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.

References

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.