Common names In several Spanish-speaking countries in South America, walnuts from Brazil are called chestnuts from Brazil, walnuts from Brazil, or chestnuts from Pará (or Para). In Brazil, they are more commonly called castanha-do-Pará (meaning chestnuts from Pará in Portuguese), and other names are also used. Brazil nut, Brazil nut tree, Bertholletia excelsanoun. My grandparents still call them that, I didn't realize that their real name was Brasil Nuts until high school or university.
Despite its name, Brazil nuts are technically a seed rather than a nut. By definition, nuts are hard-shelled fruits that contain a single large seed. Walnuts and pistachios are good examples. During the study, 91 people with hypertension and high blood lipid levels received 13 g of granulated, partially defatted Brazil nuts or a placebo every day for 12 weeks.
A single nut from Brazil contains 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, meaning that just one nut per day can provide the recommended adult daily allowance of 55 mcg. In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts contain lots of protein, essential minerals, and healthy fats. Brazil nuts are some of the most valuable non-wood products in the Amazon, but they are extremely sensitive to deforestation due to their complex ecological requirements. Many forest communities rely on the collection and sale of nuts from Brazil as a vital and sustainable source of income, and sweet nuts provide protein and calories to tribal, rural and even urban Brazilians.
Brazil nuts are among the best sources of natural selenium, an essential mineral known for its antioxidant properties. A small-scale trial reported that eating one Brazil nut a day for 6 months had positive effects on some cognitive functions among older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) compared to those in the control group. Brazil nuts can offer surprising and powerful nutritional benefits, such as improving heart health, providing antioxidants, and improving brain function. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that eating one Brazil nut a day for 8 weeks reduced total cholesterol and fasting glucose levels in healthy adults.
Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary sources of selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties. Brazil nuts are related to other tropical trees appreciated for their fruits and nuts, such as the cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis), the anchovy pear (Grias cauliflora) and the monkey pot (Lecythis species). Participants in the Brazil nut group had higher levels of selenium and greater activity of an antioxidant enzyme called GPX3. The Brazilian nut (Bertholletia excelsa), also called Pará nut, is the edible seed of a large South American tree (Lecythidaceae family) found in the Amazonian forests of Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. The Brazilian nut is particularly well known in the Brazilian state of Pará, where it is called castanha-do-Pará (nut from Pará) and is cultivated as one of the main nuts sold in the world.
Brazil nuts are commonly eaten raw or blanched and are high in protein, dietary fiber, thiamine, selenium, copper, and magnesium.