Did you know that in 2017, the world produced over 84,000 tons of Brazil nuts?
So why are these such a popular choice for consumers? There are many health benefits that come along with this type of nut, and people are loving the results.
Continue reading to discover the most interesting facts of the Brazil Nut.
What Is a Brazil Nut?
When people refer to Brazil Nuts, most think of the large edible nut we find in a can of mixed nuts. While this is true, the Brazil Nut is also the name of the tree from which the nut (it is actually a seed) comes from.
The tree is huge, towering over other trees in the Amazon rainforest. Typically reaching heights of over 150 feet and living for up to 1000 years undisturbed.
Look out below!
During the beginning of each year, during the months of January and February, the Brazil nut tree bears its fruit and it crashes to the ground.
The tree produces a large coconut looking fruit the size of a baseball. It can weigh up to 5 lbs.
Inside, it encases 15 to 20 Brazil nut seeds. To get to those seeds you need to first crack open the outer shell. Then, you’ll need to crack the individual seed to reap the tasty reward of the edible nut.
Where Do Brazil Nuts Come From?
Brazil, duh! Well, yes but no. Brazil produces approximately 40% of the production in the world of Brazil Nuts. However, Bolivia surpasses that. Northern Bolivia, located in the Amazon rainforest, supplies half of all the Brazil Nuts in existence. The Brazil Nut tree can be found not only in Brazil and Bolivia but Peru, Venezuela and Colombia as well.
How To Crack & Open Brazil Nuts?
Well, as mentioned already, you are going to have to crack not once, but twice. The large outer shell which houses approximately 15 to 20 nuts can be cracked by smashing it against a hard surface. However, it can be quite challenging if it drys out. So, as soon as it falls from the tree, get to cracking!
Once you have access to the seed you can use a nut cracker to get to the Brazil nut. But unless you live in the Amazon forest or work in a Brazil nut factory, no worries, that will have been done for you already.
Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits
The Brazil nut is popular around the world for many reasons. They significantly benefit your health and can even put you in a better mood.
Brazil nuts can be eaten raw or cooked and are filled with a variety of nutrients. There are many Brazilian dishes that you can incorporate Brazil nuts into to make it a well-rounded meal.
Below are some of the best nutrition facts that will convince you why you need to add them to your diet.
1. Balances Hormones
Brazil nuts are a selenium-rich food, which has been linked with regulating mood disorders. Brazil nuts are also known to help with thyroid problems, which are also links to hormonal issues.
Selenium helps produce hormones and can help regulate sleep, mood, concentration, and metabolism.
One Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium content. This meets the daily recommended adult allowance of 55 mcg. so they are beneficial in small quantities.
However, one should not eat them regularly in large numbers due to the high selenium content. A high selenium content is not recommended as part of a healthy diet.
2. Reduces Cholesterol
Brazil nuts are low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats, making them great for reducing total cholesterol. When looking up nutritional facts on Brazil nuts, you will find that there is 0 mg of cholesterol in each serving.
These nuts are great at reducing your risk of heart disease and other heart problems, making it worth snacking on each day!
3. Helps Your Heart
It is a widely known fact that nuts are good for your heart due to omega-3 fatty acids and all the nutrients that they are packed with.
Brazil nuts are good for your heart because polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that help reduce cholesterol. With lower cholesterol, your chances of heart disease and stroke are significantly reduced.
4. Beneficial for Your Brain
There is still much research that needs to be done on the benefits of Brazil nuts and the brain. However, there is an antioxidant, called ellagic acid that has an anti-inflammatory effect. This effect could help protect your brain and keep it functioning properly.
Studies are currently being conducted on correlating selenium levels and cognitive ability. However, Brazil nuts have been linked to decreasing Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Good for Inflammation
If you are someone who is constantly dealing with chronic pain, Brazil nuts could be a healthy option for you. This antioxidant-rich food will give you the nutrients needed to lower inflammation and even defends against nerve and cell damage.
Brazil nuts can even reduce oxidative stress, making you feel better.
6. Great Source of Complete Protein
Where my bodybuilders at? Because Brazil nuts contain all nine essential amino acids it is an excellent source for complete protein; helping in human growth and development and required for crucial muscle tissue repair.
One cup (133 grams) of Brazil nuts yields approximately 19 grams of protein.
4 Recipes to Make With Brazil Nuts
If we’ve sold you on the many different reasons to love Brazil Nuts, then you are in luck. While Brazil doesn’t use nuts in abundance in their foods, they do have a presence in some traditional and non-traditional recipes.
Here are four great and unique Brazil nut recipes that will help you enjoy this South American treat in a variety of ways.
1. Energy Balls
If you love the taste and health benefits of Brazil nuts but want to experience a different way to enjoy them, try this delicious recipe.
- 1 cup Brazil Nuts
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/4 t. sea salt; same some for sprinkling
- Microwave the cocoa butter in a mug for about a minute until melted
- Stir it with a spoon until smooth, if it needs to be smoothed out more, microwave another 30 seconds.
- Using a food processor, combine the cocoa butter, almond butter, cocoa, agave, and sea salt and process until the ingredients are smooth.
- Add your Brazil Nuts to the food processor
- Process until all ingredients are combined and chopped up
- Using a small cookie scooper and evenly space the mixture onto a lined baking sheet.
- Sprinkle your crumbled brazil nuts and sea salt all over the balls
- Place in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy!
2. Brazil Nut Butter Recipe
A great alternative to eating Brazil nuts one at a time. Spread over your favorite type of bread and enjoy the silky smooth taste of Brazil nut butter!
- 1 lb. Brazil Nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
- Food Processor
- Jar ( Mason or Jelly will do)
- On medium heat, toast the Brazil nuts for 2-3 minutes in a pan
- Allow the nuts to cool, then add nuts to the food processor
- Continually grind the nuts between 10-15 seconds at a time until silky smooth,
- Add the salt at the halfway point when the nuts are ground finely
Note: You are going to need some patience. You will continually need to scrape the nut mixture of the sides of the processor. Soon the pulverised nuts will (almost magically) transform into the beautiful liquid nut butter.
However, once the oils in the nuts releases you will have some beautiful smooth Brazil Nut buttery paste.
3. Brazil Nut Milk Recipe
Looking for a change of pace from your regular ole glass of milk? Well then Brazil nut milk might be your answer!
As mentioned earlier, it is loaded with healthy nutrients and truly tastes great!
- In a large bowl soak brazil nuts and vanilla bean for at least 8 hours
- Dump water, and thoroughly rinse brazil nuts and vanilla bean
- Blend brazil nuts, vanilla bean, and 4 cups of water in a food processor
- Use a nut milk bag to strain pulp from milk for a silky smooth texture
Note: If the milk is too creamy to your liking, simply add an extra cup of water.
4. Brazil Nut Cheese Recipe
Here’s a great and healthy recipe alternative to dairy cheeses.
- 3/4 cup of raw Brazil Nuts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 clove of garlic sliced
- your favorite fresh herbs finely chopped;, parsley, rosemary, thyme
- black pepper freshly ground
- Place the Brazil nuts in a bowl in cold water. Place in refrigerate and allow to soak overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray.
- Drain the nuts and place in a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
- Blend the mixture until very smooth. Again, be patient, you may need to scrape down the sides numerous times.
- Place the mixture in the middle of a large clean tea towel. Bring up ends and edges together to the center and twist so the mixture forms a ball. Squeeze any excess moisture out.
- Place the pepper and the fresh herbs in a bowl. Roll the Brazil nut cheese ball in the herb mixture.
- Place the ball on the baking tray.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until warm. Don’t panic if you see the ball start to crack.
- Remove the Brazil nut cheese ball from oven, place on a serving plate and drizzle with the additional olive oil.
Delicious served alongside with your favorite crackers, enjoy!
Other Uses of Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts has other useful applications. Brazil nut oil for example. Because it possesses a rare combination of high oleic acid content coupled with presence of vitamin E, it is excellent source for both your hair and skin’s health.
If you want to change the way to reap the health benefits of the Brazil Nut’s selenium and other nutrients, you can do it by drinking Brazil nut milk. It’s creamy and smooth with an incredible taste, recipe above.
Because of its high protein content, the Brazil nut is an excellent ingredient for protein bars and powders.
Where to buy Brazil Nuts?
Even though they come from the Amazon rainforest, Brazil nuts are not hard to find. You should be able to buy them at Walmart or at your local health food store. Or you can order them online at Amazon and get free shipping with your Prime account.
Become a Brazilian Health Nut
Incorporating Brazil nuts into your diet can greatly increase your health. There are many ways that you can benefit from their nutrition. For example, they are a selenium-rich food and can even reduce cholesterol.
It is no wonder that everyone is nuts about these Brazilian nuts!
They are great for your health, easy to add to your diet, and taste amazing—cooked or raw.
Be sure to read more about Brazilian food articles like this one, 11 Brazilian Desserts You’ve Never Heard Of-and Won’t Ever Forget!
Or to shop for freshly imported Brazilian foods and drinks visit our online store today!
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.