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The Nutrition of Brazil Nuts

Jul 31, 2010

Brazil nuts are large seeds that grow in South American virgin rainforests. The crescent shaped seeds are enclosed in a dark brown, hard shell. The high fat, high calorie nuts are much loved because of their rich, creamy flavor. They have one of the highest contents of selenium amongst all nuts. They also contain iron, copper, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and magnesium. A 1 ounce serving of the nuts contains almost 200 calories. Below are some of the nutrients found in these nuts and their role in the body.

Selenium

The remarkably high selenium content in the nuts gives them a potent antioxidant property. Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium. This mineral works with proteins to produce antioxidant enzymes. These help to prevent cellular damage by free radicals. Selenium enhances the efficacy of the immune system. It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and prostrate cancer. It also slows down the aging process and enables the thyroid gland to function properly. However, too much selenium can upset the stomach, cause irritability, fatigue, and loss of hair and nails.

Magnesium

A 1 ounce serving of magnesium provides about 65 mg of magnesium. Brazil nuts have one of the highest amounts of magnesium amongst plant foods. This vital mineral enhances the release of energy from foods to support nerve and muscular functions. Magnesium supports the absorption of calcium in the body. It plays a vital role in the formation of healthy teeth and bones. The risk of osteoporosis can be reduced significantly by adequate intake of magnesium in the diet.

Magnesium supports a healthy heart. It helps to maintain healthy levels of blood pressure, normalizes the heart rhythm and assists blood to clot properly in the heart. This reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease. The mineral also enables steady recovery in the event of a stroke. It plays a vital role n the formation of new cells and helps to relax stiff and strained muscles.

Protein

The nuts contain the complete range of proteins. This supplies all the essential amino acids necessary for optimal growth and development. Brazil nuts can serve as an ideal source of protein in a vegetarian diet.

Fats

Most nuts have a good combination of healthy fats. Brazil nuts contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats help to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood. However, the nuts have a higher content of saturated fats than other nuts. As such, it is important that you consume them in moderation. Excessive intake leads to high cholesterol levels. This increases the risk of heart-related health complications.

Fiber

The nuts have a high content of fiber. Once consumed, they make you feel full. This helps to regulate food intake. When eaten in moderation and combined with other healthy foods, the nuts can enable proper weight control. Adequate fiber in the diet contributes to optimal intestinal functions. This allows one to pass stool regularly and with ease.

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