Brazil nuts may help you get some relief from hypothyroidism, says my mom

thyroid and joint pain

Nothing feels worse than putting every effort you could but it deems no result. If you are someone following a healthy diet, working out regularly but still gaining weight, feeling tired, losing hair, and always feeling constipated, it could be due to hypothyroidism. But worry not! My mom has an amazing hack for you, try eating Brazil nuts to reduce hypothyroidism. She believes that Brazil nuts have the right amount of selenium which is a nutrient much needed for hypothyroid patients. So, eating Brazil nuts can provide some relief from hypothyroidism. Here’s how Brazil nuts for hypothyroidism work and ways to include it in your diet.

What is hypothyroidism?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Your thyroid’s main job is to control your metabolism — how your body uses energy. According to a 2023 study published in the StatsPearl Journal, hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones to meet the requirements of your body. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Tiredness
  • More sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Hoarse voice
  • Coarse hair and skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Menstrual cycles that are heavier than usual or irregular
  • Thinning hair and eyebrow hair loss
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression and memory problems
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to problems! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Brazil nut for hypothyroidism: Does it work?

Brazil nuts, or Bertholletia excelsa, are an excellent natural source of magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. It also has beneficial effects on plasma selenium levels, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and thyroid hormones. Additionally, it is rich in antioxidants including selenium, vitamin E, and phenols like gallic acid and ellagic acid, found in a study published in the Journal of King Saud University, Science. Plus, not only Brazil nuts are beneficial for hypothyroidism but even locally available nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, have good amounts of selenium.

“Selenium contributes to the antioxidant defence in the thyroid, by removing oxygen free radicals generated during the production of thyroid hormones. Selenium has also been shown to reduce thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) and the severity of hypothyroidism symptoms,” says Internal Medicine specialist Dr Tushar Tayal.

How to consume Brazil nuts to treat hypothyroidism?

Brazil nuts are often touted as a natural remedy for hypothyroidism due to their high selenium content, a mineral essential for thyroid function. Here are some ways to add brazil nuts for hypothyroidism to your diet, explains Nutritionist Dr Kiran Dayal:

  • Eating 1-3 Brazil nuts daily can provide enough selenium to support thyroid health without risking selenium toxicity. You should consume Brazil nuts raw and in moderation.
  • Chewing them thoroughly is important to aid digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Incorporating Brazil nuts into your diet as a snack or adding them to salads, oatmeal, or smoothies can be a convenient way to enjoy their health benefits.

Other benefits of Brazil nuts

1. Reduces inflammation

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of antioxidants, which prevent damage from free radicals and maintain the health of cells. Brazil nuts are a good source of phenols like gallic and ellagic acids as well as antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium. Selenium boosts glutathione peroxidase enzyme levels, which help to reduce inflammation and protect the body from oxidative damage, according to a 2023 study published in the Nutrients MDPI Journal.

2. Helps to lower blood sugar

“If you are suffering from a high blood sugar problem, eating Brazil nuts can be beneficial. Foods high in selenium have been shown to help improve blood sugar levels. Eating one Brazil nut per day for 8 weeks may reduce fasting glucose and total cholesterol in healthy persons,” says the expert.

Also Read: Brazil nuts are a powerhouse of nutrition! Know its wholesome health benefits

3. Improves brain function

Brazil nuts contain ellagic acid, a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may provide neuroprotective and antidepressant benefits to the brain. A study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry has indicated that selenium plays a role in maintaining important brain signalling pathways in the central nervous system, including GABA and dopamine signalling. These pathways are particularly important in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Brazil nuts are healthy
Brazil nuts can be a good addition to a hypothyroidism-friendly diet. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Are there any side effects of Brazil nuts?

While Brazil nuts offer numerous health benefits, consuming them in excessive amounts can lead to selenium toxicity. You must look out for the symptoms of selenium toxicity, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, hair loss, and even neurological abnormalities.

Also, it is crucial to limit Brazil nut intake to avoid surpassing the daily recommended selenium intake, which is around 55 micrograms for adults. Additionally, individuals with allergies to tree nuts should avoid Brazil nuts to prevent allergic reactions, explains Dr Dayal.

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