Eat Brazil Nuts for Healthy Cholesterol

Did You Know…that eating just 4 Brazil nuts per month can significantly lower bad cholesterol?

     A recent study on cholesterol proved that eating just a single serving of 4 Brazil nuts had surprisingly positive and lasting effects.  The study, which was published in 2013 in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, proved that “… the ingestion of a single serving of Brazil nut can acutely improve the serum lipid profile of healthy volunteers.”

Just 9 Hours for Results 

For the study, researchers gave 10 men and women a single meal containing either 0, 1, 4, or 8 Brazil nuts.  What they found?  That the single serving of 4 nuts had an almost immediate effect of improving cholesterol levels.  Even more promising was that LDL, sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, had dropped significantly starting just 9 hours after the ingestion of nuts!  In fact, it lowered by nearly 20 points within a day.

It’s important to note that statin drugs, the most commonly prescribed traditional treatment for high cholesterol, take about 4 days to have an effect.

Lasting Benefits 

Not only were the immediate results in this study surprisingly positive, but the benefits continued when researchers measured participants’ cholesterol later—first 5 days after ingesting the nuts, then 30 days after, and at both of these follow-up points, the cholesterol benefits persisted.  In other words, participants’ blood cholesterol started dropping within 9 hours of ingesting a serving of Brazil nuts and it was still down 30 days later.

Did the benefits persist longer than 30 days?  We don’t know, because the researchers didn’t continue taking measurements.  However, 30 days of benefit from just 4 nuts consumed one time is quite impressive!

The researchers also determined that a single serving of 4 nuts was sufficient to produce benefits “without producing liver and kidney toxicity.”  Brazil nuts are high in selenium, so regular consumption can pose the risk of exceeding the tolerable daily limit for that nutrient.  But just 4 nuts a month does not present that risk, the researchers reported.


Less is More

Important to note is that 4 nuts appeared to work better than 8 nuts to lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. 

Cheap, Harmless, Healthy… and Ignored 

You might think that a study published in a peer-reviewed journal showing that a natural, safe food can lower blood cholesterol significantly in just 9 hours and for as long as 30 days, the medical establishment would go wild. Instead, it’s likely you’ve never heard of this study!

Now, it’s true that the study was small—only 10 subjects—and that in order to establish an effect as reliable we would need to have follow-up studies show the same result.  However, as Dr. Michael Greger points out on his website, when an intervention is “cheap, easy, harmless and healthy—eating 4 Brazil nuts a month,” then the reasonable thing might be to do it until if and when the benefit is disproven.