Very beneficial when consumed in small doses, Brazil nuts are good for the heart and thyroid
The 7 foods richest in selenium to regulate the thyroid
Brazil nuts come from plantations native to the Amazon rainforest, between Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. However, they are quite easily found on the market: they are a highly energetic food rich in essential nutrients for our body.
Dried fruit, in general, has a rather high calorie intake and can therefore frustrate our efforts to lose weight. However, small portions have proved very useful for health: Brazil nuts, in this light, are no exception. Their peculiarity consists in the impressive amount of selenium contained in them. Suffice it to say that a single walnut provides an average of 96 mcg, or 175% of the recommended daily allowance.
Selenium is a fundamental mineral for the proper functioning of the body. Among its properties, those that benefit the immune system and the heart stand out, but scientific evidence has shown its role also in cell growth and thyroid function. In fact, the thyroid produces many hormones essential for growth and the regular functioning of the metabolism. Selenium intervenes precisely in the conversion of thyroid hormone T4 into thyroid hormone T3, the deficiency of which can cause hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
A review published in Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski showed that this mineral also contributes to reducing the risk of developing thyroid cancer. A single Brazil nut a day is enough to supplement the essential amount of selenium to avoid any type of deficiency. Instead, further studies are needed to identify the possible role of this food in reducing symptoms in those suffering from thyroid disease.
Brazil nuts, rich in antioxidants, help reduce the formation of free radicals and related pathologies. It is still selenium that plays an important role: it increases the levels of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation in the body and the negative effects of oxidative stress. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is a powerful ally for the health of the skin and mucous membranes.
Among the polyphenols contained in Brazil nuts, ellagic acid stands out, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This substance also revealed protective effects on the brain and, in a study on guinea pigs, demonstrated antidepressant efficacy. Finally, monounsaturated fats perform their action to protect heart health and reduce bad cholesterol levels, while increasing those of good cholesterol.
As we have already highlighted, it is good not to overdo the consumption of Brazil nuts. In fact, selenium, taken in excessive quantities, can be toxic and lead to kidney, respiratory and heart problems. They can also develop allergic reactions, particularly in those with a nut allergy.