Brazil nuts: Nutritional composition, health benefits and safety aspects

Food Res Int. 2017 Oct;100(Pt 2):9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.08.036. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


Brazil nuts are among the richest selenium food sources, and studies have considered this Amazonian nut as an alternative for selenium supplementation. Besides selenium, Brazil nuts present relevant content of other micronutrients such as magnesium, copper, and zinc. The nutritional composition of nuts, also characterized by adequate fatty acid profile and high content of protein and bioactive compounds, has many health benefits. In the present review, we examine the nutritional composition of Brazil nuts, comparing it with other nuts, and describe the relevance of possible contaminants and metal toxicants observed in this nut for human health. Furthermore, we report different trials available in the literature, which demonstrate positive outcomes such as modulation of the lipid serum profile, enhancement of the antioxidant system and improvement of anti-inflammatory response. These effects have been assessed under different conditions, such as cognitive impairment, dyslipidemia, cancer, and renal failure.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Brazil nut; Health effects; Nuts; Phytochemicals; Selenium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Bertholletia / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Safety*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Benefits*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Micronutrients / analysis
  • Nuts / chemistry*
  • Phytochemicals / analysis
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Selenium


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Micronutrients
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Proteins
  • Selenium