Brazil Nut – Natural Source Of Selenium

Specific in its composition of amino acids and vitamins, the Brazil nut has a beneficial effect on the immune and cardiovascular system, it is a powerful antioxidant which should be consumed moderately.

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In nutritional terms, Brazil nut is the richest natural source of selenium, an important antioxidant that provides cancer protective benefits.  Just two Brazil nuts per day would have been sufficient to raise dietary selenium intake to within recommended intake levels for the mineral. Brazil nut contains rich content of calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. These nuts are now available in all health food stores, and because of the high fat content should be consumed in moderation.

The Brazil nut tree is predominantly found in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Jamaica, Malaysia and the United States. It has the shape of a triangle slightly bent, closed in a solid shell, like a coconut. The nuts are cut open with a long sharp knife similar to a machete.

To gain maximum benefits of consuming Brazil nuts, it is good to consume them unshelled (raw). Raw Brazil nuts are supposed to be ivory white with a little yellow effect. Brazil nuts have been found to consist high amounts of aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic, hence European Union has placed strict restrictions on import of Brazil nuts. In addition, they contain a radioactive element radium, which is not the result of contamination of the soil on which it grows, but due to the complex composition of its vast root system.

This nuts consists of 14.3%protein, of which a considerable part belongs to the amino acid methionine, which makes it the richest natural source of this substance. The combination of Brazil nuts with cashew or pistachio gets the ideal composition of all the necessary amino acids in the natural form needed by the body. The same effect is achieved if the Brazil nuts are mixed with grains and legumes. It is rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, potassium and magnesium. However, it is  best known as a source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that acts preventively against cancer. Because of all of these good ingredients, Brazil nuts boost the immune system and improve the cardiovascular system. It is rich in glutamine, glutamic acid and arginine, which increase the absorption of selenium and other minerals.

Recipe:

Couscous with Nuts and Dried Fruit

Ingredients:

  • 250 g couscous
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 80 g butter
  • 40 g parmesan
  • Salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 50 g coarsely chopped toasted slivered almonds
  • 50 g coarsely chopped toasted and skinned Brazil nuts
  • 50 g dried plums, chopped
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped
  • 50 g raisins
  • 50 g dried cherries

Preparation time: 25 minutes

In a medium saucepan boil 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the couscous. Cover with a lid and let sit until the couscous has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, about 2 minutes. Stir, add butter, cover and let 2 minutes to swell. Add dried fruits, nuts, parmesan, add salt and preserved lemon juice. Cover and leave the dried fruits to swell.

I really like it served hot, but it can be heated in a microwave as well.  If you like juicy raisins, then you can soak them in water ten minutes before you add them in the couscous.

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