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Selenium is a powerful mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of your body. The mineral helps the immune system work properly, as well as in reproduction. It also helps prevent damage to cells and tissues. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium but eating too many of them can cause harm.
Brazil nuts contain very high amounts of selenium and can cause you to go over the upper limit if you eat too many, warns the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Getting too much selenium over time can cause the following:
- Garlic breath
- Skin rashes
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Brittle hair or nails
- Loss of hair or nails
- Discoloured teeth
- Nervous system problems.
“Extremely high intakes of selenium can cause severe problems, including difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure,” warns the NIH.
The daily upper limits for selenium include intakes from all sources—food, beverages, and supplements.
According to the NHS, you should not exceed 75μg a day for men (19 to 64 years).
If you take selenium supplements, it’s important not to take too much as this could be harmful, warns the Department of Health and Social Care.
“Taking 350μg or less a day of selenium supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”
It’s worth noting that brazil nuts can provide a wealth of benefits when eaten in moderation.
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One of the primary benefits is giving a boost to cognition. Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants which science suggests are great for the brain.
Evidence suggests that these compounds may help to prevent depression and cognitive decline.
What’s more, eating brazil nuts can reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol that clogs arteries, notes Holland and Barrett.
“Brazil nuts are such masters at lowering cholesterol, lipids in the blood (which indicate cholesterol levels) may be lower immediately after eating one portion!”
Brazil nuts’ selenium content is also strongly correlated with supporting normal thyroid function.
For those who have an inactive thyroid, emerging evidence suggests that consuming selenium can improve thyroid function, and, by doing so, enhance mood and immune protection.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that Brazil nut consumption can support your mood.
A scientific study showed that when participants with anxiety and depression took 100mcg of selenium a day (the equivalent of eating one to two Brazil nuts) for five weeks, their symptoms alleviated.
An average 29g portion of Brazil nuts contains:
- 737 percent of your recommended daily selenium intake. Selenium helps the immune and reproductive systems function and can help heal damaged tissues.
- 26 percent of your recommended daily magnesium. Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of bone health and muscle function.
- 20 percent of your recommended daily phosphorus intake. Phosphorus encourages bone and teeth health.
General dietary tips
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
“This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight,” explains the NHS.
“It’s recommended that you eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.”
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