Brazil nuts are very large sized nuts that come in dark brown or black shells. While the namesake does come from the fact that they are often grown in Brazil, they are found in other locations as well. They include Columbia and Peru but they are also shipped to locations all over the world. The biggest amount of Brazil nuts actually comes from Bolivia.
They grow on trees that are found in rainforests then picked from them. It may be unbelievable but some of the trees in these rainforests are up to 1,000 years old. The trees are pollinated by bees in order for the nuts to grow. It takes more than a year, about 14 months for them to be ready to be harvested. More than 20,000 tons of them are harvested and then shipped around the world annually.
In addition to being a delicious and healthy snack, Brazil nuts are used for various other things. The oil from the nuts can be used to make paint, as a lubricant, and as an ingredient in various types of cosmetics. The Brazil nut is hard to miss while in the shell though as it is the largest of the nuts that a person can choose from.
Some individuals have been afraid to eat Brazil nuts due to myths about them being dangerous. They do contain traces of both barium and radium but the amount is so low that a person wont become ill from eating them, even if they eat a large number of them on a regular basis.
Some researchers believe that eating Brazil nuts on a regular basis can help a person prevent various types of cancers. This includes prostate cancer for men. This is due to the high amount of selenium found in them. You only need to consume two Brazil nuts each day to get enough selenium to fight of such ailments.
Due to the work involved in harvesting them and the cost of importing, Brazil nuts can be expensive. Yet they are a great snack to treat yourself to and they are good for you as well. Make sure you have a good quality nut cracker on hand as well to help you penetrate the thick shells.