Not got time to read the full article? Scroll down to the end of the article for an ‘In a nutshell’ synopsis.
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Nuts are amazing. Close inspection of these tiny powerhouses reveals a multitude of anti-ageing benefits that can make a serious contribution to the quest for longevity both in functions of the body and in our appearance.
I recently watched an incredible presentation by Dr Michael Greger (Author of ‘How not to Die’) where he extolled the virtues of the brazil nut with specific reference to the lowering of cholesterol.(1) In his usual inimitable style he described how just four brazil nuts consumed once a month reduces cholesterol levels, not only for the immediate time following consumption but for at least thirty days after. (The researchers stop measuring after this time.)
He outlined how these four nuts worked faster than any medication including statins. This small amount also does not contribute to liver or kidney toxicity from the selenium content. (more about that later)
As cholesterol issues increase as we age utilising this information will be beneficial in our quest for longevity.
Putting aside this amazing attribute, to maximise high quality longevity we want the foods we consume to multi task for us and the brazil nut does not disappoint. Primarily the source of concern with this blog is longevity and anti-ageing so the consequent avenues explored will relate specifically to these aspects.
Glowing, dewy skin with fewer wrinkles
Again, the wonder ingredient selenium shines but how exactly does it contribute to anti-ageing? The answer lies in its antioxidant properties which perform a range of actions. It improves the functions of vitamins E and C which ultimately results in decreased aging of the skin.
Brazil nuts also contain zinc, combine this with selenium and the skin is assisted in protecting itself against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Selenium can also increase the elasticity of the skin by stimulating the production of glutathione- an enzymatic antioxidant.
The fore-mentioned zinc content also helps to reduce and prevent acne.
Consuming brazil nuts can also bring other skin benefits such as assisting in the healing process and the prevention of dry skin.
As we age our metabolism slows down. This can be due to a range of factors such as loss of muscle (muscle burns calories even at rest), general aging and tendencies to be less active as we get older.
The selenium in brazil nuts helps the thyroid gland to convert its hormones to a suitable format which then becomes available to your cells. Not only does it regulate thyroid hormone synthesis, it also exhibits a protective factor against free radicals.
Yip you guessed it,selenium again. Ageing can bring with it the onset of arthritis. Brazil nuts hold within them high amounts of good fats, antioxidants vitamins and minerals. The ability of selenium to keep free radicals in check is thought to reduce oxidative damage to joint tissues and cartilage. Inflammation is the enemy here and just one brazil nut per day can reduce oxidative stress in such a manner that it can indeed prevent the development of osteoarthritis. The high selenium content can also reduce the severity of arthritic conditions.
Brazil nuts contain calcium, magnesium and potassium which can assist with the regulation of blood pressure. Polyunsaturated ad monounsaturated fats are present in high quality format within brazil nuts. This decreases your risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. (2)
Brazil nuts are tiny but mighty. They should take their place proudly on the medal winning podium for their ability to contribute to a vast range of anti-ageing health benefits.
In a Nutshell
- Just 4 brazil nuts can lower your cholesterol for at least 30 days
- Brazil nuts contain selenium
- Selenium has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals
- A combination of components within brazil nuts can fight aging of the skin
- Brazil nuts can prevent sun damage
- Brazil nuts can reduce the risk of arthritis and alleviate the severity of arthritic conditions
- Brazil nuts can reduce your risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease
- 2-4 brazil nuts per day are sufficient
Points to note
Please note that in large quantities selenium is toxic. The recommended dosage is 200mg
Cancer sufferers should research the issues raised that selenium from brazil nuts may not be beneficial in their circumstances- read more here.
1.Colpo, Elisângela & Dalton de Avila Vilanova, Carlos & Reetz, Luiz & Duarte, Marta & Farias, Iria & Muller, Edson & Lima Hermes Muller, Aline & Flores, Erico & Wagner, Roger & Rocha, Joao Batista. (2013). A Single Consumption of High Amounts of the Brazil Nuts Improves Lipid Profile of Healthy Volunteers. Journal of nutrition and metabolism. 2013. 653185. 10.1155/2013/653185.
2.Souza R.G.M., Gomes A.C., Naves M.M.V., Mota J.F. Nuts and Legume Seeds for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: Scientific Evidence and Mechanisms of Action. Nutr. Rev. 2015;73:335–347. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuu008. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
Disclaimer-The information in my blog posts are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.There is no intention for the information to be medical advice.