Doctor's Note

I’d be curious to hear if anyone experiences similar results. Even if the study was just a fluke, Nuts May Help Prevent Death by improving the function of our arteries (Walnuts and Artery Function) and fighting cancer (Which Nut Fights Cancer?) and inflammation (Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell).

Even eating nuts every day does not appear to result in expected weight gain (Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence), so enjoy!

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  • brec

    “four nuts actually seemed to work faster than the 8 nuts”

    That red flag (dose-response) as to the validity of the effect is at least as large as the 30-day duration.

    • Doctor Dave

      I agree. Also, the researchers were all Brazilian – maybe they weren’t funded directly by the nut industry, but maybe their Universities funded the work through a foundation supported by the government, who also wants to promote the industry. Also, the LDL levels were pretty low to start with. This brings up the concern, as always: What was the background diet of these eaters? Was the low LDL a result of Lipitor, other meds, a good diet, or what? The food industries have a nasty way of stacking the trial to get the results they desire. For those eating a whole foods, low fat, vegan diet, this sort of food chemistry manipulation is unneeded and maybe harmful. In my view, this is the dark side of diet manipulation. Let’s get back to eating a whole foods, low fat (less than 15% of calories), balanced diet of grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Some daily ground flax seeds with a B12 cap is a good idea, and an english walnut now and then makes a nice treat. See Jeff Novick’s video titled “From Nuts to Oil” if you want to learn about fats in your diet.

      • Tobias Brown

        It doesn’t seem difficult to remain below 15% calories from fat while eating MORE THAN one walnut per day (assuming no or minimal fat from other sources). Seems that Dr Greger recommends two handfuls of nuts. Also, I understand below 25% from fat to be considered low-fat. No?

        • largelytrue

          Depends on what you want to mean by “low-fat.” Proponents of low-fat plant-based diets generally mean less than 20%, and often less than 15% when other aspects of the pattern are typical.

          I’ve heard McDougall estimate his diet recommendations to result in 7% energy from fat, and given his general stance on fat, I’d anticipate his bias to underestimate the amount if anything. It seems Greger regards a handful of nuts as an ounce: . 2 oz walnuts is 333 calories and 90% fat: .

          So, to be 25% fat or less, a 2000 calorie diet with 2oz walnuts would have to be no more than 10% fat in the non-nut portion. I’d say that it’s not necessarily easy to be less than 25% fat with two handfuls of nuts. It would seem to impose some serious restrictions on the greediness of your handfuls and the composition of the non-nut portion of your diet.

          • Timar

            Such debates somehow remind me of the medieval Scholastics absurd quibble on the dogmas of the Catholic Church. The 11th Commandment: You must not eat more than 15% calories from fat. ;D

          • Charity

            Just one happy Catholic grateful for quibbles that lead to TRUTH! May these quibbles here do the same and can we stay on topic and be tolerant of Christians please? Many thanks

          • Timar

            Huh? Why should any Christian or even Catholic feel offended by what I wrote? Does your understanding of Catholicism exclude any kind of irony towards the history and doctrine of the Catholic Church? If so, you have a more fundamentalist attitude towards Catholicism than the Pope himself. I am tolerant of any religion but not of fundementalists incapable of irony.

          • thomas

            Come on Timar, you clearly tried to hijack the conversation with a jab at Catholicism, and Charity called you on it. You said the discussion reminds you of some black legend of Catholic history, the absurd quibbling of dogma. But while your comment contributes nothing to the issue of nutrition and rather simultaneously vilifies Catholicism and reasonable debate, what does this remind people of?

            If they were like you and felt themselves familiar with the history of religion, your comment may remind people of the protestant propaganda tactic to vilify Catholicism for the use of reason, citing Martin Luther who referred to reason as “the devil’s greatest whore.” Are we to surmise that because your vilification of reason and catholic dogma reminds some people of a protestant propaganda tactic, that you are really not reasonable at all and rather spreading protestant propaganda here? I don’t think most people would surmise that, because most people are far more willing to give benefit of the doubt and far less likely to jump to some obscure religious similarity. Regardless, the connection to previous protestant religious history to discredit your comment is no less legitimate than your attempted connection to previous Catholic religious history to discredit the comments of others.

            I can’t speak for what your comment really reminds other people of, but since you based your entire comment on what the discussion reminds you of, I will do the same. What your contribution to the discussion reminds me of is Bill Maher’s blatant jabs at religion, thinking people are so stupid that they don’t see what he’s doing, so that when fellow Atheist S.E. Cupp called Maher out for attacking religion, he did the same thing you’re doing. He tried to innocently pretend, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that he didn’t attack religion, so why would anyone be offended?

            I hate to break it to you, Timar, but Theist or Atheist people are not that stupid, to simply leave off a discussion because you have authoritatively deemed it with the scary “just like Catholic dogma” label and as they walk away from the discussion they will be too naive to realize you took a jab at religion in the process. Charity for one proved this point, and while I’ve long since stopped wasting my time with disingenuous comments like yours, and most people understandably ignore them so as not to feed the troll, I have to add my voice to stand up to this type of hit and run on religion in general and Catholicism specifically, not just because it is riddled with errors and attempts to manipulate perception on the issue of religion but because it is too often used to detract from and discourage legitimate and healthy debate on a host of unrelated but significant issues like nutrition.

            This issue had nothing to do with religion until you drew some tortuous parallel to Catholic history almost as if you were obsessed to somehow see in anything that annoys you some precedent and twisted root in Catholicism; for you to write off previous, reasoned debate that led to the development of dogma as ‘absurd quibbling’ reveals almost as much about your anti-Catholic bigotry as it does about the pseudo-historical worldview upon which it is based.

            Perhaps you would prefer dogma did not develop along the lines of reasoned debate? How should it have developed then, by people like yourself stepping in and saying “no more debate, it’s all just quibbling, just do as I say!” This is characteristic of trolls that try to hijack discussions or debates about science, medicine, or nutrition and somehow try to discourage or vilify a position (or in your case vilify the very process of people from various perspectives engaging in reasoned debate) as if it ‘reminded them’ of some black legend of the evil or ignorant or absurd or ironic or (insert stereotypical anti Catholic talking point here) Catholic Church.

            Like Charity said, reasoned debate is a good way to come to the truth whether in religious dogma or in secular matters, most reasonable people can appreciate that. Sadly, there are those trolls that discourage reasoned debate as it if were nothing but “absurd quibbling” because they have nothing reasonable to contribute and to cover for this lacking, they vilify the process of debate by playing the religion card.

            Look again at this issue and the comments. You are the only one that brought religion into this, and likely due to the hope that your hit and run would go unchallenged or if it was challenged, confident in the false security that you would be able to enlighten and educate everyone on the evil, ignorant, absurd, or ironic Catholic Church. When people can’t get others to listen to their feeble arguments in appropriate forums that are devoted to the issue of religion where they are quickly disillusioned of their stereotypes and their fallacious premises, it is all too common to try to inappropriately misdirect conversations anywhere they can, even in a discussion about nutrition.

            If upon seeing a reasoned debate about nutrition, you immediately see it as a religious thing and thus a bad thing, and can’t stop yourself from drawing some belabored parallel to religion, and can not control the obsessive urge to spew that out in a comment … the problem isn’t with debate, the problem isn’t with religion, the problem is that you have been indoctrinated to read a vilified caricature of religion into anything that displeases or annoys you. The problem is you’ve been further conditioned to act out in accordance with this obsessively twisted distortion of history, religion, and now infecting nutrition by leaving comments such as yours. You have become, while attempting to appear reasonable and knowledgeable via the inclusion of references to Scholasticism, someone who has proven yourself grossly misinformed and not only unreasonable but with your discouraging of reasoned debate, rather anti-reasonable. For someone who claims to grasp irony, you are rather ironically ignorant.

          • haydos


      • Brazilian researchers studying ‘Brazil nuts’?
        Hmmm… I maybe cannot SAY that there’s an ‘implied’ COI or background bias, but somehow, the green flag hasn’t appeared yet.

        Ecological benefits, to be sure. What thereapeutic intervention(s) does or might this protocol displace?

        • Mike Quinoa

          The researchers are not really doing much for the Brazil nut industry, and Brazil nut consumption in general, with this study, when the indications are a very meager intake will do the job.

      • Dorothy Johnson

        I would try this, but would eat more than four nuts a month! My cholesterol is genetic, and I don’t think four nuts a month would do it! Doctor has me back on a statin (generic Lipitor, first time taking it!), because it had climbed again–but I don’t intend to take it for long. Back to flax seeds, B12, and coconut and other oils, and now brazil nuts. I am a vegetarian/vegan and have to be mindful to get all the nutrients I need, which is kind of difficult. I have also began to stop eating processed grains again; that affects me and my weight! Thank you for this!

        • b00mer

          You may be interested in the work of Ornish, Esselstyn, and McDougall who have shown consistent success in improving cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health with dietary intervention. Their diet consists of no oils of any kind, limited nut consumption, and lots of carbohydrate in the form of whole grains, beans, and tubers. McDougall and Esselstyn prescribe a vegan protocol, while Ornish allows limited animal foods in the form of low fat dairy and egg whites. The books Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Esselstyn and The Starch Solution by McDougall are good places to start. For concerns about micronutrient intake, is also a very useful tool.

        • Bryant Thompson

          You may also benefit from Drs Abram Hoffer and Andrew Saul’s work. It’s called ‘NIACIN: The Real Story’. A good deal of the book talks of wonderful results from Niacin (Vitamin B3) for a variety of ills but particularly cholesterol problems.

        • queensuzique

          If you buy in bulk, you can limit the purchase to only 4 that way you are not tempted to eat more. If it helps lower your cholesterol great if not, it’s just a little treat eaten once a month.

        • Karma

          I used to think my high cholesterol was genetic. Turns out we don’t inherit high cholesterol, we inherit our bad diet. Doing Dr. McDougall’s program (there are many lectures of him going over the science on YouTube and his books), my cholesterol is now normal and don’t need statins. Whole Food, plant based, no oil, sugar or salt. I am also gluten free. If you add exercise and meditation you might live to be a very old person in very good health off of all meds. Still plenty of yummy things to eat. Your genes are not your destiny, you lifestyle habits are. Good luck. You’ve got this.

      • Roger

        Ummm, Doctor Dave, let’s put this into even better perspective. You’re claiming that there should be red flags because a Brazilian university published a study stating the possible benefits of eating four nuts (which happen to be called “Brazil nuts” in English) over a thirty-day period.

        Why would any sane government, food producer, or especially a university with its reputation on the line choose to “manipulate” or ” stack” the numbers in their research in order to get people to eat four nuts a month? This would do very little in terms of sales. Why not stack it to say four a day? Besides, for many, this would drastically decrease their consumption of Brazil nuts.

        Just a thought, Doctor Dave.

        • CaiNaReal

          They’re also scientifically proven effective against prostate cancer due to its high content of selenium.

      • Timar

        Please state more precisely in which way eating four(!) brazil nuts(!!) a month(!!!) is to be considered as “food chemistry manipulation”!? I’d be very interested in your explanation.

        It is preposterous to suggest that some sort of “brazil nut lobby” is behind this study. Brazil nuts come from wild collections in the rainforest, mostly by indigenous people, for whom brazil nuts are an important income they derive from the intact forests. Sadly, those poeple have the least political influence in Brazil. As we all know, the are vastly more powerful interests in the clearance of these forests for short-term profit from wood and soy plantations which drive the goverment’s politics.

        • CaiNaReal

          You’re right to be suspicious of everything and everyone but Brazil nuts are not the only food that lowers cholesterol. You can obtain satisfactory results eating avocado and steel-cut oats. And make sure you don’t eat scrambled eggs, ever! Their cholesterol oxidises in the frying process leading to raised levels of LDL.

    • HungryShrew

      Can someone say a little more about the ‘red flag (dose-response)’ ?

      I don’t get it.

      • bobluhrs

        dose response is one factor that lends credibility to a cause-effect relationship..if the dose goes up, and the effect goes up, and if the does goes down the effect goes down, it indicates cause and effect. In this case, the dose goes up, but the effect goes down. 4 nuts was better than 8. This means that less of the chemical in the nuts made a larger effect than more of it. It’s fishy, or a ‘red-flag’, meaning tends to decrease credibility of cause and effect.

        • HungryShrew

          Thank you.

        • Shawn

          I remember seeing in one of the videos that the absorption of animal proteins are nearly unrestricted by the intestinal lining compared to plant proteins. Would it be possible then that nutrition would also be limited if certain nutrients were at their tolerable limit for the body? Or maybe the boost in consumption from 4 to 8 nuts caused absorption to slow with quantity due to longer digestion time as well? Just throwing in some thoughts that I had while watching the video.

        • dogulas

          I don’t see how it rules out an ideal amount of 4. What of the body responds to the high selenium levels from 8 nuts and does something to halt all absorption? Eating too much of a lot of good things causes bad reactions.

          • Youcef

            Hi @dogulas:disqus, I posted about just that above. Maybe it will provide some answer to your question.

        • Dee Me

          It appears hormesis may be in play instead of dose response.

  • Hanna

    What about for vegans who already have low cholesterol levels, both HDL and LDL. And in vegans who have levels considered
    to be too low? Could ingestion of nuts actually go in the other direction, as is being implicated in causation for driving cholesterol levels too low in vegans? As well as hindering a vegan’s ability to raise up their “too low” cholesterol levels? And what exactly is it in brazil nuts
    that allows this drop? Are other nuts capable of causing the same reduction in cholesterol as the brazil nuts?

    • In your opinion, how low is too low a level of serum LDL considering that cells make their own cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood is a back-up system??

      • Hanna

        In the low 100’s, total cholesterol. Seems to be going even lower. Yes, there is debate on what is too low – not sure
        who to trust on this, but there is science implicating too low cholesterol as causation for depression, suicide.
        Maybe this is a non-issue, and that I should be happy to be vegan. I’d really like to know a plant-based
        doctor’s view of what exactly is considered “too low”?

        Risks of Low Cholesterol

        What happens when cholesterol is too low? According to the Mayo Clinic, low levels of LDL cholesterol may increase your risk of cancer, depression, anxiety, and preterm birth and low birth weight. A study published in the Netherlands showed that middle-aged men with low cholesterol were more likely to experience severe depression, while an earlier study at the Duke University Medical Center showed that young women with levels below 160 mg were more likely to have depression and anxiety than women with normal or high cholesterol.

        Recent studies from Germany linked low cholesterol with increased risk of agression, impulsivity, depression, and suicide. Other research shows that extra low levels can increase risk of Parkinson’s disease, stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, infertility and decreased libido, osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, chronic indigestion, and nutrient deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins.

        “Cholesterol Facts,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

        “What is Cholesterol? What Causes High Cholesterol?” Medical News Today, May 29, 2009,

        Mayo Clinic Staff, “Cholesterol levels: What numbers should you aim for?,” Mayo Clinic, September 21, 2012,

        Schatz IJ, et al., “Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study,” Lancet, 2001 Aug 4;358(9279): 351-5,

        “Cholesterol Levels and Deaths: A Bit of a Shocker,” University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, August 2002,

        Krumholz HM, et al., “Lack of association between cholesterol and coronary heart disease mortality and morbidity and all-cause mortality in persons older than 70 years,” JAMA 1994 Nov 2;272(17): 1335-40,

        Forette B, et al., “Cholesterol as risk factor for mortality in elderly women,” Lancet, 1989 Apr 22;1(8643): 868-70,

        Weverline-Rinjsburger AW, et al., “Total cholesterol and risk of mortality in the oldest old,” Lancet, 1997 Oct 18;350(9085):1119-23,

        Ulmer H, et al., “Why Even is Not Adam: prospective follow-up in 149650 women and men of cholesterol and other risk factors related to cardiovascular and all-cause mortality,” J Womens Health (Larchmt), 2004 Jan-Feb; 13(1):41-53,

        “Cholesterol: Can it Go Too Low?”, Dr. Weil, March 14, 2002,

        • Keane

          Dr. Greger already has a video on whether cholesterol can be too low or not:

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          The newest way to look at cholesterol is not as high or low, it’s to look at the whole diet.

          Regardless of whether or not your cholesterol is high or low, people who eat a whole food, low fat, plant based diet have the lowest risk of heart attack, stroke, vascular disease, etc.

          Those that eat a high fat, high animal food diet that is low in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains have the highest rates of vascular disease (eg. Coronary Artery disease, vascular disease, heart Attack, Stroke, Back Pain etc.)
          So it’s not how high your cholesterol is it’s how clean is your diet.

          Are you eating a varied whole food, low fat plant based diet? If you are then you have no reason to worry. The body is meant to heal and function at an optimal level and will not inherently kill itself unless directed to do so by a chronic inflammatory diet.

          I have never seen, nor has Dr. McDougall (my mentor) anyone following this type of lifestyle that has had any detrimental effects from “too low” a cholesterol.
          I hope this helps

          • Hanna

            Wow, thanks so much! This helps. I am wondering what you consider low-fat. One could eat 2 avocados a day
            and this only accounts for 42 percent of the RDA for saturated fat, and is 98 percent of the RDA for total fat.
            It seems to me that there are vegans who, by the end of the day, only take in about 20 percent or, even less, of the RDA for total fat intake. Is ‘this’ low intake healthy, safe, adequate? Thank you for any insight on this.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            When I say low fat I mean about 10-20% of your calories come from fat. I don’t follow the RDA for anything. They are too behind the times as far as I am concerned. My patients that eat a varied, whole food, low fat, plant based diet and take Vitamin B12 (250mcg daily) and Vitamin D if they don’t get enough sun have all done very well not following any RDA.

            Regarding fat: For me, I might eat a quarter of an avocado once every 1-2 weeks. I have about 5-6 walnuts per day and usually a handful of peanuts (why, cause I like them). Rarely do I use any oil and if I do it is a little Olive Oil.

            The best way to track your fat intake is to take the time and enter all your food into the program Chronometer. This will give you your daily Carbohydrate, fat and protein intake. When I did this I found I was following an 80-10-10 diet (80% Carbohydrate-mostly complex, 10% protein and 10% fat).
            Again I hope this helps.

        • Danny

          I guess that’s why those rice-eating, aggressive/impulsive Chinese soldiers with super-low TC #s (see: The China Study) rushed across the border to kick our meat-eating, fat-clogged vessel butts over in Korea. They were obviously just depressed about us repelling their aggressive/impulsive, rice-eating neighbors.
          Makes me wonder what the average total cholesterol number is for typical North Koreans nowadays? Maybe that’s why they make so much trouble?

        • tbatts666

          Sounds like the depressions stuff probably has nothing to do with the cholesterol. Maybe veg heads not takking their b12?

        • Mike Quinoa

          Are these studies referring to omnivores who would be expected to naturally have higher cholesterol levels? For them lower levels may indicate a pathological state. Whereas a person on a purely plant-based diet would be expected to naturally and healthfully have lower cholesterol levels.

          • Exactly. It’s called reverse causation. The disease state causes the low cholesterol, not vice versa.

  • brec

    Also interesting: the 10 subjects had a *baseline* total cholesterol mean ± SD of (6 men; 4 women) of 145 ± 4.8; 143 ± 6.7, and LDL-C of 87.7 ± 9.8; 84.5 ± 6.5. LDL-C after 30 days was in the 60s.

  • deb


  • Armando

    I have been eating 1 brazil nut each day as part of a WFPB diet for over a year now to get my selenium intake for the day. Do you think this is a harmful amount and I should go to 4 nuts a month? If not harmful would it be more beneficial to go to 4 nuts once a month rather than a daily brazil nut? I do make a very small amount of raw non roasted/salted nuts and seeds a part of my daily diet (walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachio, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds) but they don’t add up to more than a handful.

    • Tobias Brown

      I was using Brazil nuts to top off my daily selenium but I noticed that eating more spinach and sweet potatoes worked instead of the Brazil nut. Not sure which of those two did it… but checking CRON-o-meter now… it was the spinach.

      • Thea

        Tobias: Thanks for this tip! I hadn’t known that about spinach beforehand. Since I haven’t been too diligent about the Brazil nuts, I appreciate knowing that I have some other options too.

      • Penny

        I just checked on CRON-o-meter and there is almost no Selenium in spinach or sweet potatoes.

        • Tobias Brown

          Check the cooked from frozen variant. 238 grams (83 calories) provides almost 25% of my daily value (at 2000 calories per day).

          • Youcef

            @tobias_brown:disqus @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus and Armando, I had done research on selenium in Brazil nuts so I posted above about the great variation of selenium in Brazil nuts, there’s a link to the more complete article.

          • AZ DONALD

            very interesting article youcef, thank you.

    • bobluhrs

      I’d vote for one a week, to even out the selenium. It’s a trace mineral which the body will hoard up, so probably don’t need a daily dose just to ensure you have some. But, more interestingly, what is YOUR LDL cholesterol number like? It should be very very low if this actually works. Please post if you can….the LDL number?

      • Armando

        Haven’t had it checked for about 6 months or so but during my last annual check up my doctor did mention it was quite low. I didn’t ask for the numbers though. I should have in retrospect. I’m up in Canada so I understand the numbering system for LDL cholesterol is different than the U.S. He was a bit concerned about my very low HDL level and was recommending fish oil but I wasn’t too concerned about that since people like Caldwell Esselstyn have remarked in the past that this is not an issue among relatively healthy people and has pointed to the very low HDL levels observed among the Tarahumara Indians to illustrate his point. Will be sure to ask for my numbers during my next exam and will post it here at that time. Thanks for the feedback all. I’m thinking I will maintain my daily routine so long as I’m not having an issue with my weight which I am not. Very interesting discussion.

  • Darryl

    Brazil, where this study was conducted, has low soil selenium 1. In another country with low soil selenium, Finland, low plasma selenium has been associated with more than doubling of cardiovascular risk 2. While much credit for the 61% reduction in cardiac mortality in Finland since the 70s has been attributed to their reducing dietary fat content from 38% of energy to 34%, and saturated fat from 21 to 16% 3, they also started enriching fertilizer with selenium in ’85. A plausible mechanism for the benefit of adequate selenium is the Se containing enzyme GPx4, which helps metabolize oxidized LDL4.

    • bobluhrs

      wonder what the level of selenium in brazil nuts harvested from the ‘enriched’ selenium soil now is?

      • Youcef

        Very good question, you can research it. Why don’t you look in pubmd and sciencedirect and update us?

    • Youcef

      Hi @disqus_PhKM1GHehI:disqus Very interesting, I think you will be interested in my post above with a link.
      PS: Did you write the above or paste it from a study. If the latter could you tell me where you pasted this from please? I would like the whole article. Thanks.

      • Darryl

        No, all my comments on NutritionFacts collect my own thoughts, and I try to link to the relevant sources (in this case, the highlighted numbers are links to the abstracts or full papers).

        • Youcef

          Exactly, I completely agree. If the above is what you wrote yourself, it seems very publication-worthy to me, even at least on a blog. Do you publish any of that somewhere @disqus_PhKM1GHehI:disqus ? If so drop me the link.
          As for the variations in selenium content of Brazil nuts, if single intakes of high amounts selenium are safe, and if selenium buffers somehow and averages in the body, then that would confirm the safety of selenium intake through Brazil nuts. But the variations need to be a studied in a real life context, i.e. sampling a wide range of brands. A study mapping Brazil nuts production could give a good idea what proportion of Brazil nuts in the world are high-selenium based on what is known of soil selenium.

        • Darryl,
          Could you tell us a little more about your background? Do you do private consults? How should we journalists identify you when quoting you? Feel free to answer privately at

    • Timar

      Note that GPx4 is saturated only with an daily intake of ~100 mcg, roughly twice the RDA. The avarage US intake is about 100 mcg, but much of that comes from animal foods derived from animals eating feed supplemented with selenium[1].

      Vegans are therefore well adviced to supplement selenium – preferably in an all-natural and very tasty form. According a a study from New Zealand, two brazil nuts a day, providing 53 mcg of selenium (the actually measured the selenium content of the nuts used in the study as it can vary considerably between nuts from different regions) increased plasma selenium levels to the same extend as 100 mcg of selenomethionine. Remarkably the increase in in whole blood GPx was more than twice as high in the brazil nut group compared to selenomethionine.[2]

      Interestingly, selenium toxicity does not seem to occur even in Amazonian tribes eating large amounts of brazil nuts as a dietary staple and having plasma levels of selenium usually associated with symptoms of selenosis.[3] Another intruiging example where inherent safety of whole foods compared to isolated compounds challenges our reductionistic approach to nutrition.

      Last but not least, by eating brazil nuts you are actually helping to protect the Amazonian rain forest! That’s right – brazil nuts are hardly cultivatable and almost all of the world’s supply is from wild harvesting by native poeple. Hence the demand for brazil provides a much needed economic incentive to protect the rainforest.[4]


      • Darryl

        Fantastic references, Timar.

    • What about selenium in alliums and crucifers? What does it bind to in those vegetables? How absorbable is it?

      • Darryl

        It’s believed highly bioavailable, though unless selenium “enriched” with fortified fertilizer, total levels are much lower than in the typical Brazil nut.

        See: Fairweather-Tait, S. J., Collings, R., & Hurst, R. (2010). Selenium bioavailability: current knowledge and future research requirements. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(5), 1484S-1491S.

        Mustard, onion and garlic absorb selenium from soils well enough that they’ve been investigated for bioremediation of selenium contaminated industrial sites.

  • bobluhrs

    6-8 brazil nuts provides about 8 times the daily recommended amount. 4 nuts would be about 4 times the daily amount, and the excess above the body’s needs would likely be stored in skeletal muscle. excellent article for background info.

  • Julot Julott

    I think if you want to eat brazil nuts regularly, every days or close, you should not eat more than 2-3 a day~

    • Mike Quinoa

      I was eating four a day, and then to save a bit of money, I cut back to two. I think I’ll have to cut back to One-A-Day now.

      • AZ DONALD

        or one a week :-)

        • Youcef

          @azdonald:disqus, @julotjulott:disqus See my post above with the link, the article I posted discusses the safety aspects and selenium doses in Brazil nuts.

      • dogulas

        4 a month seems to be enough and possibly ideal if you really want to cut back!

  • Autumn Sage

    If you have a question for Dr. Greger please post it as a comment under any video or blog post and check back often to see if Dr. Greger includes it in his “Ask the Doctor” column. Thank you Dr. G. Today there is news about a blood filter to remove bacteria and viruses using “a modified version of the protein mannose-binding lectin (MBL).”
    If this is a naturally occurring protein, as some sources say, what in the diet promotes production of that protein in our bodies?

  • Claude Martin-Mondiere

    I coached a pastor losing 164 pounds with a nutrition plan having 1 pound of walnuts a week. The start was difficult but he is a pastor and the body is the temple of the soul 380 Lb is too much,No ?. I told him “if you lose weight all the church will lose. ” He had pathological blood tests with high cholesterol. The answer to my prescription was “and I will lose weight with walnuts?”, answer YES, and you have German blood? answer YES,and do not come back if you are not following the nutrition plan. He lost 164 lb in 18 months with some additional 6 months of weekly discussion before to start , about barbecue and the scriptures and the other religions to end by eating organic vegetables , tree nuts and meet only for special events. he did not gain more than few pounds, and the people in the church shrunk.

  • AA

    I just weighed four of my small Trader Joes Brazil Nuts and got a total weight of only 7 grams. So I would have to eat 12 of these nuts to get the 20 grams in the study. I know it says online that the typical Brazil nut weighs 5 grams, but apparently it is not always the case.
    Also, I am skeptical of this study because they had the subjects avoid Selenium containing foods. Someone wrote that some of these people may have been Selenium deficient. So the Selenium could have been more beneficial to them. I know this doesn’t mean much but I eat Brazil nuts all of the time and my Cholesterol isn’t so great.

  • James

    it could be a general selenium deficiency that bump up cholesterol readings ?

  • Val

    I eat TWO a day…almost every day…along with my low-sodium V-8…it’s my afternoon snack at work…yes, I’ve read that 2 a day is the limit for the selenium…and there are days when I forget to bring my Brazil nuts home from work…etc etc. so it’s NOTalways exactly 2 a day but I do enjoy them. Had my “health assessment” at work to day (voluntary health screening) and the technician sat back in her chair and said “I RARELY EVER see such great numbers! Are you an athlete?” I said “nope, I do walk every day but I eat all plant-based whole foods and those with high antioxidants.” THANK YOU Michael Greger for helping me to TWEAK my diet to include so much good stuff! The numbers: total Cholesterol 150. HDL=95. BMI=20. Non-fasting glucose=79, Blood Pressure=120/60.


      that’s fantastifc bobluhrs, what’s your LDL ?

    • Ellen Lederman

      Just wanted to let you know, Val, that it turns out that V-8 is not vegan. The “natural flavor” is actually animal products: meat, dairy, etc. Food Babe uncovered this.

      • b00mer

        Apparently their initial response which Food Babe reported on was misinformed. They have since officially stated that V-8 is entirely vegan.

        • Wendy

          That is good to know! I have a big problem with having low sodium and low blood sugar. Whenever I am feeling a little dizzy I reach for my “V-8 medicine.” It has plenty of sodium and plenty of sugar. I carry it around with me in my first-aid kit.

  • Roy

    I eat two Brazilian nuts a day. I have high cholesterol levels and over the last ten years the nuts have not lowered my levels. However, I’m wandering if I’m getting to much selenium.

    • Youcef

      Hi Roy, I answered this above.

  • Julien Brown

    What about the Esselstyn diet. He argues against the consumption of nuts, avocados and oils; basically a very low fat diet.

    • dogulas

      Four brazil nuts won’t be an issue :)

      • Julien Brown

        I did not mean to imply my concern was entirely within the confines of brazil nut consumption, which is already limited. Dr Gregor has been recommending 2 handfuls of nuts a day!

        • dogulas

          Yeah, I’ve been curious as to why two handfuls of nuts a day isn’t terrible for the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

        • dogulas

          See my earlier comment above. I actually asked the same thing.

        • MarthaLA

          I have read (don’t recall exactly where) that a ‘handful of nuts’ is not a cupped handful, but an amount over which one can CLOSE one’s fingers. Big difference there. Of course, brazil nuts are pretty big. I haven’t tried how many brazil nuts I can enclose. :-)

    • Mike Quinoa

      I think that edict primarily applies when one is trying to reverse heart disease. Otherwise, I thought I saw a presentation of his where he stated limited nut consumption was okay for healthy people. Oils, I’m not so sure of…

      • dogulas

        But all of us who grew up on the standard American diet do have bad arteries. I’m not officially at risk for debilitating cardiovascular issues but I sure do want to clean up my arteries and reduce inflammation. The question is whether nuts improve cardiovascular health or impair it. It’s one or the other, with improvement being the claim on this site, and impairment by others. We want to know which. Every study cited here would suggest no reason to shy away from handfuls of nuts a day. I sure hope that remains the consensus after more controlled experiments.

        • b00mer

          There is probably no black and white answer to the question as you have set it up. Nuts contain inflammatory omega-6 fats and cholesterol raising saturated fats. They also have cholesterol lowering phytosterols, and are an excellent source of magnesium.

          There are competing factors at play, and the end result may depend on the amount consumed, as well as the initial health status and quality of diet for each individual. Someone with a relatively unhealthy diet may see a significant benefit from the phytosterols if their cholesterol intake/production was high to begin with. If their diet is of poor quality, the amount of magnesium and fiber introduced by a handful or two of nuts may be a dramatic increase relative to their previous intake. Whereas someone already eating a low fat plant based diet may not see any significant health improvement from introducing nuts into the diet if their cholesterol levels and micronutrient intake are already optimal.

          However, even if we don’t have demonstrated and dramatic benefits for WFPB eaters, they are still allowed by every low fat plant based doc/rd: Barnard, McDougall, Esselstyn, Novick. If a small amount of nuts a) won’t hurt you (both in the eyes of the professionals; and if your own cholesterol readings, weight maintenance, etc confirm this), b) provides a unique source of certain micronutrients, and c) improves dietary enjoyment and satisfaction for many people, then I personally don’t see much room for controversy or debate.

          When Dr. Esselstyn talks about people with heart disease, he means those clinically diagnosed or undergoing treatment for it. Even 10 year olds have arteries with fatty streaks these days, but I can’t imagine anyone recommending zero nuts or avocado for children. We have to draw the line somewhere.

          On nuts and avocado, in Dr. Esselstyn’s own words:
          “As nuts are a rich source of saturated fats, my preference is no nuts for heart disease patients. That also eliminates peanuts and peanut butter even though peanuts are officially a legume. For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat that is in nuts is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable.”

          • dogulas

            thank you very much. This is a great reply to my questions statements. I’m going to go eat some nuts.

          • b00mer

            Just don’t overdo it. ;)

          • Timar

            I think Dr. Esselstyn is dead-wrong on this issue. His rejection of nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet is quite revealing regarding his true intention, which seems the relentless promotion a consistent no-fat Esselstyn-brand dietary idelogy rather than an objective evaluation of the actual scientific evidence which is overwhelmingly in favor of nut consumption. His “argument” against nut consumption is moot as it unduly favors dogma and speculation over epirical evidence. Besides the fact that most nuts actually contain very little SFAs, it is long obsolete thinking to pigeonhole all SFAs as equally harmful. We know, for example, that different SFAs have very different metabolic effects, short- and medium-chain FAs (2-12:0, which are usually subsummized under SFAs) are benign if not health-promoting, whereas long-chain SFAs differ in their atherogenicity (16:0 > 14:0 >> 18:0). Moreover, the metabolic impact dietary FAs depends on their stereoposition on a triglyceride molecule. Long chain SFAs on a sn2-position are much better absorbed and thus more atherogenic than those on sn1 or sn3 position. Most plant-based SFAs, however, are found in those position whether animals based SFAs are found primarily in the sn2 position. Moreover, nuts contain large amounts of phytosterols which more than offsett any adverse effects on cholesterol levels due to their moderate content of SFAs. There are plenty of human trials showing decreased LDL and increased HDL levels from nut consumption. And, since 2013, there is even a large-scale and long-term interventional study (PREDIMED) showing a significantly reduced risk of heart deaease from nut consumption. In summary, nuts are a prime example for the validity of Colin Campbell’s criticism of a dominant reductionist approach in nutrition. There are many factors affecting the metabolic and health impact of a whole food and there is always the possibility that some of them have so far eluded the analytic, reductionist method which is always prone to the “know-all bias”.

          • William Dwyer

            Timar writes, “I think Dr. Esselstyn is dead-wrong on this issue. His rejection of nuts
            as part of a heart-healthy diet is quite revealing regarding his true
            intention, which seems the relentless promotion a consistent no-fat
            Esselstyn-brand dietary ideology rather than an objective evaluation of
            the actual scientific evidence which is overwhelmingly in favor of nut
            Esselstyn does not advocate a no-fat diet; he advocates one that is ~10% of total calories as fat, which epidemiological as well as carefully controlled human studies have shown has an excellent record in lowering heart-disease risk factors. For some people with heart disease, aggressive steps must be taken, including reducing saturated fat as much as possible, which involves eliminating even nuts from the diet. Ornish has made this point persuasively, as has Pritikin.

            Calling these innovators “dogmatic,” “know-it-all” or “reductionistic” does not alter the validity of their ideas or the well-documented success of their diets.

          • Larry G Maloney

            A gift for you nut and avacado connoisseurs.


            I realize y’all aren’t teen girls but their experience does show how food, even “healthy” food can be overdone.

    • b00mer

      Esselstyn does not argue against consumption of nuts or avocados. He seems to be worried about people overeating them, and so sometimes makes statements that appear to be against nuts. However when asked explicitly, he advocates for 1 ounce or less per day. This could be a small handful of nuts or a quarter of an avocado.

  • dogulas

    I LOVE that nuts don’t increase weight gain! So awesome! What about the high omega-6 content though? Seems like it needs to be balanced out with omega-3 from flax as suggested here:

    Does the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio somehow not apply when indulging on nuts? I’ve never heard any warning on any of the nut videos. Whole food plants do seem to often be an exception to the animal-source rules, but is that the case with nuts and the omega-6 to 3 ratio?

  • Cal

    Four nuts a month is just as hard as avoiding just one Lay’s potato chip. I’d eat the whole can of them. LOL

  • Russell

    I love the emphasis on nuts and healthy oils. But can we overdo it? I just realized I probably get 25-30 grams of daily saturated fats from Brazil and other nuts, olive/canola oils, flax, chia, and cocoa, which is more than my omnivore friends. Is that unwise for ideal cardiovascular and coronary health? Based on earlier videos, should we all be striving to stay under about 10 grams a day?

    • dogulas

      Two things most people warn against that Dr. Greger doesn’t seem to have any concern for: eating too much fruit, and eating too many nuts. The fact that they’re whole foods make that idea sound wonderful, and I’d like to believe they’re just fine to indulge in, along with still getting plenty of greens, whole grains, beans, and other veggies. Dr. Greger seems to not discourage as much fruit and nuts as a person likes. This issue is what I’m most curious about currently. Especially because of the omega-6 to omega-3 issue he has used to promote eating 2 tablespoons of flax a day. It would seem we might need more though. I’m trying to figure it out. Should I really need five+ tablespoons of flax to balance out a cup of almonds? According to the amounts needed to keep a 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, that would be the case. Still haven’t gotten a compelling response as to why not.

  • Youcef

    Selenium content in Brazil nuts varies greatly (from almost 0 to at least 20 times the RDI)
    Most people eat them even daily with no obvious adverse side effects. But given that some Brazil nuts can be exceptionally high in selenium (see link), far beyond recommendations, it is fair to raise the question of safety, shall one come across a batch, or brand with the highest selenium concentrations.
    Looking forward to a post on selenium Dr. Greger :)

  • Damian Cawood

    Doc, with the rise of the raw till 4 diet and a high carb vegan lifestyle (fully raw) I see guru’s advocating eating 3000+ calories a day for sustainability. While as an active man I have no issues with eating these levels of nutrition daily, I am concerned about the lack of scientific facts or at least opinions from someone like yourself helping the lay person decide what is right.

    I feel a video on this would be a great help and if you weren’t willing to put one on your own site would you consider to doing an interview with me so I can get this information to the many 100’s of thousands who I feel really need this answer addressing. I am sure you are aware of the Freelee and Durianrider brand of veganism and there is a very good raw vegan I enjoy watching called “bite size vegan”. Both of these groups tend to eat high calorie diets, my main concern isn’t the calories although it does worry me and I have questions about how the pancreas copes with the levels of natural sugars consumed. My main area of concern is the sheer volume of food albeit good clean vegan food on our internal organs. Things like the Stomach distending or the valve releasing stomach acid and undigested food into our intestines. Along with all manner of aging affects caused by overworking any system.

    As a healthy vibrant vegan who has no cancer or heart disease and is sold on the eating a clean plant based diet for both self and the planet. The last remaining question lies in the details of how best to go about it in a way that is optimum for my body.

  • Tom Zdrojewski

    Does it have to be 4 at once? Or could I do 1 a week? Just curious.

  • Timar

    Note that there is another study derived from the same trial not mentioned in Dr. Gregers video, showing a significant and equally long-term improvement in inflammatory parameters from the high doses (20 and 50 g) of brazil nuts.[1]

    Exiting as these results are, a major problem with this trial is – besides the small size and absence of a placebo arm (it should be possible to administer ground and homogenized brazil nuts in some hidden form, which also would provide a way to ensure a well-defined, consistent intake of selenium from the nuts) – the lack of a baseline assessment of the participants’ selenium status. I hope that those weaknesses will soon be adressed in a larger, methodically more rigorous trial.


  • Roberto Tomás

    hey does anyone know where the references are? I thought the videos used to have a list of the references cited in the video

    • Thea

      Roberto: The references still exist. They just have been moved. Look to the right of the video and click the text “sources cited”.

      • Roberto Tomás

        sure enough :) thank you

  • PQRider

    Come on, Doc. If you tried this, what happened?

  • Al

    Would you expect the same positive effect by eating one Brazil nut each week instead of eating 4 per month (ignoring the slight difference in counting weeks as opposed to months)? This ought to pretty much negate any fears from getting too much selenium or fat in a single day.

  • Derrek

    I’m vegan and jumped into it too quickly. I wasn’t getting enough iodine and selenium and developed hypothyroidism. However, any other soruces of selenium? I’m tracking my food and am having a hard time getting enough. Also, do you recommend taking a multivitamin? I don’t see the point, only the micronutrients I am lacking.
    Also, is soy bad for you?

  • Carol

    Can the brazil nuts be toasted slightly, or should they be raw.

  • Kelly

    Dr. Greger! I need help for my best friend!!! She has a cholesterol reading over 300. The crazy thing is we played sports in h.s., she’s been a serious runner since college and a vegetarian since she was 16. She does yoga everyday, has a weight and cardio routine and still walks or jogs several times a week. She is a diet and exercise icon! She does eat eggs and cheese now and then. She is trying a diet related approach to her problem without success to date. Oatmeal with raisins, local honey and cinnamon to start the day. Has a kale smoothie with walnuts and flax seeds and who knows what else. She’s also taking red yeast (?) That her doc recommended. What more can she possibly do? I checked the cholesterol links here but confused. Please help!

  • Derrek

    Is fluoridation bad?
    Also is intermittent fasting bad? Since I’m not getting as much nutrients when fasting do I need to take a multivitamin? I’m vegan.

    • salbers

      First you must decide on your goal. Then decide on the way to get there. From a general health standpoint, fasting once or twice per year has demonstrable benefits. You should NEVER take supplements or medications while fasting.

  • tifhill

    Would 1 nut per day be ok for a 43-year-old pre-menopausal woman trying to promote a healthy thyroid with the selenium in Brazil nuts?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Sounds okay to me, unless your doctor has different thoughts regarding your thyroid status. In fact, 1 Brazil nut per day is suggested. Oh, just to note, iodine has impacts on thyroid function and iodine recommendations are in the link I added.

      And one more note: If taking other medications it’s crucial we all talk to our doctors before dramatically altering our diets or taking (omitting) supplements.

  • Robin

    I discontinued simvastatin May 29th 2014 because I was having muscle weakness and leg cramps.
    On August 29, 2014 my cholesterol was 206, triglycerides 65, hDL-cholesterol 61, LDL 132,

    On January 20, 2015 I started taking one Brazil nut a week. I also take a handful or two of walnuts and almonds a day but I have been doing this since 2013 when I went on a high-protein low-carb hydrate diet.
    On January 20, 2015 I was seeing a different doctor and my cholesterol was 177, Triglycerides 80, HDL 59, LDL 102.
    I’m not due to have my cholesterol checked again until July

  • A Grateful Nutrionfacts Fan

    I read a Yahoo news item that stated that brazil nuts were the food that contained the highest amount of radium. What do you think?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Never heard of such thing! Have not seen any research on Brazil nuts and radium. A quick search and one article popped-up. I’ll retrieve at and take a look, as I am curious, but until there is a definitive study showing Brazil nuts have negative implications they remain a perfectly healthful food and good source of selenium.


        I am glad that dr. G. speaks of 4 Brazil nuts per month. The ‘dark side’ of these nuts is their high methionine content, while a very moderate intake of this useful amino acid seems to starve cancer (see elsewhere on this blog). See also Josh Mitteldorf’s blog about methionine intake moderation. A WFPB diet seems the very best start for longevity, but not with daily Brazil nuts….


        I am glad that dr. G. speaks of 4 Brazil nuts per month. The ‘dark side’ of these nuts is their high methionine content, while a very moderate intake of this useful amino acid seems to starve cancer (see elsewhere on this blog). See also Josh Mitteldorf’s blog about methionine intake moderation. A WFPB diet seems the very best start for longevity, but not with daily Brazil nuts….

  • Joy

    Dr. Greger seems to be a vegan nut. He says eating one egg is equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes? Lol

  • Susan Louise Ginkel Oroviceanu

    Had my blood test done yesterday and a bit disappointed with my cholesterol levels. My triglyceride was 89.4 (I think that is good). My LDL is 105.7(I think that is good) Total Cholesterol is 151.2 (also ok I think) BUT my HDL was only 40.5 (I think that is bad/way to low). I’ve been all plant based for 2 years with lots of greens and raw fruit and veggies, nut and seeds. I walk over 90 minutes every day and I’m not at all over weight (5 foot 6 and 120 pounds). Before going all plant based I was vegetarian. I really thought my HDL would be great

    • Merna

      I HIGHLY recommend eating more beans if you aren’t already. Low sodium of course. Oh and I believe chia seeds are great for raising HDL too.

  • ajaysingh

    hello doc … as brazil nut has highest percentage of seliinum…. can one nut in two days help hep c infected guys for their liver

  • m

    Can this be true? Un-soaked nuts cause constipation?

    “Wonder why those seeds, (including almonds, sunflower, spelt, oats, pecans,
    sesame, wheat etc.) in your cupboard don’t turn into plants, or get moldy?

    Well, nature is amazing, and has given nuts and seeds a special enzyme
    that inhibits their growth until it has all the things it needs to grow (sunlight, water, soil etc.).

    When we eat raw nuts, we also eat the enzyme inhibitors that prevent the seed from sprouting.
    This takes a toll on our digestion, since they will prevent our own enzymes
    from breaking down the food in our digestive tracts, inhibiting absorption of
    vitamins and minerals. Simply by soaking nuts in a water (8+ hours according
    to several sources), the nuts release these harmful enzymes, and at the same time
    their nutritional value skyrockets “

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi, m. For more information on this I’d recommend Brenda Davis’s book “Becoming Raw”. She did a guest post about paleo diets, too. I have not heard about un-soaked buts causing constipation. Soaking nuts can be helpful but I do not think it’s necessary.

  • Moneybags

    Were they controlling for all the other things in someone’s diet? It would seem to me that “eating 8 nuts” includes “eating 4 nuts” so it’s a little confusing. So if I ate 4 nuts, plus something else that had a similar nutritional profile, then what?

  • Would this be just a regular jar of BRazil nuts? Or should I seek out RAW ones somewhere?

  • alphaa10000

    Initially, only four nuts (20g estimated) monthly seemed to have an earlier and greater effect than eight nuts (“50g”).

    Yet, at the end of a 30-day period, the 50g dose values for decreased LDL and increased HDL matched or exceeded the 20g dose. At 30 days, the values plot suggests the 50g dose with equal or superior results, particularly in raising HDL.

    BTW, since when does twice 20g equal 50g? At an estimated weight of 5g per brazil nut, 50g means 10 nuts, not eight.

    A link to the actual study–

    • susan

      Nice to see the actual paper… 10 subjects.. they do conclude that further investigation is needed to validate the results. Dr Greger says ‘normally, when a study comes out in the medical literature showing some
      too-good-to-be-true result like this you want to wait to see the results
      replicated before you change your clinical practice, before you
      recommend something to your patients, particularly when the study is
      done on only 10 people, and especially when the findings are literally
      just too incredible to be believed. But when the intervention is cheap,
      easy, harmless, and healthy—eating four Brazil nuts a month—then in my
      opinion, the burden of proof is kind of reversed’…..the researchers want to investigate more but the article suggests following this as biblical truth…what if 4 or 10 or 100 was ‘best’? what if it worked different for men/women? what about children? what level is toxic? there is SO much more to investigate before you start giving people a number to follow or worry people sick because they are eating 10 not 4 etc.

  • Ori Nabarro

    Just read about it in your new book. What about eating 1 brazil nut per day? does that help with cholesterol? or does it have to be 4 at once, once a month? Thanks!

  • Wendy

    I am a very healthy eating vegan, that has just discovered that I have high LDL. How can this happen if I don’t eat anything with LDL? I was told that it is then a genetic thing. So should i worry about having high LDL if it is not from my diet? I already eat plenty of nuts and HDL foods. It is scary to have that LDL so high, when we all say how dangerous it is. My blood pressuure is low about 90/60. What do you recommend?

    • Thea

      Wendy: I don’t know if you should worry or not. Joseph has a great post about what to do for high cholesterol even when you are already eating plants. Maybe this will help:

      • Wendy

        Thank you Thea. I do have “low thyroid” levels, but not low-enough to diagnosed hypothyroid. So maybe that is related. In the article it does say “but if folks are practicing healthy eating and managing body weight and
        still find their LDL is not coming down they should definitely consider a
        statin”. Since my high LDL doesn’t seem to be affecting my health, I will not consider taking statins.

        • Thea

          That makes perfect sense to me. Best of luck.

  • Does freezing nuts harm them in anyway? I am planning to eat 4 nuts a month, say 1 every Thursday. I know that nuts go rancid quickly so I plan to freeze them.

  • Ozan

    Dr. I know nuts and seeds are very beneficial but I am confused about the form in which they are eaten. Since the fats/ oils in nuts & seeds are highly unstable especially seeds like flax would you recommend raw unroasted whenever possible? Even nuts and even worse nut and seed oils (sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, peanut, sesame seed, canola) that claim to be raw or not are in the grocery store are not refrigerated and are exposed to fluorescent light all day long. Nut butters sound even more dangerous to me as their rancidity must be awful, not only are they roasted to expose their oils to heat but they are also ground up to leak even more of the oils and expose them to oxygen then made to sit on the shelf for long periods of time, they could at least put them in darker containers. To be rancid fats sound like a BIG culprit in heart disease as much of the arterial build up is said to be from polyunsaturated fats that are rancid and are exposed to body heat on top of all the processing they underwent before hand. I love butters, nuts and seeds but I can’t feel but think that almost everything nut based I see unless sprouted is potentially rancid and will do more harm than good. Any wisdom with links to studies would be appreciated, also these oils form nuts and seeds once exposed to so much oxidation from processing potentially turn into trans fats do they not? You yourself acknowledge the serious consequences of such fats. Poor processing of nuts are starting to sound more and more like the fish oil scheme, fats made for cold climates LCFA (polyunsaturated) to stay liquid in cold bodied (hence no rancidity in THEIR bodies) animals and protection/ food for plants, where exactly do we fit into the equation.

  • Ozan

    Also could you comment on the daily intake of nuts compared to rotating as continually eating the same nut/ seed protein everyday could potentially build an intolerance/ immune response. As peanut I believe has done because of the excessive intake.

  • Tom Joyce

    Just curious: There were studies about a decade ago that linked the size of LDL molecules to heart disease and arteriosclerosis. The smallest molecules of LDL were the culprits, but the study pointed to the fact that these tiny molecules were linked to simple sugars, not fats. The implications here are that low-fat diets do not necessarily decrease risk for heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Is there any new data on this?

  • Charan Langton

    My experience with Brazil nuts. I read his article about Brazil nuts just five days before I was due to take a blood test. On Thursday night I went and got a bag of Brazil nuts. ON Thursday and Friday I ate several of these nuts, although I had never eaten them before. They seemed so bland and oily. On Monday I took the test. For years my total level hovers around 200 and LDL at 130. The results from this test were 180 for total Cholesterol and 110 for LDL. Just one case, I admit. But for me a remarkable effect. I am sold on Brazil nuts, eating one a day now.

  • Robin Elliott

    I’m following dr. Esselstyns no oil and no nuts lifestyle to reverse CVD. Would you still recommend Brazil nuts to lower cholesterol! This is almost a life or death issue since nuts (omega 6’s) damage the endothelium & Brazil
    Nuts are quite high. Dr. Gregor, can you possibly discuss this with Dr. Esselstyn because right now I have to be in Crestor to get my LDL & TC lowered and I would love to be able to eat a plant food instead to do the same trick without side effects! Thank you!!

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Robin! Dr. Greger recommends 1 serving of nuts/seeds per day as a part of his Daily Dozen. 1 serving is equal to 1/4 cup nuts/seeds or 2 tablespoons of all-natural nut/seed butter.

      In addition, here’s some info from Dr. Esselstyn that you might be interested in: “As nuts are a rich source of saturated fats, my preference is no nuts for heart disease patients. That also eliminates peanuts and peanut butter even though peanuts are officially a legume. For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat that is in nuts is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable. Chestnuts are the one nut, very low in fat, it is ok to eat.” Dr Esselstyn’s FAQ

      I would suggest taking information from both sides and make a decision that you feel is best for your health. There might be a minor difference between the two in terms of nut consumption, however both Dr. Greger and Dr. Esselstyn are leading pioneers in the lifestyle medicine – both strongly promoting the power of a whole-food, plant-based diet!

      Last tip – are you able to be physically active? Exercise, paired with a whole-food/plant-based/high-fiber diet can really help in lowering cholesterol levels. Hope this helps!

  • Sophie

    My triglycerides ran 192 March this year (prior 310 Dec. of 2015) with Brazil nuts my latest read 124 !!!!!

    • Thea

      Sophie: That’s huge! Congrats.

  • Jodi Money

    I had 4 Brazil nuts a couple of days before my latest blood work. My cholesterol total had been historically 199, but the latest result was 149! Sold!

  • Joaquin

    Excuse me , there is no comment about Radium content in Brazil nut, should this be a concern?

  • Chris Diaz

    I started on the 4 Brazil nuts 3 months ago along with a friend, Marie. Now Marie eats very little meat due to a health problems that make it difficult to digest animal protein. She eats lots of veggies and salads, yet, she has been battling high cholesterol as a “gift” from her family tree. Marie went to her doctor 2 months after starting the 4 Brazil nuts a month program. The doctor looked at her test results and was blown away. He told her: “I don’t know what you are doing, but you need to keep doing it!” Marie’s cholesterol dropped a whopping 20 points.

    As for me, I am looking forward to my annual visit with my cardiologist in December. I can’t wait to see what the Brazil nuts will do for the different components of my cholesterol which entails high LDL & Triglycerides and low HDL – the unholy trifecta. I’ll check back and let y’all know.

  • Merna

    I eat 1 brazil nut daily… Is that too much?

  • plant_this_thought

    Did anyone else notice that the study came out of Brazil? Just sayin’…

  • Diane Alizia

    I’ve also read research recommending 1 Brazil nut a day. Which is best–four every 3 or 4 weeks or 1 day?

    • Joan E, RD-NF Volunteer

      Below is a fact sheet from the NIH on selenium, which is super abundant in the brazil nut. There is research in the hemodialysis population using 1 Brazil nut/day to target inflammation, but this population is at higher risk of deficiency and inflammation. If you look at the daily requirement for selenium it is 55mcg/day. Tolerable upper limit is 400mcg. 1 brazil nut is 544mcg. So you would only need to consume 3/month to meet the daily recommendation (not taking into consideration absorption)… If you consumed 22/month… you would be pushing the tolerable upper limit.

      All that aside.. In Dr. Greger’s daily dozen recommendations, he recommends 1 serving of nuts/day. I would recommend a variety as every nut seems to have it’s own distinct nutrition features.

      • Thea

        Joan E: I’m not seeing a fact sheet link. Am I just missing it?

        • Diane Alizia

          I can’t see the factsheet either.

        • George

          I guess the link Joan is referring to is

          And one remark regarding Joan’s comment: Per link above, selenium content is 544mcg for 1 ounce (6–8 nuts) of brazil nuts (not 544mcg per 1 brazil nut).

          So, eating 4 brazil nuts at a time, once per month, like dr G says in the videos, is safe, you wouldn’t exceed the tolerable upper limit of 400mcg selenium.

          • Thea

            George: Thanks!

      • Diane Alizia

        Thank you; that clears things up a bit.

  • Brazil Nuts can be kept in the freezer so they don’t go bad.

  • Marianna

    I used to eat even 10 a day. What happens if you get too much selenium?

  • emp

    Recently I thought I might be not getting much in selenium, and perhaps soil levels greatly vary and perhaps it was one of the minerals higher long ago. Looking into works on selenium, it is highly variable, even with brazil nuts. Cruciferous and mushrooms are also mentioned as sources, though now. Allium possibly can be high though from the variation in soil, as is also true with brazil nuts, perhaps some blood test is possible?

    From Selenium in Food and Health:

    … (Barclay et al., 1995). None of these nuts approached the levels of 0.85 to 6.86, with a mean of 2.54 µg/g found in the same study in Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts have been reported to be the richest natural source of dietary selenium. In the US nuts purchased in supermarkets averaged 36 ± 50 µg/g, with the extraordinarily high level of 512 µg in an individual nut. However, not all Brazil nuts contain such high levels, and concentrations, even in batches of nuts from the same source, can be highly variable. The nuts are produced by Bertholletia excelsa, a large tree that grows in the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin in South America. Concentrations of selenium in the nuts depend on how effectively the element is taken up by the roots from the soil. This is dependent on the maturity of the root system and the variety of the tree, as well as on the concentration and the chemical form of the selenium in the soil, soil pH, and other factors (Reilly, 1999).

    Members of the Allium family, which includes garlic (A. sativum) and onion (A. cepa), and contain a variety of sulfur compounds which are responsible for their distinctive odors and flavors, are also able to accumulate significant amounts of selenium, especially if grown on selenium-rich soil. While levels of 0.03 to 0.25 µg selenium/g have been reported in garlic grown on normal soil, this was increased to 68 µg/g when the soil was enriched in selenium.

  • Paul Matheson

    1 per week I assume.

  • cami

    I eat one brazil nut a day for selenium. Should I roast these or eat them raw?