The Tasty Snack That’s Actually Healthy for Overweight Women

We all enjoy good food, satisfying food.  And by mid-morning, late-afternoon, it’s tough to say no to a treat.

Instead of reaching for the “junk food,” like cookies and candy bars, here’s another snack idea…

One that’s satisfying… good-tasting… mostly because it’s got that ingredient we all love… FAT.

In a recent study, a group of Brazilian researchers focused on this fatty little snack.

Their study involved a group of 37 severely obese women. The researchers tested the women’s blood before the study began.  And, as it turned out, these severely overweight women were low in several key nutrients – selenium, for one. They also had less evidence of active antioxidants.

Which meant less ammunition against “free radicals” from pollution, chemicals, and other modern-day assaults.

So their health suffered. They were at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes… all the chronic diseases.

But then, each woman was asked to eat one of these snacks every day for 8 weeks.1

Just one.

They wanted to see just what effect the snack had on the women’s overall nutrition.

And in that 8-week study, by eating just ONE of these yummy snacks, the women turned their health around.

After blood tests done at the end of the study, it was found that the women’s selenium levels were higher. They had more antioxidants in their bloodstreams – fighting against the free-radicals.

So what was the luscious snack that did all that?

It’s one you don’t hear about too often.

But this group of researchers is ready to fill the candy bowl with it…

Brazil nuts.

That’s right, one Brazil nut every day made these women healthier.  The study appears in the journal, Nutrition Research.

With Brazil nuts in their daily diet, those ladies had a significant increase in their HDL (good) cholesterol. And that greatly reduced their risk of heart disease.

Just from one nut a day!

Another study had a similar finding about Brazil nuts – improved HDL, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improved overall total cholesterol.  The levels of triglycerides (another “bad” fat) were lower, too.

That study involved teens living in Brazil. So, yes – this snack is healthy for people of all ages and sizes.2

In fact, nuts in general are good for you.

They are high in healthy fats called mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs, respectively), as well as protein, fiber, polyphenols (antioxidants), vitamins, and minerals.

Nuts are also rich in natural polysterols, which act much like “statin drugs” to improve cholesterol in your bloodstream.

And, nuts help control blood sugar.  Research shows that they work particularly well after eating a high-carbohydrate meal.  So if you happen to indulge in your favorite pasta dish?  Make sure you eat a handful of nuts after.  Your blood sugar stands a better chance of staying stable.3

The tricky thing about nuts, though, is the fat and calories. Can you gain weight from eating too many nuts?

Just the opposite, it seems. Eating nuts regularly may lower body weight and body fat, says one group of researchers. But that’s among people who are watching their calories.

And among people trying to lose weight, eating nuts helped them accomplish their goal – and keep the weight off. Nuts also improved insulin sensitivity – which means it helped control blood sugar, and prevent diabetes.4

The moral of this story:  Fill those candy dishes with nuts instead.  Brazil nuts are an especially good choice.  Keep them in the pantry for after-school or after-work snacks.  Or even bedtime snacks.

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition


  1. eric taylor says:

    I love Brazil nuts, which provide loads of selenium, and many other kinds of nuts that are better to eat between meals than carbohydrates, but have you noticed here in the U.S. that the prices of nuts have been doubling? Even Brazil nuts have doubled, and I wonder if the rain forests are going down, or is it just the added demand competition, or both? Grow more Brazil nuts and Coconuts, and we will all be better off.

  2. Eleanor Hayhoe says:

    Recently a newsletter I received from a Doctor warned about eating brazilnuts when you have selenium in your multivitamen & mineral supplement. There were dire warnings about selenium poisoning and what can happen to you. It is confusing to get such conflicting reports from reportedly authentic authorities. Do you have any research on this?

    Eleanor Hayhoe

  3. Gertrude "Trudy" says:

    RE article on Brazil nuts and selenium: Several years ago, an article stated that two Brazil nuts still in their shells provide 100% of the daily requirement for selenium, but that pre-shelled Brazil nuts rapidly oxidize from heat, light and air, thus the same two nuts, if pre-shelled, stored at warmer temperatures, and exposed to light and air in see-through plastic bags on store shelves for as little as 24-48 hours, may provide only TWO percent of a day’s worth of selenium. Brazil nuts, like black walnuts, are also high in fat, so they become rancid rather quickly, whether in or out of their shells. Refrigeration can slow but not stop the rancidity process. And–in-shell Brazil nuts can be hard to find: nearly all the Brazil nuts I see for sale are pre-shelled–possibly because the shells are very hard to crack. The bottom line: Buy only in-shell Brazil nuts, not too long after harvest, refrigerate them still in their shells in an airtight container, crack them open only as you intend to eat them right then, and eat two a day.
    A selenium supplement is a good idea, especially if accompanied by Vitamin E, during the months of the year when freshly harvested in-shell Brazil nuts are not available. (The selenium-E combo was in other articles about men’s prostate health.) Hope this helps someone.

  4. Faolan says:

    These reports are NOT confusing – unless you focus solely on the recommendations, and ignore the facts.

    Fact 1: selenium deficiency is bad for you.
    Fact 2: selenium overdose is bad for you, too (nothing strange in that. It’s the same with all the minerals).

    Therefore, if you have a deficiency – as was the case with the obese women in the study – you should eat foods rich in selenium. However, if you don’t – because, for instance, you are regularly using a supplement – then you should be careful around foods such as Brazil nuts, so as to avoid an overdose. It’s that simple.

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