Brazil nuts: uses and nutritional benefits

The Amazonian walnut or Brazilian walnut is a huge tree from South America. It belongs to the Lecythidaceae family. In Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, it constitutes an interesting source of income for its seeds: Brazil Nuts. Brazil nuts are considered one of the most concentrated food sources of selenium. This trace element confers many therapeutic virtues to the nuts, including a strong antioxidant power and a real interest for the thyroid. Brazil Nuts also offer a wide range of nutrients, all as interesting as each other: polyunsaturated fatty acids to fight against cardiovascular disorders, fiber to act on the digestive system, manganese and copper that accentuate the antioxidant power of selenium ... This super-nut has everything to please, so much so that one nut a day is enough to stimulate the antioxidant defenses of the body. Latin name : Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl. Botanical family : Lecythidaceae. Part used : Almond.

Recommended consumption

Due to the energy density of Brazil Nuts and their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, daily consumption recommendations are defined:

  • In classic cure or for pleasure: a portion of Brazil Nuts is estimated at 15 g per day, which represents four Brazil Nuts per day.
  • As an antioxidant treatment: one Brazil Nut per day, for eight weeks, shows an increase in the body's antioxidant activity.
In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • Roasted, toasted
  • In pieces
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to facilitate their intake:

  • Dessert
  • Yoghurt, dairy
  • Only
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
  • Muesli
Precautions for use
  • Allergen : Nuts

Health Nutrition Benefits

15g of Brazil Nuts contain a significant portion of the Population Nutritional Reference (PNR) of the following nutrients Vitamin B1, Copper, Selenium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus. They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Fiber, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, and Vitamin E.

As such, Brazil Nuts can complement your healthy and varied diet.

Hormonal system

The thyroid is the most selenium-rich organ. Its functioning depends on selenium, so a selenium deficiency increases the prevalences of thyroid disorders (see our guide hypothyroidism and diet). In light of their richness in selenium, Brazil Nuts ensure proper thyroid function and increase thyroid hormone levels in the blood. On another level, Brazil Nuts also support testosterone levels in the blood responsible for sexual functions.


The production of free radicals is natural. Nevertheless, hyperproduction or insufficient elimination of free radicals is a source of stress for the cells. Brazil Nuts stimulate antioxidant defenses by providing trace elements essential to their functioning: manganese, copper, selenium and zinc.

In addition, they are carriers of vitamin E and vitamin B2: two antioxidant vitamins. In another area, they reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol. Thus, they help the body to control these intakes and prevent hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia. Moreover, polyunsaturated fatty acids lower the concentrations of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride in the blood. Associated with their antioxidant power, they fight against cardiovascular pathologies.

Nervous system, well-being

Fatigue is one of the first symptoms caused by nutritional and energy deficiencies. Brazil Nuts are energy carriers through their lipids. They contribute to the production of energy by providing the nutrients necessary for the metabolism, such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese. Moreover, iron, magnesium and vitamin B2 (all present in Brazil nuts) reduce the feeling of fatigue. Intellectual functions will also benefit from these nutrients, as iron and zinc are involved in the activity of cognitive functions.

Sexuality and reproduction

By providing zinc and selenium, Brazil Nuts will contribute to male fertility. Selenium contributes to spermatogenesis and zinc is a constituent of seminal fluid.

Immune system

Brazil Nuts stimulate the immune response by providing immunomodulating micronutrients: copper, iron, selenium and zinc.

Body, face and hair care

Nails and hair are made of keratin. Dietary deficiencies can weaken keratin. Brazil Nuts participate in the good formation of keratin, thanks to selenium and zinc, which increases the resistance of nails and hair. Brazil Nuts also participate in the beauty of the skin, thanks to zinc, copper and vitamin B2. These protect the skin and the mucous membranes.

Finally, Brazil Nuts prevent and slow down many signs of aging. Against white hair first, by copper which stimulates the synthesis of melanin (dark pigment, whose production is reduced with age). Then limit the appearance of wrinkles, thanks to copper associated with manganese. They contribute to the formation and maintenance of connective tissue. Finally, the antioxidant power of Brazil nuts fights against the appearance of skin spots.

Bone system

The inorganic part of the skeleton consists of minerals. Mostly calcium and phosphorus, and to a lesser extent magnesium, manganese and zinc. By the contribution of these minerals, the Brazil Nuts take part in the solidity of the bones, to integrate within the framework of a balanced diet.

Muscles and joints

Some foods can be preferred in case of muscle contraction disorders. Brazil nuts are one of them, since they provide magnesium, potassium and calcium: minerals responsible for muscle contraction.

Children and babies

Stunted growth can result from inadequate nutrition: in quantity or quality. Brazil Nuts are nutrient dense, especially in lipids and minerals. Lipids provide calories to promote growth. Minerals: calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, play a role in the processes of cell division, at the origin of tissue growth. Within the framework of a sufficient, varied and balanced diet, the nutrients of Brazil nuts contribute to growth.

Oral system

An erosion of the dental enamel increases the vulnerability and sensitivity of the teeth. Brazil Nuts prevent decalcification of teeth by providing calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals make up the mineralized tissues of the teeth.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Contributing to thyroid metabolism (selenium): Brazil Nuts are known to be rich in selenium. A single handful of Brazil Nuts meets 1/3 of our daily selenium needs. Especially since it is present in the form of selenomethionine, which makes it highly bioavailable for the body. This trace element is essential for the thyroid: it activates deiodase, the enzyme that converts the hormone T4 to T3.
  • Anti-oxidant (copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin E, zinc): Brazil Nuts neutralize free radicals. They provide zinc, selenium, copper and manganese: the cofactors of antioxidant enzymes. Moreover, we find vitamins E and B2 which protect the cells against the oxidative stress.
  • Anti-inflammatory: a scientific study shows that a single intake of about 35 g of Brazil Nuts reduced levels of pro-inflammatory interleukins and interleukin-10, markers of inflammation
  • Contributing to energy metabolism (lipid, zinc, vitamin B2, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper): Brazil Nuts have a high nutritional density, since they are mostly composed of lipids. After the total catabolism of one gram of lipid, the body obtains nine kcal. The catabolism of macronutrients in general involves the optimal intake of micronutrients. Here again, Brazil Nuts will contribute to the metabolism of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates by providing zinc, vitamin B2, phosphorus, iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium and copper.
  • Antihypertensive (potassium, low sodium): Brazil Nuts are naturally low in sodium. Conversely, they are a source of potassium. These two minerals modulate blood pressure.
  • Cardiovascular Protector(polyunsaturated fatty acid, fiber): the good fats in Brazil Nuts regulate cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in the serum. Omega-3 increase HDL-cholesterol (protective cholesterol, or good cholesterol) and decrease triglyceride levels. Omega-6s lower LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol). In addition, these nuts are rich in fiber. Fiber captures cholesterol and bile salts, which moderates cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Secondary properties

  • Contributing to fertility (selenium, zinc, lipid): Brazil Nuts participate in the proper functioning of reproductive functions. On the female side, too low intakes of lipids negatively influence fertility; Brazil Nuts are rich in good lipids. In men, selenium and zinc are involved in the synthesis and functioning of spermatozoa. Zinc also contributes to the maintenance of testosterone levels in the blood (a good level of testosterone is associated with the proper functioning of reproductive functions). Here, Brazil Nuts are rich in selenium and zinc.
  • Immunomodulating (copper, iron, selenium, zinc): Brazil Nuts participate in the proper functioning of the immune system. They provide micronutrients involved in the immune response, i.e. copper, iron, selenium and zinc.
  • Anti-fatigue (magnesium, iron, vitamin B2): certain nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of iron, magnesium or vitamin B2, increases feelings of fatigue. Brazil Nuts are rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin B2, they contribute to the needs of these nutrients.
  • Participating in muscle function (calcium, magnesium, potassium): Brazil Nuts are carriers of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Muscle fiber contraction depends on potassium and magnesium for nerve impulse transmission and calcium for muscle fiber shortening.
  • Fortifying (selenium, zinc): through their richness in zinc and selenium, Brazil Nuts strengthen nails. These trace elements participate in maintaining normal nails.
  • Participating in tissue growth (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc): the Brazil Nuts provide the micronutrients necessary for the process of cell division. This process, named mitosis, allows cells to regenerate and multiply.
  • Remineralizing (calcium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc): Brazil Nuts are richly mineralized nuts. These minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc; provide mineralization of supporting tissues (bone, cartilage, etc.).
  • Hair Strengthener (copper, selenium, zinc): thanks to selenium and zinc, Brazil Nuts strengthen and protect hair. In addition, the contribution of copper raises the pigmentation of the hair. Copper is involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment responsible for hair color: the darker the hair, the more melanin there is inside the hair bulb.
  • Skin protector (copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin E, zinc): Brazil Nuts are rich in copper. The latter participates in the synthesis of melanin. Melanin is a dark pigment that protects the DNA of cells from damage caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays. Without forgetting its antioxidant power which limits the premature ageing of the skin.
  • Calming (magnesium): Brazil Nuts balance emotions and promote calming, thanks to magnesium. Magnesium supports psychological functions.
  • Firming (copper, manganese): Brazil Nuts support skin structure by providing copper and manganese. These trace elements help maintain connective tissue.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

Learn more about the plant : The Amazonian Walnut

The Amazonian walnut or Brazilian walnut is a large tree of the Lecythidaceae family. Because of its large size: 30 to 50 m high, it is called the King of the Amazonian forest, yet it is slow growing. The tree has a large trunk easily 2 m in diameter. Its leaves are green, oblong and measure on average 30 cm. From August to November, the yellow inflorescences of the Amazonian walnut are born. In the fall, it fruits to give hard and woody shells, which can weigh up to 2 kg. Each shell contains about 20 triangular seeds: Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are picked on the ground and are a source of income for many Amazonians. Currently, Brazil has the largest area of walnut in the Amazon, while Bolivia is the world's largest producer.

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