I’m nuts about nuts, but some of them are better for us than others. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are all great for helping to control blood sugar. Nuts may be small in size and have relatively high levels of calories and fat, but they are nutrient dense. They are full of protein, unsaturated (healthy) fat, vitamins and fiber. These factors help keep blood sugar levels low. Healthful as they are, nuts are high in calories, so it’s a good idea to substitute nuts for high-carbohydrate foods, such as croutons or pretzels. Sprinkle them on yogurt and salads, or nibble them for a snack.
Brazil nuts are full of selenium and protein, as well as Omega-3s, which help to keep your skin elastic and hydrated and to reduce swelling and redness.
Brazil nuts have the highest levels of selenium of just about any food. Selenium is a trace element that tests have shown to provide protection from cancer. The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) says selenium is, “Antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-carcinogenic,” which means it protects cells, boosts immunity, and helps fight cancer and heart disease. In addition, selenium helps the body to rid itself of toxic metals like cadmium and mercury. Selenium is difficult to obtain from plant and animal-based foods throughout most of the country.
Unless you’re eating foods grown in the high plains like the Dakotas and Nebraska that have volcanic soil, usually supplements are required to consume the levels of selenium that create benefit.
Brazil nuts are also loaded with protein and Omega-3s, which help to keep your skin elastic and hydrated and to reduce swelling and redness. They have a creamy texture and can be used in most any recipe calling for nuts. Try my luscious recipe for Brazil Nut Tarts for an unforgettable dessert. It’s just one of the delicious, age-defying desserts in my first cookbook, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook.
These tarts, with their hint of lime and rich texture, take Brazil nuts to a new level. I like to make several small tarts from this recipe, but you can make one large tart if you prefer.
2 9-in. whole-wheat pie crusts
1 can (12 oz.) fat-free evaporated milk
2 Tbs. tapioca flour diluted in 4 Tbs. water
2 beaten large eggs
2 Tbs. coconut butter
2 Tbs. lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tsp. lime zest
1/2 cup organic sugar or xylitol
1 cup toasted and finely chopped Brazil nuts