Like all tree nuts, Brazil nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals beneficial to health. Regularly eating nuts has been shown to contribute to heart health, reduce overall mortality and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, assist with weight management, reduce the risk of cancer, improve sperm quality, reduce depression and overall promote good health. 

A 30g serve is around 10 Brazil nuts.

Nutrient Per 100g Per 30g
energy
Energy (kJ) 2886 866
macronutrients
Protein (g) 14.4 4.3
Total fat (g) 68.5 21
Saturated fat (g) 14.8 4
Monounsaturated fat (g) 21.8 6.5
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 29 8.7
Omega 3 ALA 0 0
Carbohydrate (g) 2.4 0.7
Sugars (g) 2.1 0.6
Dietary fibre (g) 8.5 2.6
minerals
Calcium (mg) 150 45
Copper (mg) 2 0.6
Iron (mg) 2.2 0.7
Magnesium (mg) 350 105
Manganese (mg) 0.8 0.2
Potassium (mg) 560 168
Selenium (ug) 1917 575
Sodium (mg) 2 0.6
Zinc (mg) 4.1 1.2
vitamins
Thiamin (mg) 0.6 0.2
Riboflavin (mg) 0.4 0.1
Niacin (mg eq) 3 0.9
Folate DFE (ug) 22 6.6
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.3 0.1
Vitamin E (mg) 5.3 1.6
other
Arginine (g) 2.1 0.6
Sterols (mg) 123 37
Polyphenols (mg) 310 93

Health effects

In addition to the health benefits that all tree nuts provide, Brazil nuts have been associated with: 

  • Increasing selenium levels in the blood, thereby improving selenium status [1].

What makes Brazil nuts unique

  • Compared to other tree nuts, Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, with just two nuts providing the RDI, and contain higher amounts of copper, magnesium and phosphorous. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and helps maintain resistance to disease. 
  • Magnesium and phosphorus have a structural role in bone building, while copper aids in nervous system function and the formation of red blood cells, and skin and hair pigments.
  • They contain a similar amount of both poly- and monounsaturated fats – important for their role in heart health.
  • Brazil nuts are high in the amino acid arginine. Arginine is converted to nitric acid in the body which causes blood vessels to relax and remain elastic, preventing blood clotting.
  • Brazil nuts are a source of polyunsaturated fat and naturally low in sugar and sodium.
  • They are a source of copper, zinc, thiamin and vitamin E, and are high in magnesium and selenium. 

Where they are grown

Brazil nuts can only grow in South America, as they need the rainforests of the Amazon valley of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia to grow.

Forms and best eaten with…

  • Brazil nuts tend to be available as whole nuts only.
  • Brazil nuts are great popped inside a fresh date or pitted prune.
  • Brazil nuts make good butters when combined with almonds and cashews to make ‘ABC’ butter.

Storage

Remove nuts from plastic bags and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to 4 months and frozen for up to 6 months. Remember, bringing nuts back to room temperature before eating can help them taste nuttier.

References

  1. Thomson, C.D., et al., Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr, 2008. 87(2): p. 379-84.
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