Brazil Nuts Lower Cholesterol By 20 Points

arrow rightYes you read the title correctly, “Brazil Nuts Lower Cholesterol By 20 Points”. What is it that does this in Brazil nuts? And how many do I have to eat and how often? Do they have to be organic? Hold on a second. I know with how cholesterol is talked about all the time that this can be big news, but give me a second to catch my breath and share with you all the info.

A study was done to see if Brazil nut ingestion had an influence on serum lipid profile in healthy volunteers. In other words, what changes were noticed in the make up of healthy people’s blood after they ate some Brazil nuts. I have to tell you I read the entire study and found it a good starting point for studies of this kind. Okay so let me share with you some of the exciting details of this study and you can decide for yourself.

The members of the study that were selected had to meet some basic requirements.

  1. Had to be healthy in that they were not diagnosed with disease.
  2. Had to have an average BMI, so that their height to weight ratio was considered healthy.
  3. Did not consume alcohol in high amounts.
  4. Were between the age of 24-34 years of age.

Study Details

I know the details of the study might be boring, but lets run through them quickly. Diets were directed for the members of the study that were healthy and balanced. The study members had to fill out questionnaires as to their food intake so it would be clear they were eating as directed. The diets had foods removed that were high in selenium, (eggs, egg yolks, garlic, Brazil nuts, whole wheat cereal, etc., during the testing period). The members of the test group had their blood tested 4 different times during the study to see if the results changed.
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The down and dirty of the study showed that eating about 20g of Brazil nuts, (about 4 nuts), had a profound affect on cholesterol levels in just hours. Both LDL-c and HDL-c were changed. LDL-c (what is considered bad cholesterol), fell by about 20 points in just 24-48 hours. HDL-c (what is considered good cholesterol), rose by about 18 points over the same 24-48 hour period. What is very remarkable is that these levels held for around 30 days from just one serving of Brazil nuts.

What Does This Mean

This is where we have to be careful when jumping to conclusions. On the surface it appears that Brazil nuts help to lower cholesterol and while this maybe true a few things should be looked at. Did you notice that above I mentioned the study members were put on a diet low in selenium? It just so happens that Brazil nuts are one of the highest foods in selenium on the planet! Cool…

So could the study be showing that if you are low in selenium that Brazil nuts could help give you back what you are missing with the benefit of lower cholesterol levels? It sure looks that way to me.

Wait there is something else you need to know.

Selenium Deficiencies

Doctors are showing that there are links between low selenium levels and many health issues; increased cancer issues, asthma severity, infertility, mood disturbance, cardiovascular disease, pre-eclampsia, HIV/AIDS issues, hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease. Eating some Brazil nuts seems like an easy way to help keep selenium deficiencies at bay.

Soils Falling In Selenium Levels

Selenium is found in meat, grain cereals, egg yolk, milk, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, garlic and seafood. Now if you are eating a balanced varied diet I bet you are eating many of these foods weekly, if not daily. But what if you are like many who eat what ever is handy, you may find that the only foods eaten that contain selenium are meat and grains. After all processed foods are low in quality to begin and with the soil levels of selenium falling yearly is it a surprise that foods contain less than optimal levels of selenium.

The UK has noted that it has seen selenium levels of its soils steadily falling over the last 30 years. Russia and China already have very low levels of selenium in their soils. China has recommended that it population take daily supplements of selenium.

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How Much Selenium

The US Food and Nutrition Board actually lowered the RDA for selenium in the year 2000 from 70 mcg for men and 55 mcg/day for women to 55 mcg/day for men and women. But yet the World Health Organization (WHO) RDA for selenium is 70 mcg/day to 350 mcg/day. That is a big difference. Yet those simple brazil nuts help out. A single brazil nut contains on the average 50 mcg of selenium. So even if you ate 4 Brazil nuts a day, (200mcg of selenium) you would still be way below what the WHO sets as a daily max.

If you are worried about selenium toxicity, China should have the final word on it since it recommends selenium daily. Studies in China have set the upper level of daily amounts of selenium to 819 mcg. After decades of studies they did announce the toxicity level of selenium to be just under 5,000 mcg/daily.

What Form Of Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts that are still in the shell are shown to taste the best and have more consistent level of selenium. This is because the shelled version come from areas of higher production resulting in soils that are lower in selenium. Now shelling Brazil nuts is not an easy task, and if you go for the hammer be sure to wear eye protection.

If buying shelled Brazil nuts, fresh Brazil nuts are supposed to be ivory white. If they’ve turned yellow, don’t eat them or buy them, they maybe rancid.

Other Benefits Of Brazil

Brazil nuts contain good quantities of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. Their high caloric content chiefly comes from their fats. However, much of this fat content is mono-unsaturated fatty acids that helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. The nuts are also a very good source of vitamin-E; contain about 7.87 mg per 100 g. They are also an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin (51% of RDA per 100 g), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and folates. They hold very good levels of other minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

Another great benefit is Brazil nuts’ proteins are complete, as they contain all the necessary amino acids to foster optimal growth in humans, just as animal proteins do. This is a great fact to know if you are trying to cut down or eliminate animal proteins.

Another neat fact about Brazil nuts is that, like almonds, they are gluten-free.

How To Eat

Since Brazil nuts are high in calories it would be best to eat them as a stand alone snack. Four Brazil nuts will come in around 130 calories and since they are high in natural fats they will help hold you. If you are eating them for the benefits mentioned in the study, then keep in mind that eating them once a month is all that is needed. Eating more does not appear to help. The study showed that the people that ate more than 4 a month did not see anymore improvement in cholesterol reduction.

Maybe you will want to add some Brazil nuts to your menu.

What do you think?

Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

About Jeff

Jeff Pearce is a board certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and has coached hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth to help them achieve their health goals. If you would like more information about his services view the Health Consultations section. For those not in the physical area Distance Coaching is an option. A 15 minute "No Cost" informational consult is available, by phone, to chat and answer questions about services. To schedule your no cost informational consultation please contact us .

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