Within the last decade, many studies have investigated the health effects of nuts. It seems that regular consumption of nuts have a positive effect on your health. The researcher Yang had a special interest in Brazil nuts, since there are studies that suggest that this type of nuts can help to prevent the development of cancer. Therefore the results of several scientific studies were pooled in a recently published review.
Brazil nuts are a good source of antioxidants
Nuts are famous because of their favourable lipid profile and their bioactive compounds, such as antioxidants. However, compared to other nuts, Brazil nuts contain a relatively high level of antioxidants. Numerous studies showed that these compounds can inhibit cell growth and thus the formation of a malignant tumour.
Selenium is the secret weapon of Brazil nuts
The uniqueness of the Brazil nut is the result of the compound selenium. The Brazil nut contains large amounts of selenium. Selenium enhances the effect of antioxidants, which results in even higher preventive activity in the development of cancer. In several human studies this preventive effect was seen on mammary, prostate and lung cancer.
Sources of selenium
Dietary selenium comes from nuts, cereals, meat, fish, and eggs. Brazil nuts are the richest plant-based dietary source of selenium. However, the amount of selenium in Brazil nuts is dependent on the selenium concentration in the soil, since the Brazil nut does not require high levels of the mineral for its own growth. A single Brazil nut provides 160% of the USA Recommended Daily Allowance of selenium.
Regular consumption of Brazil nuts improves health status
Although the evidence is very limited, it can be assumed that the health effects brought about by the consumption of Brazil nuts is promising when it comes to the prevention of cancer. That the consumption of Brazil nuts can help you to stay healthy was already known. Therefore, help your body by consuming Brazil nuts on a regular basis.
1) Yang J. Brazil nuts and associated health benefits: a review. Food Science and Technology 2009;42:1573-1580.