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Why You Need to be Eating Brazil Nuts

By July 17, 2017Eat, Nutrition

A brazil nut a day keeps the doctor away.

Yes, seriously: just one. Brazil nuts pack so much of a benefit that even one of these powerhouse nuts will have you feeling the benefits.

Just what makes them so good for you? Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that we don’t hear about too often, especially compared to the big guns like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. However, this essential mineral deserves way more attention for all of the incredible things it can do.

According to famous nutritionist and wellness guru, Dr. Axe, selenium is vital for the body’s functioning day to day. Its main role is protective, acting as an antioxidant and working in sync with vitamin E. Together, they fight the degradation of cells, reduce oxidative stress and free radicals, and help reduce the risk of cancer.

Reduces the risk of cancer

Mind-blowingly, the little mineral works as a mechanic: it repairs cells that have been damaged by cancerous cell mutations. This means selenium consumption can significantly decrease your risk of cancer. For people who already have some form of cancer in their bodies, it can slow its progression.

Reduces inflammation

Selenium also fights free radicals by enhancing blood flow, reducing inflammation. 

Enhances thyroid function

For all my ladies out there, you should know that selenium plays a vital role in thyroid function. Essentially, it acts as a catalyst for hormone production. You want that: your thyroid is in charge of many important functions like sleep, hunger, energy and metabolism. So helping your thyroid out can really help you out in important aspects of your life such as your energy levels, sleep cycle, and overall wellness.

How to get the selenium you need

So how much selenium do you really need to reap those benefits, and how can you get it? Since selenium is used for your basic day to day functioning, it gets flushed out of your system on a regular basis. You should replenish your store of the mineral daily.

And that, my friends, is where brazil nuts come in.

The recommended dietary allowance (or RDA) of selenium is 55 micrograms. Just one ounce of brazil nuts, about 6-8 nuts, provides over 500 micrograms. Do some math, and that means one nut provides over 60 micrograms– right at that RDA!

When I say one brazil nut, I mean one, though: be careful. Eating more than two brazil nuts a day gives you excessive levels of selenium, which can be toxic to the body instead of beneficial.

Brazil nuts and the rainforest

Brazil nuts are also a sustainable food, meaning that their production isn’t at al destructive to the environment. There are no brazil nut tree plantations– they can only grow in natural, healthy conditions in the rainforest. So buying brazil nuts not only provides immense nutritional benefit, but it also supports the maintenance of one of the Earth’s most incredible and endangered places. Every day, the rainforest is being threatened by other destructive farming methods. Keeping these farmers employed by keeping brazil nuts in demand increases incentive to protect the beautiful rainforest, rather than cut it down. 

So do your body and the Earth a favor, and go buy some brazil nuts.

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Author Kelsey Jesaitis

Kelsey is a sophomore at Binghamton University in New York studying psychology. Some things she loves includes: taking spin classes, going on hikes, eating ice cream, and baking all kinds of fun desserts. If she's not in class or studying, she's probably at the gym or watching Parks and Rec on Netflix.

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