functioning. On the flip side, excess consumption of Brazil nuts can lead to selenium poisoning from aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic. So, incorporating small amounts of Brazil nuts can be beneficial for your health, but don’t go too nuts!

Ann’s Tips

Brazil nuts can be found in grocery stores raw (shelled or unshelled), roasted or salted. The high fat content in these nuts makes them more susceptible to rancidity when exposed to air or sunlight. But, buying these nuts in the shell allows for a longer shelf life. Look for nuts that are whole, firm, unbroken and brown in color. Store these nuts in an airtight bag in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.

Recipe Tips

Brazil nuts have a variety of uses in the kitchen. Consume these nuts for a snack, or add them over a fruit or vegetable salad. Brazil nuts are also used as a topper on baked goods, puddings, and fruitcakes. Additionally, Brazil nut oil is an ingredient used in baking or salad dressings. Although Brazil nuts are extremely versatile, it is important to be mindful of the total consumption of Brazil nuts due to high aflatoxin levels.


Alyssa Adler is a recent Boston University Graduate from Long Island, New York. She is a 2016 CFYL summer web intern. She graduated in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics. Her goal is to attend graduate school in the fall of 2017 in pursuit of a Masters degree in dietetics and eventually obtain her Registered Dietitian license. Last June, Alyssa started a food blog called Red Delicious and Nutritious. Her blog focuses on healthy eating and living and how decadent foods can be made wholesome and delicious.

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