Posted on Sep 01, 2022, 2 p.m.
People usually associate cholesterol with something bad for their health. However, that’s not exactly true. Specifically, cholesterol is a fatty substance that your body needs to produce new cells, hormones, bile, and vitamin D. Now, your body produces this substance naturally, but it is also obtained from certain foods. And if you’re not careful, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to an excess of cholesterol in your body. And it is this excess cholesterol that is bad for you and can cause serious health issues. Thus, finding ways to lower your cholesterol is vital. Of course, there are cholesterol-lowering drugs that you can take, but using natural therapies is a great option as well. And in this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of Brazil nuts for high cholesterol.
What does high cholesterol entail?
To better understand the benefits of Brazil nuts for high cholesterol, you should learn about the causes and consequences of excess cholesterol. Specifically, when cholesterol builds up in your system, it can create fatty deposits that stick to the walls of your blood vessels. Once this happens, blood flow is hindered. Thus, you can develop coronary artery disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Or you can develop a clot that can result in a stroke or a heart attack.
As you can see, there are severe consequences, so lowering your cholesterol is essential. But what causes this buildup? Well, there are several risk factors. On the one hand, there are some factors that you have no control over, such as genetics and certain illnesses. And even age and race can increase the risk. On the other hand, there are some risk factors that you can control:
- Obesity and lack of exercise will lower your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol. HDL’s role is to collect the excess cholesterol in your body and transport it to the liver. Subsequently, the liver removes it from your body.
- A poor diet will increase your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. LDL transports cholesterol all over your body, causing the fatty deposits that stick to your blood vessels. In this case, a poor diet entails saturated fats (e.g. full-fat dairy products, chocolate) and trans fats (e.g. processed food).
- Smoking and drinking alcohol both decrease HDL and increase LDL. Not to mention all the other health problems they cause.
What are Brazil nuts?
Brazil nuts are three-sided nuts that are native to South America. What makes them so unique is the incredible amount of nutrients they contain:
- More copper, magnesium, and zinc than any nuts.
- Good unsaturated fats, as well as proteins and dietary fiber.
- One of the richest sources of selenium.
And speaking about selenium, you should know that this nutrient has a lot of health benefits. It helps maintain a healthy thyroid function and prevent cognitive decline. It can also improve your immunity system, thus allowing your body to fight off infections. And it has even been associated with preventing certain types of cancer and the progression from HIV to AIDS. However, further studies must be performed to support these claims.
What are the benefits of Brazil nuts for high cholesterol?
Now that you’ve gained some information about these two let’s see the correlation.
A healthier heart
As previously mentioned, high cholesterol can have severe consequences for your heart. However, Brazil nuts can lower your cholesterol. On the one hand, they contain good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) that decrease cholesterol levels. On the other hand, they contain dietary fiber that lowers bad cholesterol. As a result, the risk of heart disease is much smaller. But of course, you still have to undergo regular cholesterol testing to reduce the risk even more.
Even though there haven’t been too many studies conducted on this topic, the results are very promising. Therefore, further research must be done. For example, one study was conducted in Brazil on healthy volunteers. The results showed that the cholesterol levels improved even after one serving of Brazil nuts.
Keeping your weight under control
As you’ve seen, obesity is one of the common risk factors for high cholesterol. Therefore, keeping your weight under control should be a top priority. On the one hand, you should engage in physical activities. After all, the lack of exercise can also cause high cholesterol.
On the other hand, you should develop healthier eating habits. Of course, if you also want to lose weight, you’ll likely need to go on a diet. But make sure you find a diet to keep you healthy as well. Starving yourself is not an option. For example, you can try a keto diet that involves low-carb meals. And Brazil nuts can help with that because they are keto-friendly.
Know when to stop
Like all good things in life, too much can harm you. And the same goes for Brazil nuts. While they have plenty of health benefits, eating too much of them poses some risks. Firstly, it can lead to selenium toxicity. And some of the most common symptoms are skin rashes, hair loss, and gastrointestinal and nervous system problems. Furthermore, the toxicity can cause kidney failure, heart attack, and breathing problems in some cases.
Secondly, most nuts have high-calorie content, and Brazil nuts are no different. So, even though they are diet-friendly, eating too much of them can lead to weight gain. Therefore, you should limit the daily intake of Brazil nuts to just a few per day. And don’t worry, that’s enough to get all the necessary nutrients.
High cholesterol can pose a significant threat to your health. Therefore, you should undergo regular cholesterol testing to prevent or keep it in check. However, you can also make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol levels apart from testing. And these should include giving up smoking and drinking, starting to exercise, and eating healthy. As to the latter, learn more about foods that can help you lower your cholesterol. And consider the benefits of Brazil nuts for high cholesterol.
Author bio: Raylene T. Garcia has been a content writer for DubaiPT for two years. She mostly writes about the health benefits of good eating habits and exercise because she wants to help people live long and healthy lives. In her free time, she enjoys jogging, hiking, and cooking.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine.
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