Brazil nuts are commonly added to nut mixes but rarely sold alone. These nuts are grown primarily in South American countries like Venezuela, Peru, Columbia, Bolivia and Brazil. Although commonly called a nut, they are actually the seeds from the fruit of the large Brazil nut trees. The fruit takes 14 months to mature before the hard shell can be opened, revealing the Brazil nuts (seeds).
Nutritional Value of Brazil Nuts
1 ounce of raw Brazil Nuts, ~6 nuts
Fat: 19g / 29% DV
Saturated Fat: 4g / 21% DV
Carbohydrates: 3 g/ 1% DV
Fiber: 2g / 8% DV
Protein: 4g / 8% DV
Selenium: 542mcg / 774% DV
Magnesium: 106mg / 27% DV
Copper: 0.5mg / 25% DV
Phosphorus: 205mg / 20% DV
Manganese: 0.3mg / 17% DV
Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts
- High levels of selenium in Brazil nuts can help you meet your daily needs. Selenium is used by the body to help protect cells from damage, boost immune function and aid in cellular growth. It is linked to helping protect you from heart disease. But be careful not to consume too much, as excess selenium can a problem.
- Brazil nuts are also a good source of magnesium which is a mineral that is part of more than 300 body enzymes. Enzymes work to regulate all types of bodily functions, including muscle contractions and production of energy, nerve transmissions and body proteins. Magnesium is also an important part of bones.
- Copper is also found in Brazil nuts and is a trace mineral that helps your body make hemoglobin, as well as also serving as a part of many body enzymes. Copper helps your body produce energy in cells and helps develop connective tissue.
- Another major mineral found in these nuts is phosphorus, which also is needed to generate energy in every cell in your body. It works as the main regulator of energy metabolism and is part of DNA and RNA, which determines cell growth and repair.
Recipes with Brazil Nuts
- Try substituting pine nuts with Brazil nuts for a similar but different flavor to your pesto.
- Like many nuts, Brazil nuts go great with chocolate. Add to cookies, desserts, and grate as a topping on your ice cream.
- Tired of peanut butter and almond butter? Try making Brazil nut butter at home!
- Date and Brazil nut clusters can be a great protein treat to go with your morning coffee.
- If you like the flavor of Brazil nuts, consider trying Brazil nut oil. Although harder to find, this oil has high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and can be used on dry skin, hair and for cooking!
Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.