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Horse chestnut is beneficial for the heart and brain

Horse chestnut is beneficial for the heart and brain

Brazil nut is a seed of the same group of nuts, almonds and other oilseeds. It is rich in good fats, minerals and phytochemicals and has high nutritional value.

This food contains abundant antioxidant substances, especially selenium. A single nut provides almost 100 mcg of selenium, which corresponds to 150% of the recommended daily dose. Chestnuts have phenolic compounds and flavonoids and are rich in vitamin E, phytosterols and squalene. Its beneficial effects are due to its antioxidant and antiproliferative action, which reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and cancer.

Brazil nut is still important for cardiovascular health, helps lower cholesterol, is good for immunity and active thyroid metabolism.

Main nutrients of Brazil nut

Brazil nuts> 10 g (2 nuts)
Calories66 kcal
Total fat6.71 g
Saturated fats1.6 g
Monounsaturated fats2.38 g
Polyunsaturated fats2.4 g
Proteins1.43 g
Carbohydrate1.17 g
Calcium16 mg
Iron0.24 mg
Phosphorus72 mg
Magnesium38 mg
Potassium66 mg
Zinc0.41 mg
Vitamin E0.57 mg
Selenium192 mcg

Source: Table of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Brazil nuts are a source of potassium. The benefits of this nutrient range from controlling blood pressure to decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and also decreasing urinary calcium excretion.

This chestnut still contains high content of glutathione peroxidase, a powerful antioxidant, which benefits health in many ways: it strengthens the immune system, protects against cardiovascular diseases , has anticancer action, activates thyroid metabolism. Omega 9 is also present in good amounts in Brazil nuts.

Antioxidants help control the production of free radicals and also contribute to immunity, which is reflected in a lower risk of cancer.

Benefits of Brazil nut

Good for the heart: Because of its high omega-9 content and because it provides various antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium, glutathione and squalene, chestnut acts in cardiovascular health. By having antioxidant action and still being rich in unsaturated fats, Brazil nuts favor heart health by reducing bad cholesterol, LDL, and by increasing levels of good cholesterol, HDL.

Protects the brain: Vitamin E, selenium and omega-9 help in memory and reasoning, and these antioxidants, present in the nuts, protect the neurons from the negative actions of free radicals, and can contribute to the prevention of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Good for thyroid: The thyroid depends on some minerals for its perfect functioning, mainly selenium, zinc and iodine. They are part of biochemical reactions that allow the production of thyroid hormones. Often initial hypothyroidism can be corrected with an optimal level of these minerals.

Selenium, vitamin E Photo: Getty Images

Enhances immunity: Selenium, vitamin E has been shown to be an ally of the thyroid because it contains good amounts of selenium. and glutathione are potent antioxidants that help control the production of free radicals and contribute to immunity, which is reflected in a lower risk of cancer.

Recommended amount of Brazil nut

As a food very dense in nutrients and to get the benefits without running the risk of ingesting an excess of selenium, one to two nuts a day is sufficient. Each chestnut weighs approximately 5 grams. Stay at least two days of the week without consuming this food to avoid excess selenium.

Risks of excessive consumption

Consuming in addition to four to six nuts can be harmful to health. This is because this amount of food has between 200 and 300 mcg of selenium, slightly below the maximum daily recommendation of selenium (400 mcg). The occasional consumption of a larger quantity will not cause any problem, which complicates the chronic consumption of high amounts of the nut. There may be an overdose of selenium leading to a toxic condition known as selenose. The symptoms of this problem are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability, peeling of the nails, hair loss, bad breath, gastrointestinal disturbances and damage to the nervous system.

How to consume Brazil nut The best way to consume the Brazil nuts is in natura and without salt, to avoid an excess of sodium. The chestnut must be fresh and without rancid and it is interesting to buy the versions that are already packaged. This is because the bulk versions have a greater risk of contamination, since they are handled by several people and there is not always the validity control and exposure of the environment.

Brazil nuts are good for the thyroid - Photo: Getty Images

In addition, moisture at the place where the oilseed is stored may increase the risk of fungal growth in the food, such as Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which produce toxic substances.

If you have no alternative to buy in places where product turnover is high and inform yourself about the day of the week when the new product is delivered and do the shopping on this day.

Interactions

contains some phytic acid, a substance that could interfere with the absorption of other minerals. Phytic acid is also present in numerous foods such as various nuts, peanuts, seeds, beans and grains, cereals, tubers and green leaves. This is how vegetables store phosphorus, an essential mineral for the production of energy. Despite their apparent disadvantage, phytic acid is somewhat similar to a vitamin, and phytic acid metabolites have necessary functions in cells. Studies suggest that phytic acid confers protective properties against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Therefore, the recommended amount of Brazil nut (two units) will not cause any problems of mineral absorption and there is no problem in ingesting the nut with other foods.

Contraindications

Brazil nuts are not recommended for people who are allergic to this food

Where to find

Brazil nuts can be found in supermarkets, markets, fruit shops and natural products stores.

Brazil nut recipes

Chocolate light brownie

Coconut patty with Brazil nut

Sources consulted:

Reviewed by Nutrologist and orthomolecular doctor Tamara Mazaracki

Nutritionist Nicole Trevisan of ADJ Diabetes Brasil.

Bibliography

Lancet 2000. The importance of selenium to human health.

Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 2014. Nutritional status, oxidative stress and dementia: the role of selenium in Alzheimer's disease.

European Journal of Nutrition 2013. Protective effect of phytate on bone mass s in postmenopausal women.


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