The foodie corner of TikTok is absolutely thriving right now. Not only is the app filled with a SZA-approved lasagna soup recipe and a simple frozen-pancake hack, but TikTok content creators are now introducing the world to one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods out there: the Brazil nut.
Though videos with the hashtag #brazilnut have already accumulated 4.1 million views, this superfood is so much more than a TikTok craze. Hailing from the Amazon rainforest, Brazil nuts are a quick and delicious snack that experts say pack a ton of nutrients, vitamins, and health benefits, too — all in just a couple of nuts.
If you're interested in learning more about Brazil nuts' nutrition and all the benefits of Brazil nuts (whether TikTok brought you here or not), you've come to the right place. Below, experts share everything you need to know about Brazil nuts — including why you should only ever eat a few at a time.
What Is a Brazil Nut?
Also referred to as a Brazilian nut, Brazil nuts are large, nutrient-rich nuts that come from the Brazil nut tree grown in the Amazon rainforest, says nutritionist Nataly Komova, RD, nutritionist and fitness expert at JustCBD. Shaped similarly to a kidney bean, these large nuts come with a hard outer shell and a creamy inner nut that tastes similar to an almond, as some TikTok commenters note.
Most importantly, though, Komova tells POPSUGAR that in addition to its addictive taste, the Brazil nut is also "high in healthy fats, protein, fiber, and a variety of essential vitamins and minerals."
Brazil Nuts' Nutrition
Brazil nuts are an extremely healthy snack option, as a serving of 10 grams of Brazil nuts (about two whole Brazil nuts) can offer almost one gram of fiber and close to two grams of protein, depending on the brand and packaging. (For the record, that's a lot of those nutrients from just a couple of nuts!) And thanks to those nutrients, registered dietitian Lori Walker says eating these will help leave you feeling full and satisfied, while also helping with "regular movements of the digestive tract."
Besides protein and fiber, some of the more notable nutrients in Brazil nuts include vitamin E, a nutrient that's important for vision, reproduction, and blood, brain, and skin health, and selenium, a mineral that boosts "immune function and thyroid health," Komova says.
Brazil Nuts' Benefits
Brazil nuts are best known for promoting thyroid and hormone health, as the selenium content in one single Brazil nut — roughly 68-81 micrograms — is all you need to hit your daily goal, Komova says. (According to the School of Health at Harvard University, the recommended daily goal for people older than 19 years old is 55 micrograms.) Selenium protects against cell damage and infections and is involved in reproduction and the metabolism of thyroid hormones, per the School of Public Health at Harvard University. And unfortunately, a deficiency in selenium could contribute to thyroid problems, like fatigue, weight gain, and more.
Thanks to their healthy fats and vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc, Brazil nuts can also "help to improve immune system functioning and reduce inflammation in the body," Walker says. "The unsaturated fat content may help to lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease, too," she says.
How Many Brazil Nuts Can You Eat?
Because of the high selenium content, Walker recommends eating no more than two to four Brazil nuts a day. "This amount should provide enough selenium, but consuming too much could lead to toxicity," she says. Early signs that you may have consumed too much selenium include garlic breath or a metallic taste in your mouth, but extremely high intakes of selenium can cause tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks, and heart failure, according to the National Institute of Health.
Walker also warns that if you're pregnant or nursing, "it is best to avoid eating Brazil nuts altogether due to the potential risks associated with high amounts of selenium." Regardless of if you're pregnant or not, if you're worried about your selenium consumption or overall nutrition, it's best to consult a doctor or registered dietitian who can advise on what to eat (or what not to eat) with your personal body and health concerns in mind.