Brazil Nut Kernels

Brazil Nut Kernels – Nutritional Profile

Brazil nut kernels are a highly nutritious foodstuff that come packed with a wide variety of nutrients and minerals.  A typical 1ounce serving, of approximately 6 nuts provides 185 calories and 19g fat of which only 4g is saturated.  It also contains 2g of fibre and 3g of carbohydrate.

A single portion will also contains 12% of the recommended daily allowance of RDA for vitamin E and the 5% for the B group vitamin Thiamine.   The minerals present also include iron, 4%,  magnesium 27%, phosphorus 20%, potassium 5%, zinc 8%, copper 25%, manganese 17% and selenium 774%.

Brazil Nut Kernels  – Health Benefits

Significant in the nutritional profile of Brazil Nut kernels is the selenium content.  Selenium is an amino acid that is normally present in plant foods and it means that brazil nut kernels contain all the proteins required for optimal growth and make a valuable addition to vegan and vegetarian diets. It is a trace mineral that is important in maintaining a number of key parts of the body.  It is only required in relatively low levels and is easily obtained from as few as two brazil nut kernels.  SeIenium has been shown in studies to be important in anti-oxidisation processes thus helping to prevent cancers, liver cirrhosis and artery disease.  The anti-oxidant properties of this mineral will also protect cells from the oxidisation effects of free radicals that can start the formation of cancer cells.  This will be particularly so for the formation of the major cancers including breast, prostate, colon and stomach cancers

The fat content of brazil nuts rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as palmitolic acid and oleic acid which are especially helpful in regulating bodies uptake of bad or LDL cholesterol and increasing the update of good HDL cholesterol to promote good cardio-vascular health and delay the onset of arteriosclerosis.

Brazil nut kernels will play an important role in maintaining healthy thyroid function as selenium is important in the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine.

The magnesium present has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of energy release and for assisting with nerve and muscle functions whilst zinc will strengthen the immune system and help prevent heart disease.

Due to their high fat content they are calorie laden and would be an effective part of any weight gaining diet and given that the fats are mono-unsaturated there is little downside to this type of weight gain diet.

Brazil Nut Kernels – Product History

Brazil nut kernels are not commercially cropped in any significant numbers.  The structure of the trees flower requires a highly specialised pollinator that is only found in rainforest jungles and consequently commercially produced crops have such low yields as to make them unviable.

Around 200,000 tons of Brazil nut kernels are produced annually and the majority, in excel of 50% is produced in Bolivia and not Brazil as the name would suggest.

The method of cropping from the wild is seen as a model of sustainable production from rainforests.  Local peoples crop the nut, utilising their local knowledge to ensure that there is no damage to the rainforest and nuts are sold and returned centrally for processing.

As with many nuts the high fat content can lead to the crop turning rancid so refrigeration is necessary to store brazil nut kernels for any length of time.