Most nuts are generally full of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Recent studies suggest that eating a small handful of nuts four times a week can help reduce heart disease and satisfy food cravings. Brazil nuts are one of the few good sources of selenium that may help protect against cancer, depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Meaty and uniquely flavoured, Brazil nuts offer more than just an interesting addition to a bowl of mixed nuts. Recently, they have become much more revered as a healthy addition to your diet, so it is well worth getting past that tough, hard shell to discover the Brazil nut's wonderful attributes.
Composition-wise, Brazil nuts are 18 per cent protein, 13 per cent carbohydrates and 69 per cent fat, with their fat breakdown being roughly 25 per cent saturated, 41 per cent monounsaturated and 34 per cent polyunsaturated. Brazil nuts are probably the richest dietary source of the mineral selenium, something most of us, particularly women, do not get enough of.
Various studies suggest that proper selenium intake is linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for calcium absorption as well as aiding relaxation, and is found in good levels in Brazil nuts.
A study of obese adolescents found that eating eight Brazil nuts per day not only increased levels of the anti- oxidant selenium, but also reduced LDL cholesterol.
Brazil nuts are often sold in their shells, but you can also find them packaged with and without their skins. Once exposed to the air, they tend to go rancid quite quickly so it's a good idea to keep them refrigerated or even frozen if you won't be consuming them quickly.
HOW TO GET BRAZIL NUTS INTO YOUR DIET
1. Throw a handful of Brazil nuts into a couscous dish.
2. Brazil nuts work wonderfully in all types of baking, from cakes to brownies. They go particularly well with chocolate.
3. Brazil nuts and bananas is a classic combination.
4. Try combining as a ﬁlling for pancakes or serving over ice-cream with a warm caramel sauce.
5. They are a great addition to cereals and smoothies at breakfast time.
6. Combine with rice cakes or vegetable sticks for a perfect snack.
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