Start living your best life!

Get Dr La Puma's Healthy Bites & Weekly Wows in your inbox to help you feel your best inside and out. Insights, healthy recipes and recommended household, culinary, literary, botanical and natural products to make your life easier, healthier and more fun.

Get Your 2 Free Downloadable Mini-Books When You Sign Up!

Green Rx & Real Age Excerpt


Free Healthy Recipes

Chef MD



Healthy Bytes

Generic filters
Exact matches only
Filter by Custom Post Type

Take 2 Brazil Nuts Per Day and Call Me in the Morning: Why Selenium Can Protect You Against Prostate Cancer

By DrLaPuma 19 years ago1 Comment
Home  /  Aging and Costs of Aging  /  Take 2 Brazil Nuts Per Day and Call Me in the Morning: Why Selenium Can Protect You Against Prostate Cancer
Organic brazil nuts:

Brazil nuts are not only tasty, but can protect you against prostate cancer. These nuts–which are actually seeds if we want to get technical–contains selenium and this is the active ingredient against cancer.

However, in high doses, selenium can be detrimental to your health. You need to make sure you eat the right number of Brazil nuts and not more. But how many Brazil nuts should you eat? 2 per day. Read on to discover more tips about using the brazil nut to prevent prostate cancer and the science behind it.

The Health Benefits of Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts come from the Brazil nut tree, a member of the lecythidaceae family of trees in South America. They come in shells which must be removed before eating them. There are USDA approved organic Brazil nuts, which might be even healthier.

Brazil nuts have a variety of health benefits, which the Brazilians have known for a while. They are a great source of polyunsaturated fats, manganese, monounsaturated fats, fatty acids, potassium, and calcium. They are a great addition to a weight loss diet, but they can also protect against certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer. That’s because brazil nuts naturally let you increase your selenium intake.

Brazil nuts are possibly the best plant-based source of selenium, though selenium mineral can also be obtained from animal foods, especially seafood, and from high quality supplements of selenium: this antioxidant formula with vitamin E contains 50 micrograms of selenium per tablet, and this immune system formula (Kaprex AI) with zinc and vitamin D which helpfully targets healthy immune system activity also has 50 micrograms of selenium.

In a Harvard study of selenium, 586 men who developed prostate cancer (CA) during a 13-year follow-up were compared with 577 who were cancer-free.  Those with the highest levels of plasma selenium at baseline had the lowest risk of advanced prostate cancer.

If you want to learn more ways to be healthier using food and nature, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. Each week I’ll share easy tips to develop a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Brazil Nut Nutrition

Brazil nut nutrition is not complex. Brazil nuts are actually an edible seed, rich in calories and unsaturated fats with a high selenium content. Usually, they are farmed organically as most still come from Brazil where they grow wild in the Amazon rainforest, a particularly paleo food, as they have to be wild-gathered. 

Unlike other tree nuts, like cashews and pistachios, which lower cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, Brazil nuts seem to act immediately. I’ve been able to help many people lower cholesterol with food instead of statins.

In one study, just four Brazil nuts lowered LDL-c cholesterol within 9 hours. Four Brazil nuts lowered cholesterol the most after 24 hours, from 85 mg/dl to 65 mg/dl, and cholesterol levels stayed down for 30 days! Yes, this study was just 15 people, but wow.

In contrast, Meta-Sitosterol™ 2.0, a Plant Sterol Complex for Support of Healthy Cholesterol Levels at 2 grams per day, which features the active, preferred form of vitamin B9 or folate (L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate), can be expected to lower cholesterol levels about the same amount.

The nut’s high cholesterol levels suggests an alternative to starving yourself before getting on the scale, or what to do if you forgot to fast before your low density lipoprotein (LDL or LDL cholesterol) cholesterol test: the nutrition of Brazil nuts!

Brazil Nuts and Heart Health

Lower cholesterol means a lower risk of a heart attack, less free radicals which can cause cancer, and a lower risk of heart disease. While it is speculated that brazil nuts in genera are good for heart health because they release oxidative stress, more research is needed on this claim.

How Many Brazil Nuts Should You Eat?

I’ve also written about Brazil nuts and testosterone in REFUEL (a food, fitness and lifestyle way to get healthy and boost low testosterone with fat loss).  If you don’t know your testosterone level, there are now reliable home tests for testosterone: I compare eight of them in a recent blog. The health benefits of Brazil nuts include higher than average concentrations of the important minerals magnesium, zinc, boron and of course selenium.  These are all needed for steroid and testosterone synthesis, but eating more Brazil nuts is not necessarily better for you.

Why? Because Selenium can be toxic, if overdone with food or supplements. Chinese research shows that taking nearly 5 mg/day of selenium caused hair and nail loss, skin problems, dental disease and neurologic pathology, 100 times the RDI of 55 micrograms/day, which is in 2/3 of a Brazil nut. Calories per Brazil nut: approximately 30.

However, in the Harvard study, those with the highest baseline plasma selenium levels that were not toxic had a 48% reduced risk of prostate CA compared with those men with the lowest levels. And men with PSA scores of less than 4 who had high selenium levels had a far lower risk of prostate CA compared with any others. Higher nail selenium, which is an even more reliable marker of selenium stores in the body than plasma levels, is also associated with lower incidence of prostate cancer (odds ratio 0.29, 95% CI 0.22-0.40) in both nonaggressive and aggressive prostate cancer.

Dietary selenium, such as that from Brazil nuts, is readily absorbed, especially from food, and its bioavailability is over 50 percent.  Other research shows that men given 200 mcg/d of yeast-based Selenium protected against prostate cancer if they had low levels. The same appears to be true for lung cancer and selenium. The Predimed study suggests that nuts like Brazil nuts measurably improve longevity.

Other Brazil nut benefits include being low carb, a natural seed and unprocessed, and relatively high protein as well as tasty. Brazil nut calories are more than most nuts because they are larger and richer.

Who Should Eat Brazil Nuts?

More than half of U.S. men have less than ideal levels of Selenium. Most men should take 2 Brazil nuts (under 200 mcg) per day: if Brazil nuts are not for you, look at a high quality supplement. Learn more about sugar feeding cancer (does it, really?) and what you eat.

Brazil nuts are organic and natural. In general, eating more nature-based foods and spending time in nature can lead to a longer and happier life. However, most people in modern society suffer from a nature deficit disorder. A nature deficit disorder negatively impacts your physical and mental health. Find out if you have one (and get customized solutions to your inbox). Take the free nature deficit disorder quiz now.

Other Ways to Reduce Prostate Cancer

Brazil nuts are not the only way to reduce prostate cancer risk benefits. Concentrated Ultra Prostagen™ features concentrated extracts of saw palmetto berry and stinging nettle. Saw palmetto may affect the level of testosterone in the body and have an even greater anti-inflammatory activity when combined with lycopene. 

Or, you can take a Testralin™ Testosterone Balance Support, a selenium supplement, to get positive health effects without the risk of eating too many Brazil nuts, which is not good for your health. Click here to check out Testralin and get the best deal on these supplements.

  Aging and Costs of Aging, Cancer, Culinary medicine, Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Refuel and Men's Health, Vitamins and Supplements

Get Dr La Puma’s Healthy Bites free newsletter designed to help make your life easier, healthier and more fun.

Simply add your email below and we'll send you a confirmation.