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5 Things You Need to Know About Brazil Nuts Nutrition

By Livestrong Contributor

Overflowing With Selenium

Brazil nuts are widely recognized for containing high amounts of selenium. Selenium is considered to be part of the group of heart healthy compounds called antioxidants. It works with proteins in the body to make antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants are known for their ability to prevent cellular damage. These helpful compounds may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Higher in Saturated Fat

In general nuts are known for their combination of healthy fats. They are typically high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are known for lowering the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. Most nuts do contain some saturated fat, but when eaten in moderation the benefits of the heart healthy fats outweigh the small amount of saturated fat they provide. Brazil nuts follow the same nutrient structure as other nuts, but they are higher in saturated fat. Therefore, moderation is especially important when consuming them. While they contain heart healthy benefits, too many will cause an unhealthy increase in your saturated fat intake.

Be Cautious of the Calories

While nuts are full of healthy nutrients, they are also very calorie dense. Nuts, including Brazil nuts, should be consumed in moderation to reduce the risk of consuming excess calories. An increase in caloric intake can eventually lead to weight gain so remember to keep portion sizes in check. About 8 Brazil nuts, or a 1 ounce serving, contains almost 200 calories.

Unsalted Is Better

Sodium is always a concern when it comes to packaged or processed foods. Brazil nuts fall into this category when they are salted and packaged for purchase. Salted nuts can greatly increase your daily sodium intake and excess sodium is associated with high blood pressure, or hypertension. Lightly salted nuts can be a good choice, just check the nutrition label to know how much sodium you are consuming in a serving. Adults should consume less than 2,300 mg/day of sodium. Choose unsalted nuts for a lower sodium option.

A Little Goes a Long Way

While Brazil nuts are full of nutrients, consuming too many can have a negative affect on your health. These nuts are incredibly high in selenium and while it is a necessary nutrient, too much selenium can cause stomach upset, hair and nail loss, irritability and fatigue. While the specific amount of selenium in each nut can vary it is estimated that one Brazil nut provides 160% of an adult?s daily need for selenium. One Brazil nut a day can easily fulfill the body?s selenium requirement. Ten Brazil nuts provide 15 times the amount of selenium recommended. Since toxicity levels can be seen at 8 times the recommended amount, consuming too many Brazil nuts on a regular basis could result in excess selenium in the body.

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