Brazil nuts contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. One ounce of Brazil nuts provides 774 percent of the daily recommended value of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral essential to immune and thyroid function. While selenium deficiency may cause anxiety disorders, asthma, depression, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and seizures.
A 1-oz. serving of Brazil nuts contain 27 percent the RDA for magnesium which helps with the functioning of muscles, the production of protein and absorption of energy from food. They also offer 25 percent of the RDA for copper which can help the body use iron, maintain bone and connective tissue health, promote thyroid function, support the production of melanin and protect and repair tissues. With 20 percent of the RDA for phosphorous, Brazil nuts also support bone and teeth health. Brazil nuts also provide manganese, zinc, vitamin E, potassium and riboflavin.
The Bad News
They might interfere with the absorption of some nutrients. While their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol when ingested in small quantities, Brazil nuts have a high level of saturated fat (25%) that could possibly raise cholesterol levels if the nuts are consumed in large quantities. So only eat two a day. The high fat content also means they go rancid easily. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain their freshness.
Overdosing on selenium can cause a toxic condition known as selenosis, leaving you with a host of nasty symptoms like hair loss, brittle hair, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, sloughing of the fingernails, fatigue, irritability, and nerve damage. Less common are cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure. Brazil nuts also can stimulate skin rashes, affect the nervous system, make you feel fatigued and disrupt digestion causing diarrhea.
These nuts may have great health benefits but only in small quantities. This is a great example is a little is good and more is NOT better. So eat them sparingly but enjoy them.
Real Food Nutrition Summit