Castanha do Pará is also known as Brazil nut, as it is characteristic of the northern region of the country. The chestnut is an oilseed, being part of the same group as walnuts and almonds. It has many good fats, minerals and phytochemicals, with high nutritional value.
What the Brazil Nut is for
Brazil nuts are rich in vitamin E and antioxidant substances, especially the mineral selenium . In each nut there is already enough selenium that we need a day. Its high concentration of glutathione peroxidase also reinforces the antioxidant action.
It also contains phenolic compounds, flavonoids, phytosterols and squalene in its composition. Other minerals present in the Brazil nut are magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, copper, zinc and iron, in addition to vitamin C, B complex and omega 9.
Properties of Castanha do Pará
The properties of Brazil nuts are antioxidant and antiproliferative, reducing the risk of certain serious diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. In addition, the nut improves the immune system , and the metabolism of the thyroid gland and its range of compounds. Chestnut selenium, in the right dose, helps the regulation of the gland, and only in high amounts can it cause hypothyroidism.
An advantage of this nutritious seed is that it has a small amount of sodium (salt), being released for feeding hypertensive patients. It also has no gluten. The Brazil nut contains a lot of fiber and fat. But it is good fats, unsaturated fats, that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), and that, consequently, protect the body from heart disease.
Potassium, on the other hand, helps control blood pressure, and phosphorus improves bone health . The fibers, on the other hand, give more satiety and control the glycemic peaks of the ingested sugars, which is an extra point for those suffering from diabetes.
Brazil nuts also have a protein called arginine, which contributes to muscle growth when exercising. According to some studies, arginine also increases metabolism and speeds up the burning of fats in the body , so it is indirectly good for weight loss.
The vitamin B6 present in the Brazil nut also helps in the breakdown of fats and, together with selenium, in the functioning of the thyroid. However, excess selenium can lead to intoxication and hypothyroidism, so it is good to manage the consumption of nuts.
Main Benefits of Brazil Nut
- Protects cardiovascular health;
- Protects brain neurons;
- Regulates the thyroid;
- Improves immunity.
Indications of Consumption of Brazil Nut
Each Brazil nut contains, on average, 27 calories. It is not necessary to eat many a day to guarantee its benefits: for adults, the recommended consumption is 2 units per day . It is not recommended to eat more than 6 units a day, as you risk weight gain, weakness and the appearance of white spots on the skin and nails. That’s because the maximum daily selenium amount is 400 mcg, and more than 6 units can exceed it. However, excessive consumption occasionally does not produce side effects.
The most common use of Brazil nuts is in snacks or between meals, alone. But it is also possible to put pieces of the chestnut in yogurt, breakfast cereal or vitamins whipped with fruit. It is often found in granola and whole grain breads.
Contraindications for Brazil nuts
The Brazil nut is not suitable for people who may be allergic to food, and is released for pregnant women and children. It just cannot be consumed in excess, as it runs the risk of an overdose of selenium, a condition known as “selenosis”.
The symptoms of excess selenium that appear after several days of consuming high doses, can be nausea and vomiting, bellyache, fatigue, irritability, peeling and staining of the nails, hair loss, bad breath and problems with the nervous system.
The Brazil nut contains a little phytic acid, a component that is believed to contribute to reduce the absorption of other minerals. It is present in other oilseeds such as nuts, peanuts, grains such as beans, cereals and green leaves, and only in very high amounts can it lead to this malabsorption.
On the one hand, phytic acid is good for cells and has good properties for the heart . Therefore, if the amount of Brazil nuts consumed is the recommended amount, of 2 nuts a day, there is no risk of phytic acid interfering with the absorption of minerals.
See also: Selenium
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.