Research & Your Health is a series of articles written in accessible, everyday language, focused on the latest scientific research of natural health products.
On February 3, 2015
Background: Brazil nuts are energy-dense and considered to be a good source of unsaturated fatty acids and selenium. The Brazil nut seeds (pictured on the left) — which look like nuts, but are actually found inside the Brazil nut itself — have been associated with improved functioning of the immune system, improved blood lipid profiles, lower blood pressure, decreased insulin resistance, and lower levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a single dose of Brazil nuts on the inflammatory markers of healthy individuals.
Method: A randomized crossover study was conducted with 10 healthy individuals. Each individual was tested four times regarding intake of different portions of Brazil nuts: 0, 5, 20 and 50 g. At each testing period, peripheral blood was collected before and at 1, 3, 6, 9, 24, and 48 hours after intake of seeds, as well as at 5 and 30 days after intake of various Brazil nut portions. Blood samples were then tested for levels of several inflammatory markers.
Results: Consumption of Brazil nut did not affect biochemical parameters for liver and kidney function, indicating absence of hepatic and renal toxicity. A single intake of Brazil nuts (20 or 50 g) caused a significant decrease in levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.
Conclusion: The results indicate a long-term decrease in inflammatory markers after a single intake of large portions of Brazil nuts in healthy volunteers. Therefore, the long-term effect of regular Brazil nut consumption on inflammatory markers should be better investigated.
The Findings in Perspective: The study yielded positive benefits, with decreased inflammatory blood markers for up to 30 days following consumption of Brazil nuts. Although these results are positive, it is important to keep in mind that there were only 10 subjects, and they were all healthy, young adults. In order to fully understand the longer-term effects of Brazil nut consumption on inflammatory markers, longer trials with more frequent consumption and a larger sample size should be conducted. Click here to read the complete scientific abstract.