Brazil Nuts For Pregnancy: Safety and Benefits

Are you pregnant? Are you looking for a nutritious snack to keep you energized and healthy during pregnancy? Then look no further than the Brazil nut.

Considered a superfood, the Brazil nut is packed with health benefits that can help ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Brazil nuts are safe to eat during pregnancy. But as with any food, it’s essential to eat them in moderation. Eating too many Brazil nuts can lead to selenium toxicity, which can cause birth defects.

So stock up on this little nutritional powerhouse and enjoy them anytime, day or night, but always in moderation. Let’s explore the health benefits of Brazil nuts for pregnancy in more detail.

Are Brazil Nuts Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Brazil nuts are safe to eat during pregnancy. In fact, they’re an excellent source of nutrition for pregnant women. But don’t overeat Brazil nuts, because they contain selenium (source: Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism).

Selenium is an essential mineral for good health, and for pregnancy, but eating too much of it can lead to selenium toxicity, called selenosis.

According to a study, selenosis in pregnant women may cause congenital disabilities. However, this study was conducted on animals, not humans. So it’s still unclear if selenium toxicity can cause human birth defects (source: Mayo Clinic). You would also have to eat a significant amount of brazil nuts regularly.

It is also good to know that there are two kinds of nuts: raw/unroasted and roasted, and each has advantages and disadvantages. For example, raw nuts are more nutritious than roasted because the roasting process can destroy some of their nutritional value (source: Journal of Food Quality).

pile of brazil nuts

However, raw nuts are more difficult to digest than roasted nuts and may have harmful bacteria that can make you sick, like salmonella (source: Journal of Food Science).

On the other hand, roasted nuts are easier to digest and make nuts more flavorful and aromatic. Plus, roasting kills any harmful bacteria that might be present in the nuts. So, if you’re looking for an easy-to-digest snack packed with nutrients, roasted Brazil nuts are a good choice.

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Brazil Nuts for Pregnant Women?

Brazil nuts are an excellent source of nutrition for pregnant women. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of Brazil nuts:

  • Protein – Protein is vital for the mother because it helps repair and maintain tissues and prevents muscle loss (source: Advances in Nutrition Journal). The recommended amount of protein for pregnant women is 60 grams per day (source: HHS Public Access Journal). One serving of Brazil nuts has about 0.715 g of protein (source: USDA).
  • Fiber – Helps with regularity and prevents constipation, which is common during pregnancy (source: Food Science and Nutrition). Recommended fiber intake for pregnant women is 19-29 grams per day (source: Nutrients Journal). A serving of Brazil nuts has about 0.375 grams of fiber (source: USDA).
  • Vitamin E – This is an important antioxidant that helps protect the cells from damage (source: Nutrition During Pregnancy Journal). The recommended daily vitamin E intake for pregnant women is 22-30 mg (source: Elsevier Journal). A serving of Brazil nuts has about 0.283 mg of vitamin E (source: USDA).
  • Selenium – Selenium is a mineral that’s important for good health. It helps the body produce antioxidants and protects the cells from damage. It’s also crucial for pregnant women because it can help prevent congenital disabilities. The recommended daily selenium intake for pregnant women is 60-70 micrograms (source: Harvard).

    One Brazil nut has about 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium (source: Medical News Today).

Is the Selenium in Brazil Nuts Good or Bad for Pregnant Women?

Selenium is a nutrient that’s important for good health. It aids in the production of antioxidants and can protect cells from harm. It’s significant for pregnant women as it can help avoid birth abnormalities.

The recommended daily selenium intake for pregnant women is 60-70 micrograms (source: Harvard). One Brazil nut has about 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium (source: Medical News Today). That’s a lot of selenium! Therefore, it’s best to eat Brazil nuts in moderation during pregnancy.

Too much selenium can lead to selenium toxicity. Selenium toxicity is a rare but severe condition. Selenium toxicity can cause birth defects, including brain damage and deformities of the skull and face (source: CDC).

How Many Brazil Nuts Can I Eat When Pregnant? How Many Are Too Many?

Since Brazil nuts are high in selenium, you should only eat one or two Brazil nuts per day when pregnant, on average. Consuming more than that could lead to selenium toxicity, which can be dangerous for both you and your baby.

Eating them as part of a nut mix, for example, is probably fine – but if you’re indulging in handfuls of them then it may be better to moderate your intake throughout your pregnancy.

So, if you’re looking for a nutritious snack packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins, Brazil nuts are a good choice, in small amounts.

Brazil nuts in a white bowl

Can Brazil Nuts Help with Conception or Fertility?

We recently mentioned that Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, which is essential for fertility. Selenium can help improve egg quality and increase the chances of conception (source: Elsevier Journal).

Another study found that selenium supplementation helped improve sperm quality in men. The study showed that selenium increased the number of normal sperm and decreased the number of abnormal sperm (source: International Journal of General Medicine).

So, if you’re trying to conceive, eating a couple of Brazil nuts daily could help improve your fertility – but more research is needed.

We hope you found this article helpful!

This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.

Gina Waggott

Gina is the owner and founder of Pregnancy Food Checker. She holds a Certification on Nutrition and Lifestyle during Pregnancy from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and a Diploma in Human Nutrition.

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