Natural Health Tips

Eat Brazil Nuts to Boost the Immune System, Enhance Fertility and Ward Off Depression

Brazil nuts are one of the most nutritious of all nuts. They are a tasty and satisfying snack that contain a rare source of a mineral known to strengthen the immune system, protect against depression and enhance fertility.

Brazil nuts provide one of the best sources of the antioxidant selenium, a vital mineral that many people are deficient in. In fact, scientists have shown that a daily brazil nut is a better source of the mineral than taking a supplement. This mineral strengthens the immune system's antibody response and helps to prevent cancer, heart disease and premature aging. It is a key component in the action of glutathione, an enzyme that suppresses free radicals and helps to halt the development of tumors.

Selenium is also a mood-boosting mineral. People whose diets are deficient in this nutrient have been found to suffer depression, anxiety and fatigue, and feel better when they eat selenium-rich food.

Brazil nuts are packed with Vitamin E, which works with selenium to provide a super-boost to the immune system. They also contain other important minerals, including magnesium and are rich in omega-6 fatty acids - essential for easing inflammation in the body and enhancing digestion.

Their high selenium and Vitamin E content makes Brazil nuts an excellent fertility-enhancing food. Selenium helps to keep sperm healthy - UK researchers found that when men with fertility problems increased their selenium intake, they produced hardier, more viable sperm cells. Increasing Vitamin E intake also resulted in more fertile sperm and increased fertilization rates in women. Both selenium and Vitamin E are antioxidants so they can help protect sperm against DNA and free-radical damage.

Brazil nuts are high in polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats - this means they go rancid quickly, so buy small quantities at a time and keep them in a cool place, or in the fridge.

Rich in protein, a handful of Brazil nuts eaten raw provides your daily needs of selenium, and makes a satisfying snack. They can be processed into nut milk or butter, or chopped and added to sweet or savory dishes.


Thomson CD, Chisholm A, McLachlan SK, Campbell JM. Brazil nuts: an effective way to improve selenium status. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):379-84. 2008.

Krznjavi H, et al. Selenium and fertility in men. Trace elements in medicine, vol 9(2) (1992), pp. 107-8.

Bayer, R. Treatment of infertility with Vitamin E. International Journal of infertility, vol 5 (1960), pp. 70-8.