Dried brazil nuts are a delicious snack. Thanks to their sweet flavor, they are often used as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, and other sweet pastries. Brazil nuts contain high levels of protein and fat, but are also rich in minerals. You should not consume too many at a time because of their selenium content.
From Wikipedia: “The Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) is a South American tree in the family Lecythidaceae, and also the name of the tree's commercially harvested edible seeds.”
“Around 20,000 tons of Brazil nuts are harvested each year, of which Bolivia accounts for about 50%, Brazil 40%, and Peru 10% (2000 estimates).In 1980, annual production was around 40,000 tons per year from Brazil alone, and in 1970, Brazil harvested a reported 104,487 tons of nuts.
Brazil nuts for international trade can come from wild collection rather than from plantations. This has been advanced as a model for generating income from a tropical forest without destroying it. The nuts are gathered by migrant workers known as castanheiros.
Analysis of tree ages in areas that are harvested show that moderate and intense gathering takes so many seeds that not enough are left to replace older trees as they die. Sites with light gathering activities had many young trees, while sites with intense gathering practices had hardly any young trees.
Statistical tests were done to determine what environmental factors could be contributing to the lack of younger trees. The most consistent effect was found to be the level of gathering activity at a particular site. A computer model predicting the size of trees where people picked all the nuts matched the tree size data gathered from physical sites that had heavy harvesting.”
“Brazil nuts are 14% protein, 12% carbohydrate, and 66% fat by weight; 85% of their calories come from fat, and a 100 g serving provides 656 total calories. The fat components are 23% saturated, 38% monounsaturated, and 32% polyunsaturated. Due to their high polyunsaturated fat content, primarily omega-6 fatty acids, shelled Brazil nuts may quickly become rancid.
Nutritionally, Brazil nuts are an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber (30% DV) and various vitamins and dietary minerals. A 100 g serving (75% of one cup) of Brazil nuts contains rich content of thiamin (54% DV), vitamin E (38% DV), magnesium (106% DV), phosphorus (104% DV), manganese (57% DV) and zinc (43% DV) (right table). Brazil nuts are perhaps the richest dietary source of selenium, with a one-ounce (28 g) serving of 6 nuts supplying 774% DV. This is 10 times the adult U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance, more even than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level, although the amount of selenium within batches of nuts varies greatly.
Brazil nut oil contains 75% unsaturated fatty acids composed mainly of oleic and linolenic acids, as well as the phytosterol, beta-sitosterol, and fat-soluble vitamin E.”
“As well as its food use, Brazil nut oil is also used as a lubricant in clocks, for making artists' paints, and in the cosmetics industry. Engravings in Brazil nut shells were supposedly used as decorative jewelry by the indigenous tribes in Bolivia, although no examples still exist. Because of its hardness, the Brazil nut's shell is often pulverized and used as an abrasive to polish materials such as metals and even ceramics (in the same way jeweler's rouge is used).”
“In Brazil, it is illegal to cut down a Brazil nut tree. As a result, they can be found outside production areas, in the backyards of homes and near roads and streets. The fruit containing nuts are very heavy and rigid, and they pose a serious threat to vehicles and people passing under the tree. Brazil nuts sink in fresh water, which can cause clogging of waterways in riparian areas.”