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7 Proven Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts
These nuts are energy dense, highly nutritious, and one of the most concentrated dietary sources of the mineral selenium.
Eating Brazil nuts may benefit your health in several ways, including regulating your thyroid gland, reducing inflammation, and supporting your heart, brain, and immune system.
Here are 7 proven health and nutrition benefits of Brazil nuts.
1. Packed With Nutrients
Brazil nuts are very nutritious and energy dense.
- Calories: 187
- Protein: 4.1 grams
- Fat: 19 grams
- Carbs: 3.3 grams
- Fiber: 2.1 grams
- Selenium: 988% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Copper: 55% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 33% of the
- Phosphorus: 30% of the RDI
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI
- Zinc: 10.5% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 11% of the RDI
Additionally, they have higher concentrations of magnesium, copper, and zinc than most other nuts, although the exact amounts of these nutrients can vary depending on climate and soil (3).
Finally, Brazil nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats. In fact, 36% of the fats in Brazil nuts are 37% polyunsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that has been shown to benefit heart health (1, 4).
Brazil nuts are energy dense and rich in healthy fats, selenium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, thiamine, and vitamin E.
2. Rich in Selenium
Selenium is a trace element that is vital for the proper functioning of your body. It is essential for your thyroid and influences your immune system and cell growth (5).
Indeed, higher levels of selenium have been linked to enhanced immune function and better outcomes for cancer, infections, infertility, pregnancy, heart disease, and mood disorders (6).
Although selenium deficiency is rare, many people around the world have insufficient selenium intake for optimal functioning. For example, suboptimal selenium status has been found in people throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East (7).
Brazil nuts are a highly effective way to maintain or increase your selenium intake. In fact, one study in 60 people found that eating two Brazil nuts per day was as effective as taking a selenium supplement at raising selenium levels (8).
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium. One nut can contain 175% of the RDI. Selenium is an essential trace element that is vital for your immune system, thyroid gland, and cell growth.
3. Supports Thyroid Function
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies in your throat. It secretes several hormones that are essential for growth, metabolism, and body temperature regulation.
Low selenium intake can lead to cellular damage, reduced thyroid activity, and autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease. It may also increase your risk of thyroid cancer (5, 9).
One large study in China showed that people with low selenium levels had a significantly higher prevalence of thyroid disease, such as hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and an enlarged thyroid, compared to those with normal levels (11).
This highlights the importance of getting adequate selenium intake. Just one Brazil nut per day should deliver enough selenium to maintain proper thyroid function (1).
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that are necessary for growth, metabolism, and body temperature regulation. One Brazil nut contains enough selenium to support the production of thyroid hormones and proteins that protect your thyroid.
4. May Help Those With Thyroid Disorders
As well as ensuring proper thyroid function, selenium may improve symptoms in people who have disorders of the thyroid.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid tissue is gradually destroyed, leading to hypothyroidism and a range of symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and feeling cold.
Meanwhile, Graves' disease is a thyroid disorder in which too much thyroid hormone is produced, leading to symptoms like weight loss, weakness, sleeping problems, and bulging eyes.
Studies have shown that supplementing with selenium may improve thyroid function and delay the progression of some symptoms in people with this disease. However, more research is needed (17).
No studies have investigated the use of Brazil nuts as a selenium source, specifically, in people with thyroiditis or Graves' disease. Nevertheless, including them in your diet may be a good way to ensure that your selenium status is adequate.
Supplementing with selenium may benefit people with thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease. Yet, further research is needed.
5. May Reduce Inflammation
Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants, which are substances that help keep your cells healthy. They do this by combating damage caused by reactive molecules called free radicals.
Brazil nuts contain several antioxidants, including selenium, vitamin E, and phenols like gallic acid and ellagic acid (3).
Selenium increases levels of an enzyme known as glutathione peroxidase (GPx), which helps reduce inflammation and protect your body from oxidative stress — an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals that can lead to cellular damage (18, 19, 20).
The anti-inflammatory effects of brazil nuts can be achieved from single, large doses and small doses over a longer period.
One study in 10 people noted that a single 20- or 50-gram serving (4 or 10 nuts, respectively) significantly reduced a number of inflammatory markers, including interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) (21).
Another three-month study gave people undergoing treatment for kidney failure one brazil nut per day. It found that their selenium and GPx levels had increased, while their levels of inflammatory markers and cholesterol had significantly decreased (22).
However, follow-up studies observed that once people stopped eating Brazil nuts, these measurements returned to their original levels. This demonstrates that long-term dietary changes are needed to reap the benefits of Brazil nuts (23, 24).
Brazil nuts contain antioxidants like selenium, vitamin E, and phenols. Just one nut per day can lead to reduced inflammation. Nevertheless, your intake needs to be consistent to continue experiencing the benefit.
6. Good for Your Heart
One study in 10 healthy adults investigated the effects of eating Brazil nuts on cholesterol levels. It gave them either 5, 20, or 50 grams of Brazil nuts or a placebo.
After 9 hours, the group that received a 20- or 50-gram serving had lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, compared to groups that received lower doses (26).
Another study analyzed the effects of eating Brazil nuts in obese people with selenium deficiency who were undergoing treatment for kidney disease.
It found that eating Brazil nuts containing 290 mcg of selenium daily for 8 weeks significantly increased HDL cholesterol levels. Improving your HDL cholesterol levels may decrease your risk of heart disease (19).
Brazil nuts' effects on heart health are promising. Nevertheless, further research is needed to determine the optimal dose and which populations might reap the greatest benefits.
Eating Brazil nuts may boost your heart health by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, and improving blood vessel function.
7. May Be Good for Your Brain
Brazil nuts contain ellagic acid and selenium, both of which can benefit your brain.
Selenium may also play a role in brain health by acting as an antioxidant (31).
In one study, older adults with mental impairment ate one Brazil nut per day for six months. In addition to experiencing increased selenium levels, they showed improved verbal fluency and mental function (31).
What's more, some research suggests that supplementing with selenium may help mediate a poor mood, which is significantly associated with inadequate selenium intake. However, results are conflicting, and further research is needed (34, 35).
Brazil nuts contain ellagic acid, which may have protective effects on your brain. Additionally, selenium may reduce your risk of some brain diseases and improve mental performance and mood. Yet, further research is needed.
Health Risks of Eating Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts offer some impressive health benefits, but eating too many could be harmful.
In fact, an intake of 5,000 mcg of selenium, which is the amount in approximately 50 average-sized Brazil nuts, can lead to toxicity. This dangerous condition is known as selenosis and can cause breathing problems, heart attack, and kidney failure (36).
However, communities in the Amazon with traditional diets that are naturally high in selenium have not shown any negative effects or signs of selenium toxicity (40).
Nonetheless, it's important to limit your daily intake of Brazil nuts.
The upper level of selenium intake for adults is 400 mcg per day. For this reason, it's important to not eat too many Brazil nuts and check nutrition labels for selenium content.
Limiting your intake to one to three Brazil nuts per day is a smart way to avoid consuming too much selenium (25).
Additionally, those with nut allergies may be allergic to Brazil nuts and need to avoid them.
Selenium toxicity is a rare but dangerous, potentially life-threatening condition. The safe upper intake level for selenium is 400 mcg. It's important to limit your intake to 1–3 Brazil nuts per day or check how much selenium is in the nuts you buy.
The Bottom Line
Brazil nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They're particularly high in selenium, a mineral with potent antioxidant properties.
Eating Brazil nuts may reduce inflammation, support brain function, and improve your thyroid function and heart health.
To avoid consuming too much selenium, limit your intake to one to three Brazil nuts per day.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jon Queally
President Donald Trump at a White House press conference on Friday announced he was "terminating" ties to the World Health Organization, even as the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic nears 363,000 — including the more than 100,000 dead from the virus in the U.S., many attributed to his own mismanagement of the crisis.
By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst
Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.
Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.
Spider Plant<p>Spider plants are one of the best plants you can buy for increasing indoor humidity, according to <a href="https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/35195/803.full.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank">research</a> from 2015.</p><p>Even NASA agrees. It did a <a href="https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> in the '80s that found spider plants are able to remove toxins like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from indoor air.</p><p>Perhaps the coolest part of all? They're super easy to grow.</p><p>Their stems grow long. A hanging container is best so the plant has room to cascade.</p><p>Spider plants grow best in bright, indirect sunlight, so try to keep them near a window that gets a lot of natural light. Aim to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.</p>
Jade Plant<p><a href="https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/35195/803.full.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank">Research</a> shows that a jade plant can increase the relative humidity in a room. Most of its evapotranspiration happens in the dark, making it a good option for increasing humidity during darker months of the year.</p><p>To help keep a jade plant thriving, keep it in a bright spot, like near a south-facing window. As for watering, how much you give it depends on the time of the year.</p><p>The spring and summer is its active growing time, so you'll want to water it deeply, and wait till the soil is almost dry to water it again.</p><p>In the fall and winter, growing slows or stops, so you can let the soil dry completely before watering again.</p>
Areca Palm<p>Palms tend to be great for adding humidity, and the areca palm — also called the butterfly or yellow palm — is no exception.</p><p>They're relatively low maintenance, but they do require lots of sun and moist soil. Keep them near a window that gets a lot of sunlight. Water them enough to keep their soil moist, especially in the spring and summer.</p><p>They can grow up to 6 or 7 feet tall and don't like crowded roots, so you'll need to repot it every couple of years as it grows.<span></span></p>
English Ivy<p>English ivy (<em>Hedera helix</em>) is easy to care for and gives you a lot of bang for your buck because it grows like crazy.</p><p>It's also been <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11869-018-0618-9" target="_blank">shown</a> to have one of the highest transpiration rates. This makes it a good option for increasing relative humidity AND removing carbon monoxide from indoor air.</p><p>A hanging basket is best for this small-leafed ivy. It'll grow as long and lush as you let it. To keep it controlled, just prune to the size you want.</p><p>English ivy likes bright light and soil that's slightly dry. Check the soil to make sure it's almost dry before watering again.</p>
Lady Palm<p>The lady palm is a dense plant that's low maintenance when it comes to sunlight and water needs.</p><p>It does best in bright light, but is adaptable enough to grow in low-light spots, too, though at a slightly slower pace.</p><p>Lady palms like to be watered thoroughly once the surface is dry to the touch, so always check the soil before watering.</p>
Rubber Plant<p>The rubber plant isn't as finicky as other indoor tropical plants, making it really easy to care for. Rubber plants also have a high transpiration rate and are great for helping clean indoor air.</p><p>Rubber plants like partial sun to partial shade. They can handle cooler temps and drier soil (perfect for people who tend to kill every plant they bring into the home).</p><p>Let the soil dry before watering again. In the fall and winter months, you'll be able to cut watering in half.</p>
Boston Fern<p>The Boston fern has air-purifying properties that add moisture and remove toxins from indoor air. Did we mention they're lush and gorgeous, too?</p><p>To keep a Boston fern healthy and happy, water it often enough so the soil is always moist, and make sure it gets a lot of indirect sunlight by placing it in a bright part of the room.</p><p>Occasionally misting the fern's leaves with a spray bottle of water can help keep it perky when you have the heat blasting or fireplace going.</p>
Peace Lily<p>Peace lilies are tropical evergreens that produce a white flower in the summer. They usually grow up to around 16 inches tall, but can grow longer in the right conditions.</p><p>A peace lily feels most at home in a room that's warm and gets a lot of sunlight. It takes its soil moist.</p><p>No need to stress if you forget to water it on occasion. It'll handle that better than being overwatered.</p><p>If you have cats, you'll want to keep this plant out of reach or avoid it. Lilies are <a href="https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/lily" target="_blank">toxic</a> to our feline friends.</p>
Golden Pothos<p>Golden pothos is also called devil's ivy and devil's vine because it's pretty much impossible to kill. You can forget to water it and even forget to give it light for long periods, and it'll still be green whenever you finally remember.</p><p>That said, it thrives in brighter spaces and does like some water. Let it dry out between watering.</p><p>Its trailing stems grow as long as you want it to, so it's perfect for hanging planters or setting on a higher shelf.</p><p>The higher the better if you have pets, though, since some of its compounds are toxic to dogs and cats… and horses, if you happen to live in a big apartment with really relaxed pet rules.</p>
Dwarf Date Palm<p>Dwarf date palms are also called pygmy date palms. They're perfect as far as plants go. They're basically mini versions of the palm trees you see on tropical postcards.</p><p>They can help keep a room's air clean and increase humidity, and are super easy to maintain.</p><p>They can grow to be anywhere from 6 to 12 feet tall with bright, indirect sunlight and moist — not soaking wet — soil.</p><p>They also prefer a slightly toasty environment, so avoid placing them near a drafty window or source of cold.</p>
Corn Plant<p>The corn plant won't give you an endless supply of corn — just leaves that look like corn leaves and the occasional bloom if you treat it nice. It also helps humidify indoor air and remove toxic vapors.</p><p>Maintenance is easy. Let the top inch or so of soil dry before watering, and keep in a well-lit room where it can get a good amount of indirect sunlight.</p>
Parlor Palm<p>This is another high-transpiration palm that doesn't take any real skill to grow. You're welcome.</p><p>Parlor palms like partial sun, but can manage in full shade, too, as long as you keep the soil consistently moist with a couple of waterings per week.</p><p>To help it grow, make sure it's got enough space in the pot by sizing up every year or two, or whenever it starts to look crowded.</p>
Plants to Avoid<p>Plants are generally good for your environment, but some do have the opposite effect when it comes to humidity.</p><p>These plants tend to draw moisture <em>in</em> instead of letting it out. This doesn't happen instantly, and a couple of plants won't have enough of an effect to really zap the moisture out of your home.</p><p>Still, if you're looking for maximum moisture, you may want to limit these.</p><p>Plants that fall into this category are those that require very little water to survive. Think plants that you find in dry climates, like the desert.</p><p>These include plants like:</p><ul><li>cactuses</li><li>succulents</li><li>aloe vera</li><li>euphorbia, also called "spurge"</li></ul>
Pro Tips<p>If you really want to take advantage of all the moisture and purification these plants offer, here are some tips to consider:</p><ul><li><strong>Size matters.</strong> Plants with bigger leaves typically have a higher transpiration rate, so go bigger to humidify and purify a room.</li><li><strong>The more the merrier.</strong> Have at least two good-sized plants per 100 square feet of space — more is even better.</li><li><strong>Keep 'em close.</strong> Group your plants closer together to increase the humidity in the air and help your plants thrive, too.</li><li><strong>Add pebbles.</strong> If you're dealing with dry indoor air, put your plants on a pebble tray with water to create more humidity for your plants <em>and</em> your room.</li></ul>
The Bottom Line<p>If you're looking to combat dry air in your home and have some space, consider stocking up on some houseplants. Just keep in mind that this is one area where less definitely isn't more.</p><p>For a noticeable impact on the air in your home, try to have at least several plants in each room. If you only have room for a few plants, try to go for larger ones with big leaves.</p>
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By Richard Connor
The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.
Before you pour a glass of wine, feel the weight of the bottle in your hand. Would you notice if it were a few ounces lighter? Jackson Family Wines is betting that you won't.