Brazil Nut Nutrition Facts

Brazil Nut Calories and Health Benefits

brazil nuts nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a large nut that comes from Brazil nut trees in Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. You can buy the nuts in the shell or already shelled and the nuts are often found in nut mixes. Even though the calories in these nuts are substantial, Brazil nut nutrition facts justify including them in your diet as long as you consume them in moderation.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for six whole Brazil nuts (30g).

  • Calories: 186
  • Fat: 19g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3.7g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Protein: 4.3g

Carbs in Brazil Nuts

The standard Brazil nuts serving size is just six nuts, but it's easy to eat more than that. If you eat a single serving, you'll consume 186 calories and under four grams of carbohydrate. You'll benefit from over two grams of fiber and a small amount (under one gram) of sugar.

The estimated glycemic load of a single serving of Brazil nuts is zero.

Fats in Brazil Nuts

Most of the calories in Brazil nuts come from fat. There are 19 grams of fat in a serving of the nuts. Most of the fat is polyunsaturated (6 grams) and monounsaturated fat (7 grams), considered to be healthy forms of fat. There is a smaller amount (4.3 grams) of less healthy saturated fat.

Protein in Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts provide just over four grams of protein per serving.

Micronutrients in Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, providing 777 percent of your daily needs. They are also a very good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Vitamins in Brazil nuts include thiamin and vitamin E.

Health Benefits

Brazil nuts provide several health benefits if you are trying to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. The nuts are a high-fat food, but they provide healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat—fats that help boost heart health when consumed in moderation. Brazil nuts also provide diet-friendly fiber and protein to help promote satiety

The significant amount of selenium also provides important health benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health, selenium is necessary for reproduction, proper thyroid function, DNA production, and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and from infection. Researchers believe that not getting enough selenium may increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, although more research is needed to confirm the association.

Common Questions

What's the best way to avoid overeating nuts?
Even though nuts provide health benefits, they are one of the most common foods that we overeat. A single serving is just six nuts. But how often do you count nuts before you eat them? Nuts are often kept in a resealable container in the pantry or in a bowl on a desk or table. When you eat nuts mindlessly from a large open container, you are likely to overeat them. To avoid overdoing it, use your hand to control portions. A small handful of nuts is a single serving.

Does removing the Brazil nut shell change the nutrition?

Removing the shell does not change the nutrition as that part of the "seed" is not eaten. 

Are flavored nuts or nut mixes just as healthy as regular nuts? 
Brazil nuts are often found in canned nut mixes that you find in the snack food aisles of the grocery store. When you buy nut blends or nut mixes, the nuts may be roasted in oil or seasoned with high sodium products. The result is that you may consume far more fat or sodium than you expect.

Can nuts be part of a weight loss diet?
Nuts can make a smart snack if you are trying to lose weight. The protein and fiber in nuts may help you to feel full and satisfied so you don't eat again soon after your meal.

Will eating nuts make me bloated?
Some people notice that they are bloated the day after eating nuts in a bar or at a party. You probably won't get bloated from the nuts, but if the snack was heavily salted, you may experience a temporary increase in weight from the increased sodium intake.

What's the best way to store Brazil nuts?

Brazil nuts can be stored in or out of the shell. But Brazil nuts that have been removed from the shell may go bad more quickly. 

The best way to store nuts is to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They should stay fresh for about three months. If you keep them in the refrigerator they should stay fresh for up to six months and if you freeze them you can use them for about one year.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Brazil nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. Many people describe them as having a texture that is similar to coconut. 

  • You can roast Brazil nuts on the stovetop or in the oven. If you use the stovetop method, put a layer of nuts in a heavy skillet and roast over medium heat for 5-10 minutes making sure to keep the pan moving so the nuts don't burn. 
  • To roast Brazil nuts in the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees. Place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes.

Sprinkle roasted or raw nuts on a salad for a boost of protein or add them to the top of a small serving of ice cream.

Allergies and Interventions

If you have a tree nut allergy, you should avoid Brazil nuts. Additionally, the selenium in Brazil nuts may be harmful if you overconsume the food. The National Institutes of Health advises consumers that eating too many Brazil nuts may cause you to go over the upper limit for the nutrient. The upper limit varies based on age but it is 400 mcg for teens and adults. A single serving of Brazil nuts (six nuts) contains 542 mcg.

The NIH warns that getting too much selenium may cause mild symptoms such as garlic breath, a metallic taste in your mouth, or irritability. But it can also cause other problems including

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Loss of hair or nails
  • Discolored teeth
  • Nervous system problems

Consuming extremely high intakes of selenium can also cause more severe problems, including difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure, according to the NIH. 

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Article Sources
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