Unsaturated fats, plenty of protein and an excess of selenium for cell renewal – there are plenty of reasons to recommend eating Brazil nuts, which are often included in trail mix and other selections of nuts.
However, consumer protection experts say there can indeed be too much of a good thing when it comes to Brazil nuts, not least because they’re naturally radioactive.
While most food is thought to have an extremely low level of radioactivity, the levels in Brazil nuts are high enough to cause illness if eaten in excess.
”They can have around 1,000 times higher radium content than the average of all foods contaminated with radium,” says nutritionist Susanne Moritz.
Anyone who eats two Brazil nuts a day increases their intake of natural radionuclides by about half, compared to average dietary conditions.
Even at this level though, German government radiation experts say you need not fear any negative health consequences.
An excess of the recommended daily limit of two Brazil nuts, however, can lead to symptoms like garlic breath, nausea, diarrhoea, skin rashes, a metallic taste in the mouth, loss of hair and nails, and discoloured teeth, according to the US National Institutes of Health.
Extremely high intakes of these nuts (which are technically seeds) with their high levels of selenium nutrients can lead to difficulty breathing, tremors, kidney failure, heart attacks and heart failure.
Statistically speaking, people in Europe eat an average of around 0.1g of Brazil nuts per person per day, which is below the danger level. – dpa
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