There’s Magic In Those Nuts! Brazil Nuts & Selenium

Jody Kozlow Gardner

Brazil Nuts are loaded with Selenium one of nature’s antioxidants

It’s an age old pursuit. For generations we have sought a magic pill to keep us healthy and promote longevity. We often jump onto nutritional trends in an effort to find the ever-illusive magic potion. Sometimes even rushing in without all the facts. This can be tricky business.

Scientists are delving deeper into the field of antioxidants and their beneficial effects on the body. Antioxidants attack the free radicals that develop from exposure to the air we breathe as well as the food we eat. The radicals left unchecked can contribute to cancer and clogged arteries. Many of our essential minerals have antioxidant qualities and selenium has come out a star.

Selenium is a trace micronutrient.

Our bodies need these trace micronutrients in small amounts to function optimally but yet they play a large roll in making cells function by strengthening and protecting cell structure. Of late, empirical evidence has shown that selenium is not only necessary, but packs an extra punch in terms of protective nutrition making this micronutrient an antioxidant as well. There is growing evidence that higher than recommended intakes may offer additional antioxidant health benefits including reduction in chronic disease and enhanced immune functioning.

The argument is strong for upping selenium intakes. So where is the selenium?

Amazingly, the food with the highest selenium content is also incredibly easy to eat. It’s even portable.

Hello, brazil nut!

Just one nut has 60-70 micrograms of selenium which is enough to meet the daily requirement for women over fifty (the RDA is 55 micrograms). With just two nuts, you will most likely be over the recommended daily allowance, thus beginning to build up your selenium stores and reaping the increased health benefits.

But beware. Eating more brazil nuts than two is not exponentially more beneficial. In fact, the nuts become toxic to your body at even minimally higher levels. As you can never be sure the exact amount of selenium in the nut because the mineral content in the growing soil is so varied, it is essential not to exceed 2 nuts over day.

It’s simple. Two nuts a day are all you need. Think of it “nature’s supplement” rather than a healthy snack that you can mindlessly munch. I pop the two into my smoothie and keep them stored next to my smoothie ingredients so I’m not tempted to over-indulge on them.

So turns out, maybe now there is a magic pill.

My smoothie recipe (it’s thick, I use a spoon to eat it!)

AntioxidantsHemp milk-1/8 cup or so-

Raw cacao nibs – large pinch

Fresh ginger – to taste

2 Brazil nuts

Small handful walnuts

1/4 avocado

Chard (as much as you want!)

1/4 scoop of protein powder (I use Douglas Labs Pea Protein/ Vanilla Bean for the high amino acids)

Blend all in a Vitamix.And then enjoy!


Editors Note: previously published on the author’s website, Ideations on Food.


About Jody Kozlow Gardner

Masters Candidate, NYU Steinhardt, Department of Food Studies & Nutrition.

A self-proclaimed nutrition nerd, Jody began exploring the world of healthy eating as far back as the mid-80’s when health food stores were small, dusty and smelled like wheat germ. In 2015, she enrolled in NYU’s highly regarded Nutrition & Food Studies masters program where she is currently studying all aspects of our food system. Before making the career change, Jody spent twenty years in the fashion world where she created The Pregnancy Survival Kit, a little white box which contained a hip, black wardrobe-in-a-box for pregnancy women. This kit revolutionized the maternity industry and her brand, Belly Basics, was sold in department stores all over the world. Her book, Pregnancy Chic, was published by Random House in 1998.

3 thoughts on “There’s Magic In Those Nuts! Brazil Nuts & Selenium”

  1. joy says:

    LOVE those nuts, but, since they are so action-packed, they are also rock hard. Strongly encourage to have them in a smoothie as seen above or sliced/diced/chopped in a salad to protect your teeth from chipping or fracturing.

  2. Joy Poskozim says:

    Hi! Please be careful with nutrient-dense nuts such as the Brazil nut as it may be stronger than your teeth! Please consume the two nuts a day either in a smoothie as described above or chopped/diced/minced in a salad to protect larger restorations from chipping or fracturing.

    1. Yes that is very true. Same is true with almonds.

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