Four Nuts Once a Month

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Four Brazil Nuts Once a Month…

One of the craziest studies I read all year involved feeding people a single serving of Brazil nuts to see what it would do to the cholesterol levels of healthy volunteers. They gave ten men and women a single meal containing zero, one, four, or eight Brazil nuts, and found that the ingestion of just that single serving almost immediately improved cholesterol levels. LDL, so-called “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood, was significantly lower starting just nine hours after the ingestion of nuts, and by no insignificant amount, nearly 20 points within a day. Even drugs don’t work that fast. It takes statins around four days to have a significant effect.

But that’s not even the crazy part.

The researchers went back and measured their cholesterol five days later, and then 30 days later. Now, keep in mind they weren’t eating Brazil nuts this whole time. They just had that single serving of Brazil nuts a month before and their cholesterol was still down 30 days later. It went down and stayed down, after eating just four nuts… That’s nuts!

And no, the study was not funded by the Brazil nut industry.

Interestingly, four nuts actually seemed to work faster than the eight nuts to lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. These results suggest that eating just four nuts might be enough to improve the levels of LDL and HDL for up to 30 days, and maybe longer—they didn’t test past 30.

Now 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 ten 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. I think the reasonable default position is to do it until proven otherwise.

They concluded a single serving was sufficient “without producing liver and kidney toxicity.” What they’re referring to is the high selenium content of Brazil nuts—so high that four eaten every day may actually bump us up against the tolerable daily limit for selenium, but not something we have to worry about if we’re just eating four once a month.

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!

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


96 responses to “Four Brazil Nuts Once a Month…

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  1. This is an amazing finding. But I noticed that besides being high in selenium, Brazil nuts are also high in methionine, about the same as in chicken and some fish (1 g per 100 g). And in an earlier NutritionFacts video, methionine restriction is recommended for reducing cancer risk. So since food is a package deal, I’m wondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks for eating Brazil nuts. Has anyone else looked at Brazil nuts from this perspective? Please chime in with your opinions. Here are some links to support the above statements:

    nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/

    nutrition.merschat.com/food-nutrition-facts.cgi?NDB_No=12078

    nutrition.merschat.com/foods-by-nutrient.cgi?Nutr_No=506&Measure=100g&page=4

    1. Do you think one a day is too much? I’m a registered dietitian in a dialysis unit and I’ve actually recommended one Brazil nut a day to a dialysis patient with an albumin that hovers around 3.5-3.6 ( goal for dialysis patient is 4.0). Not sure if it’s coincidence, but it’s increased to 3.9 since then. My suggestion was based on studies on selenium and glutathione peroxidase helping with inflammation. Based on patient’s diet it appeared she was eating plenty of protein, so I decided to see if there was a way to help with the inflammation which might be causing the low albumin.
      Might one Brazil nut be too much?

  2. This is an amazing finding. But I notice that besides being high in selenium, Brazil nuts are also high in methionine, in the same range as chicken and some fish (1 g per 100 g). And from a previous NutritionFacts video, methionine restriction is recommended to reduce the risk of cancer. I’m wondering if the benefits of eating Brazil nuts outweigh the risks? Has anyone else looked at Brazil nuts from this perspective? Perhaps the amount of methionine in 4 nuts per month is negligible? And another question is: which is better for the cholesterol effect, 1 nut per week or 4 nuts at one meal once per month? Here are some related links:

    nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/

    nutrition.merschat.com/foods-by-nutrient.cgi?Nutr_No=506&Measure=100g&page=4

    nutrition.merschat.com/food-nutrition-facts.cgi?NDB_No=12078

    1. The amino acid profile of Brazil nuts is not that important because they are very dense in energy. Further, there should be a higher demand for methionine on a plant based due to creatine synthesis, IMHO.

    2. The methionine densities are similar, but based on an average serving size of 150g for a typical chicken breast and approximately 16g for 4 brazil nuts:

      Chicken breast 150g x 1g/100g = 1.5g methionine
      Brazil nut 4 x 4g x 1g/100g = 0.16g methionine

      I.e., over 9 times more methionine from chicken, based on serving size.

    3. Thanks for your question! I am a Registered Dietitian and I one of the Moderators at NF.

      That is indeed true, Brazil nuts are high in methionine, unfortunately, I could not find any study examining methionine restriction specifically from brazil nut consumption and cancer risk or longevity. This study found that daily methionine requirements for a healthy person is of 15m/kg/day (i.e. a person weighing 70kg would require 1050mg per day, which is approximately the equivalent of one brazil nut a day). However, we should take into account that if a person is following a plant based diet, it is likely that the overall intake of methionine from diet is already low (1). Plus, it is possible that vegetarians and vegans require higher levels of methionine for creatine synthesis, since they cannot obtain it from diet (2). In my opinion, taking into account the health benefits of nuts, one should consume them on regular basis.

      When it comes how you many Brazil nuts you should take, in the study mentioned by Dr Greger, the participants took either 5, 20 or 50g or Brazil nuts in a single meal and did not consume anymore Brazil nuts for the following 30 days. An important detail about this study is that participants were told to exclude selenium rich foods in the day they took Brazil nuts (eggs, egg yolks, garlic, whole wheat cereal, viscera, etc.) because these nuts are quite a rich source of this mineral. Therefore, I suggest perhaps follow a similar protocol.

      Hope this answer helps!

        1. Yes, but it says they only removed eggs for that day, not the 30 days following. One day of not eating eggs isn’t going to lower your life cholesterol that much 30 days later.

      1. Hi. Just a clarification. When I heard Greger speak in 2015 I thought he said one a week. Did I hear him incorrectly? Do they need to be consumed all at once or once a week?
        Thank you

        1. Please read the comment above by Darchite, MSc, R.D.on of our health support team members who gives a plausible reason why eating the nuts all at once makes sense. Another advantage is by eating them weekly you won’t forget and miss having them one day or so.

  3. I tested this 4 Brazil nuts idea on myself when Dr. Greger first published this research and it did not appear to move my cholesterol either way. I am still hunting for the key to get my TC under 150. Also, 1/4 tsp/day of amla did not lower my TC either.

    1. I haven’t tried amla, but I found the four Brazil nuts didn’t seem to change my cholesterol. What did make a difference was having a handful of walnuts daily with my salad, and also eating at least a cup of beans each day.

      1. fwalker8: My 2 cents is that the key part of your experience is not necessarily that you did walnuts and beans, but that you used multiple angles at once. I think for people really struggling with their cholesterol, doing just one change like say adding amla or just doing 4 nuts, may not cut it. One of the reasons I like the NutritionFacts topic page for Cholesterol is that the last paragraph lists all the foods that have been shown to specifically lower cholesterol so that someone who is having a tough time could use multiple strategies at once.

        Thanks for sharing your story. I found it helpful.

    2. Are you eating a lot of beans? Isn’t it the soluble and insoluble fiber in them that helps pull cholesterol out of your system? It certainly worked to reduce my weight. I eat them three times a day at a minimum.

      1. I eat WFPB (no added oils), including a lot of beans/lentils and some walnuts. Since I ingest no cholesterol, all that I have is internally produced. My current hypothesis is that there is a reason my body is producing so much cholesterol, and if I can find and fix that reason then my cholesterol numbers will come down.

        1. fencepost: I recently made some suggestions for someone else on this very topic. If you are interested, here is revised version with more info that I had a couple days ago:
          —————
          I’m not an expert, but I have some ideas for you.

          1) Is your weight ideal? Someone who is overweight may have cholesterol problems just from that situation. I first learned this from Tom Goff who wrote: “There is an interesting article on being overweight and its effects on lipids like cholesterol. It is quite technical but it concludes: “diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol are less effective in the obese. The most effective way for obese people to normalize their blood lipids is to lose weight”. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16256004 . It is therefore possible that your system and metabolic response to eating a healthy diet won’t result in optimal cholesterol numbers until you are in a healthy weight range.”

          A lot of people lose weight switching to a vegan diet, but not everyone losses any or all of the excess weight. I can give you some great advice for lowering your weight the healthy way if you are interested.

          2) Do you have genes that just keep you with extra high cholesterol? I believe it is called familial hypercholesterolemia. If you do have this situation and if your diet is mostly whole, low fat plant foods, then maybe you don’t need to worry about your cholesterol levels? I don’t know that we have any data on people who have been eating a low fat whole plant food diet for many years an yet their cholesterol is still too high. But I heard Dr. Klaper once say to not worry about it. He thinks that if you are eating the right diet, then you cholesterol won’t oxidize and you won’t get a heart attack. (Assuming I understood him correctly.) I don’t know if Dr. Klaper has hard data on this assertion, but it makes sense to me. I believe you can do tests to figure out what your genes are regarding familial hypercholesterolemia??

          3) Do you eat a lot of fatty plant food? I was listening to a lecture recently from Dr. Jim Bennie and he told a story about a patient who was vegan for a while, but who still had high cholesterol. It turns out that that person was eating multiple avocados a day. To be optimally healthy, I think you need to go low-fat, not just whole plant foods. So, moderate your intake of avocados and nuts and skip the oils (olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, Natural Balance etc.)

          4) Were you eating a less than ideal diet for many years before becoming vegan? It seems (to my lay person’s brain), that some people’s bodies are all messed up after eating a bad diet for decades. So, my theory is that just switching to a vegan diet is not necessarily going to get your body to stop producing massive amounts of cholesterol. Or maybe your body produces more for a bit to compensate for the change in diet?

          Whether my theory is correct or not, it may be necessary to adopt a diet especially dedicated to lowering cholesterol. This would mean not only to the general basic diet that applies to most everyone: A low fat whole plant food diet. But also includes incorporating those foods which have been specifically shown to lower cholesterol. The last paragraph on the topic page for cholesterol on NutritionFacts includes this list of foods along with links to the details: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cholesterol/ (This page is well worth checking out anyway as a great summary of the information about cholesterol in general.)

          And then, if that doesn’t help, I like to refer people to Joseph’s excellent advice on what to do if you have tried everything and you still can’t lower your cholesterol: (Joseph was an RD who used to be part of the NutritionFacts staff) http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/what-can-i-do-to-lower-my-cholesterol-it-seems-ive-tried-everything/
          Hopefully some of those ideas will help.

          1. Thank you for that long reply. (1) by BMI, weight is normal. Height is more than 2x waist circumference; (2) possibly…it is on my list to get an ultrasound of my carotid arteries and if they are clean to not worry about cholesterol, (3) I do not eat avocados but I do eat some walnuts, and (4) I’ve been WFPB for 10 years now and before that ate a healthier-than-average standard American diet.

            I just read Esselstyn’s book and we are looking into how our recipes line up with that and whether we should make changes.

            It is possible, for example, that I have accumulated excess iron reserves (I’m a man) and that is producing an extra oxidation load which is stimulating cholesterol production (cholesterol can serve as an antioxidant). There is an easy and low-risk way to test that idea, and maybe I will.

          2. Hi Thea, I’d be interested in seeing your thoughts on “I can give you some great advice for lowering your weight the healthy way if you are interested” as mentioned in your post. I am an avid follower of Dr. Greger, this site, Joel Fuhrman and other “nutritionally enlightened” docs. I am a young relatively healthy active 63 year old woman but I need to lose about 40 pounds to be in an optimal range. I recently weaned myself off zantac (hiatal hernia) and am doing just fine by following healthy practical guidelines of eating a vegal diet, eating early in the evening, elevated wedge pillow, avoiding trigger foods and the occasional use of digestive enzymes. I have realized about a 5 pound weight loss since I got off the acid reducers – for some reason I often felt “artificially hungry” when taking them. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.

            1. Pam: I’m glad you asked! (I can’t share all this info unless someone really wants it. It’s just too big. But I love to share this stuff.)
              .
              The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
              .
              Dr. Greger covers calorie density, but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. I believe that Doug Lisle is one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, and he gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
              .
              As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” which is no longer for sale. Argh! (I mention it just in case you can get your hands on a copy. Happily, there is a very good second best source for that information: an article that Jeff wrote that you can get here:
              http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-calorie-density-approach-to-nutrition-and-lifelong-weight-management/
              Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
              .
              Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 600 calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 600 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
              .
              It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
              http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
              (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
              At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
              .
              Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
              .
              How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.

              1. Thanks Thea, lots of helpful info for newbies, (which I’m not), but with familial hypercholesterolemia and obesity rampant in my family, I still need to find the elusive “magic” combo! Since going hard core WFPB I’ve tried everything I could, and even though I lost well over 150 lbs, I managed to gain a few back when I still had 40 or so to go! Even as a self conscious teen (many moons ago!) living on diet pills and not much else I could NOT get thin, and after having kids, I ballooned to huge. Cheap processed food high high in fat/oil contributed, but in our home, produce was always included, and red meat was rare unless it was venison from a neighbor. Never a fan of animal products (besides seafood) so eliminating them was not difficult, and since I’d had my gallbladder removed very young, cutting fat was another multilevel blessing, though difficult at first. Health improved dramatically, but this weight thing is wearing! I obviously avoid all fats and don’t even eat nuts or avocados or other calorie dense foods. My big “splurge” is a few drops of toasted sesame oil or mustard oil as a flavor on a (no oil) stir fry occasionally! Since I barely even use even canned beans, nothing “sneaks” in with anything processed! I know adding more raw food is a good idea, but don’t even have the choppers to enjoy that option. (Raw soups and green smoothies are great tho!)
                I wonder if from starving for years my already screwy metabolism thinks it has to store fat for “survival” or something, because even though I know counting calories isn’t necessary, I have just for perspective, and my caloric intake was consistently well below recommendations for my height and activity level. I’ve read a lot about de novo lipogenesis, and I’m convinced I must have had a relative that was a REAL pig! LOL!

                1. Vege-tater: You have an interesting case. (Congratulations?) As you know, I’m no expert. But for what it’s worth, here’s my 2 cents: I keep thinking that you hit the nail on the head when you talked about replacing *some of* your cooked food with raw food. But I also fully sympathize (re: feel it also!) with your comment about not finding that idea so appealing…
                  .
                  The ideal situation for a complicated case like yours, in my opinion, would be to go to Dr. McDougall’s clinic or a place like that (TrueNorth is another great option I think) and let an expert take a crack at you. But I understand that that’s not in the budget until after you win the lottery. (Which I’m sure will be happening any day now. But in the meantime…)
                  .
                  As just a shot in the dark idea for you: I wonder if you could combine all the teeny, tiny tweaks that Dr. Greger has presented regarding weight loss. Maybe over time, all those little ideas would pile up for you. As an example of what I’m thinking about: I was flipping around through the How Not To Die section yesterday and came across the section on vinegar. Dr. Greger talked about a study that showed vinegar helped people to lose weight.
                  .
                  Here’s my point: I would not expect vinegar by itself to have a giant amount of effect in the real world on most people. And you may or may not already include vinegar in your daily diet. What I’m wondering is : if you found all those little NutritionFacts tips regarding weight loss and worked to tweak your diet (and exercise) to incorporate those ideas into your daily routine, *maybe* it would have the effect you are looking for. It’s just an idea. I hope you find something that works for you, because with all the work you have done to get yourself healthy, you deserve all the health possible!

                  1. Thanks, you are so kind! I guess I just have to keep experimenting, it’s just kind of frustrating to have changed everything and hear and see everyone else manage quite nicely without issues. Oh well, such is life, we all do what we gotta do! And you can bet WHEN I hit the lottery (pretty unlikely since I don’t buy them myself, but my proxy occasionally does) I am definitely going to go to a 10 day!

        2. I agree with you. If cholesterol levels remain high despite a wfpbno diet, i would question two things. 1) is there something else eaten triggering a high cholesterol response from the body. 2) is the high cholesterol high for this individual. There are minimally invasive tests that can be perform to look at artery health. If no damage is occurring with high cholesterol levels, maybe just monitoring artery health is all the intervening that is needed.

    3. That’s exactly why I don’t trust any of these studies unless they’re done on FAT FREE VEGANS or RURAL PEOPLES. A bad food for us FFV may be a beneficial food to a person eating the SAD diet because they are just replacing one bad food with a lesser “bad” food.
      .
      This is EXACTLY why you cant trust these studies unless they fit the above parameters.
      .
      5 years FFV next month. TC 136, TRIG 74.

    1. VegGuy: Thank you for the article. I knew about the wide variability of Se in Brazil nuts but had never seen data this extensive as proof. I eat two Brazil nuts a day just for Se, not to lower cholesterol. Somedays, I guess, I get too much Se and other day too little, and hopefully my average daily consumption of Se is within the safe and effective range.

    1. Great question!

      The recommended dietary intake of selenium is 55mcg for those 14 and older and the “tolerable upper limit” for intake is 400 mcg. Most brazil nuts average between 70-90 mcg/ nut although, as VegGuy mentioned, the range can be quite variable.

      To get a sense of other foods with selenium, one cup of cooked brown rice has 19mcg and one cup of banana has 2mcg. Bottom line: one nut a day is probably safe if you are on a WFPB diet. If you are eating a lot of tuna (92mcg/3 oz) or pan-fried beef liver (28mcg/3 oz) you may want to skip the nuts. ☺

      This page has great info on selenium if you are interested!

      NIH Info on Selenium

      And a few other references on selenium- probably more than you would ever want!

      Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Toxicologic Profile for Selenium. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2003.

      Institute of Medicine (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000. Selenium; pp. 284–324.

      Levander OA. Scientific rationale for the 1989 recommended dietary allowance for selenium. J Am Diet Assoc. 1991;91(12):1572–1576.

      Fan AM, Kizer KW. Selenium-nutritional, toxicologic, and clinical aspects. West J Med. 1990;153(2):160–167.

  4. The statement, “… 1050mg per day, which is approximately the equivalent of one brazil nut a day” is not accurate. 100 grams of brazil nuts would provide that amount of methionine, but one brazil nut weighs around 4 to 5 grams.

  5. A randomized controlled study is underway, were we are testing the effects of a single dose of 50g Brazil nuts vs isocaloric amount of coconut (control).

  6. Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses of Nuts and Obesity
    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02654535

    Brazil Nut Consumption in Microvascular Endothelial Function, Oxidative Stress and Metabolic Abnormalities
    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01990391

    Intake of partially defatted Brazil nut flour reduces serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic patients- a randomized controlled trial
    https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-015-0036-x
    Supplementation with Brazil nuts seems to favor the maintenance of FT3 levels and contributes to lipemia reduction in hypercholesterolemic and euthyroid patients.

    Improvement of antioxidant status after Brazil nut intake in hypertensive and dyslipidemic subjects
    https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-015-0043-y
    The partially defatted GBN intake has a potential benefit to increase plasma selenium, increase enzymatic antioxidant activity of GPx3 and to reduction oxidation in LDL in hypertensive and dyslipidemic patients.

  7. This is unusual since the amount of Brazil nuts doesn’t follow a dose-dependent pattern in lowering cholesterol. Brazil nuts are high in saturated fat which normally raises cholesterol. Assuming that the high selenium is the cause of the cholesterol lowering effect, perhaps too many nuts reverses this effect because more that 4 a month provides more saturated fat than is tolerable in regard to cholesterol

  8. This article reminds me of a lecture I heard a decade or two ago about a professor of geography who noticed that countries with high levels of selenium in their soil, such as Senegal, have low Aids and cancer rates. He also discovered other minerals that seem to lower cancer rates. See http://www.hdfoster.com/

  9. Was eating 1/4 of a brazil nut daily and did get TC down to 123 but was also getting only 20% of calories from fat (4% saturated) and was keeping BMI at only 17.5 while eating an average of 1750 calories. Actually did eat added oils in the form of Earth Balance buttery spread and Mindful Mayo but only 1/2 teaspoon servings.
    It is said that, depending on APOE status, it might not be as easy for some to lower blood cholesterol with low-fat eating. It did work well for me, an APOE 3/4, consistent with the research.
    Another possibly worthwhile point is that what’s called the Cardio IQ panel revealed my TC at 123 while the regular cholesterol test showed it at 144. That’s a significant difference, so many here might already be where they want to be, not knowing it due to tests showing numbers to be higher than they actually are.

  10. Howdy-
    You might want to check this NF video by Dr G from 4 years ago which compares the stated shelf life of oils with actual tested findings. Of particular note is the perfect conditions under which the oils have to be kept, and that the date starts at bottling, not from when it’s first opened. Before I learned of the cancer risks for oils (see Dr McDougall on this topic) I used to buy organic olive oil from a local producer in northern California. He was very open and honest and his belief was that well kept olive oil, if stored optimally and unopened, would last 2 years in the bottle. But once opened, only two weeks (and that was also if kept optimally). I no longer eat anything with oil in it–full stop.

    I hope that helps.
    Mark

      1. I see that I forgot to put the link in my last post above, so I just went back and added it.

        As far as storing oil, Dr Greger discusses it in the video. Dark container (like the ceramic bottles some use) no air (the is a problem once it’s opened and the more the oil is moved by pouring the more air mixes with it causing oxidation, so the fastest it goes rancid), and store in a cool place (dr Greger says the fridge, but the organic olive oil grower/distributor said that it solidifies faster which is a different form of oxidation. I have no idea if that’s true). Dr MC so-cal has a long video on cancer on YouTube and at about the 10 or 15 min point he shows charts from test results showing how using any vegetable oil increases risk of cancer. And of course, coconut oil is solid at room temp so it’s a huge source of saturated fat. And the fact that the body makes all that it needs doesn’t mean we men huge amounts of it. By comparison, if the body turns things into sugar for energy it doesn’t mean missed of sugar is good for you.

        That’s pretty much what I know. I have longer eat oils. Of a dish has been prepared with it I skip it. I only have a small amount of nuts or seeds or avocado with veggies to get the nutrients absorbed. And that’s it fort me.

  11. Whole wheat food like pasta can provide good amount of selenium. Mushrooms such as white/brown/shiitake can contain small amount of selenium.

  12. Are you stupid? I have to ask, since you seem to have a severe lack of putting things into perspective. 1 brazil nut is around 5g and has 0.7g of protein. Thats 2.8g of protein in 4 brazil nuts. Thats 201.6mg…

    If you are so concerned with methionine, then just eat a low protein diet if you must.

  13. I’ve been eating one Brazil nut each day for years. Do you think that I am consuming too many Brazil nuts? If so, what would be the optimal number of Brazil nuts to eat each month?

  14. Since reading DrGs book I eat 4 brazil nuts on the first of every month and then 2 a day for my selenium. It’s that too many?

  15. I was eating four a day, but I stoped eating them because I couldn’t find fresh ones. I could only buy ones in a bag with the shells removed. They would often taste a bit mouldy, although I couldn’t see any mould on them. But I read that brazil nuts can contain the mould that is found in peanuts, which you only need a microscopic amount of everyday to destroy your liver over time. If only I could buy them with shells on all year around rather than just at Christmas. They do organic ones on Amazon, but they are too expensive for me.

  16. Whats about highest content of radioactivity in the vegetal kingdom? Brasil nuts com from big big tres in the Amazona and get radioactivity de to so much deep roots. Search the web. Brasil nuts had thousands of times than other food.

    1. Been reading a lot of interesting articles about the unexpected success of animals in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, and the hormesis concept. Not saying it applies, but something to ponder?

  17. This is my new favorite nutrition site! I have two brazil nuts a day (for my thyroid) with my rolled oats with quarter cup ground flax seed, tsp cinnamon and berries every morning. Top it off with a cuppa hot turmeric tea.

  18. Hi, I would like to help confirm these findings. Recently i had a cholesterol test read 248. Not great. So i decided to get back on the horse and start testing myself at home again and start on the road to improvement. Without changing my diet, i took a home test a week later, to form a base line, after which i would make dietary changes. To my surprise, the test read 177 ! Surprising. So i mediated on what different thing may have occured in my diet over the last week and the only answer was that for a work snack i had wolfed down a bag of brazil nuts. I use different snacks at work so this week i had decided to go for brazil nuts. Not usually my thing b/c they are so expensive though. Well these nuts were the only thing in my diet that had been different from the normal, as i tried to be careful to keep my diet the same until i took the baseline test. So i went on the net to find out what’s so special about these nuts, and that brought me here. Needless to say, I am convinced as to their usefulness but of course will not eat so much of them, considering the warnings posted here, but definitely will make them some regular part of my diet. Thanks to all, and just wanted to share and collaborate.

    1. Mark Caldwell: Thank you for sharing your story. Very interesting!

      I had two thoughts in reaction to your post. One thought is that labs are notorious for getting things wrong. With such a dramatic difference in readings in such a short time, it’s possible that one or both of your measurements is off. I’m not an expert. I don’t know. And you could absolutely be right about the cause of the difference. I just thought I would make one other suggestion.

      Another thought I had for you is that this site has a list of foods known to lower cholesterol levels. You might be able to tweek your diet in several different ways and have a safe, cumulative effect on cholesterol. Here’s NutritionFacts the topic page for cholesterol: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cholesterol This page includes a nice list of plant foods which might be helpful to you.

      Good luck and thanks again for sharing.

      1. Hi and thx for the reply. Yea I noticed that lab tests tend to be higher than home readings, as another poster also pointed out. in my particular case, home and lab in past have had acceptable agreement though lab is usu bit higher. usually i expect the home to read around 190 – 205(i have good hdl btw) so 177 really caught my eye. the lab in this case was not unreasonable b/c i had not been monitoring for a little while and lost track of where i was at, and had been eating a lot of sugary stuff lately. i really should have known my numbers were off a long time before taking the lab, and should have taken a home test before going to lab, so live and learn, that’s all on me and my bad. yes there are other factors in my life such as diet & exercise, orange peel, and whatnot, so it’s not just the nuts. 177 is still pretty non typical for me so convinced the nuts are very good and played a major role, so i plan to continue to monitor this and experiment with sensible nut supplementation. it’s kind of exciting and i look forward to it. really appreciate the link, i will definitely look into that. we all need all the help we can get. :)

  19. oh and btw i should also say, i don’t depend on taking a supplement of any kind, whether natural or not, to totally take care of the issue. for me, it’s always been about sensible diet and exercise, having a decent balance, so also taking steps to lower the sugar intake. lab test was wake-up call for me. took a look at that list, I have some of those things covered like apples and i also eat whole grains which include the barley and oats. i need to see if my whole grain mix has any flax in it. looks like i can also benefit by adding kale and almonds to my diet, which i can easily do. pretty cool and thanks for the info.

  20. I have been monitoring my blood pressure and getting morning readings averaging in the mid 120’s over the low 80’s. I ate 4 Brazil nuts yesterday. My BP this morning was 111/74. I have not had a reading that low in years.

    1. hmmm…i had some really good readings too since starting eating more brazil nuts. now you got me all curious. going to try some more controlled experiments to see what effect they could have on by BP. thx4sharing

      1. Tried a special test with brazil nuts to see what effect on BP. For me, there was a moderate effect, maybe at most 10 pts on the upper number. I have high BP so looks like the nuts wouldn’t make so much difference for me to stop using my BP med, but it seems like a nice supplement to help out. I am currently doing a can of mixed nuts per month for Cholesterol control and seems that also helps the BP a tad, and this is working out very well for me. Brazil nuts are awesome!

  21. I’m trying this and will let you know if it works. My LDL is a disaster – 170. As are most of my blood lipids. Heredity.

    Problem is, I tend to eat more than 4 Brazil nuts a month. I’ll try to cut back for the sake of the experiment.

  22. I tried the 4 brazil nuts per month, sometimes forgetting them for a week or so later. I am overweight, try to eat a lowish carb diet. I eat at least an egg a day – sometimes two, and do not limit fats such as avocado. The eggs I eat are from my own chickens, which may make a difference, but they were also from my chickens at the baseline tests.

    Total Cholesterol: 269 to 235
    Triglycerides: 149 to 196
    HDL Cholesterol: 72 to 77
    LDL Cholesterol: 167 to 119

  23. Hi Dr. Greger – I recently read your book ‘How Not to Die’ and was intrigued with the info on brazil nuts and lowering cholesterol. I have always had high cholesterol and have been on statins for years. I do everything right and am very healthy – I’m thin, exercise (just ran a half-marathon at 65!), eat a vegan diet and even on statins my cholesterol has never been ‘normal’ and in fact my Dr had wanted me to increase the statins after my last lipid profile because she said it was ‘genetic’ and there was nothing else I could do – I refused and have been searching high and low for a natural way to lower my cholesterol. After reading your book, I decided to do an experiment – 6 weeks before my yearly physical I did the following (August 2018):
    1. Stopped the statins
    2. Increased my exercise to include three days of metabolic (HIIT) with a heart rate monitor so I knew when I reached 90% and 70% of max and to do weights and run on the other days (I have always run) – so increased exercise to 6-7 days a week vs 3-4
    3. Modified my vegan diet to exclude oils and processed foods – WFPB based on Forks over Knives meal plans
    4. Ate one brazil nut a week

    I had my physical in late September and amazingly all my cholesterol numbers were much better and in fact after I told her what I was doing, she told me to stay off the statins and keep doing what I was doing! I am thrilled! For example my LDL went from 142 (January 2018) to 86 (Sept 2018)! I would be happy to share the results with you. Obviously I’m not sure if it was only the brazil nuts or a combination of the changes I made but whatever it was, I’m off statins for the first time in years and that is just wonderful!

    1. I know!! I’m amazed and my Dr couldn’t believe it – she had to keep looking at the results and comparing to previous – I think she thought she had the wrong results. I also think the metabolic workouts helped. Thank you and Dr. Greger!

  24. I believe the study you are referring to is this one:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693158/

    I was wondering what a person does if they look up a PMC Study and they want to know who funded the study in an attempt to understand what the authors motivation might be?

    For example, what if I see a study that says eating meat 6 days a week is perfectly healthy and better for you than whole fruits & vegetables. I might suspect that the study was funding by some cattle organization. So, how can I find who is funding a study so I can scrutinize the study accordingly?

  25. So I tried this. Have a home cholesterol machine. Ate 20g brazil nuts then tested 5 days later. I’d just tested the day before for baseline.
    Total cholesterol 158 to 150
    HDL 49 to 53
    Triglycerides 99 to 70
    LDL 90 to 82
    Ratios were much improved.
    C/HDL 3.2 to 2.83
    Tri/HDL 2.02 to 1.32
    LDL/HDL 1.83 to 1.57
    So I went from pretty OK but a bit off balance to much closer to heat attack proof. I’d already started taking a bit of vinegar and didn’t completely stop that over the 5 days. Had intended to cut coffee but kept drinking it “for science” during the 5 days. Been eating a few walnuts mostly daily for 2 weeks. Had some avocado on day 4, which I usually don’t eat much at all. I’m baseline plant based, but prone to a few graham crackers and processed junk one meal per day. Have lost much weight but still struggling with about 10lb abdominal fat, and probably have had a thyroid problem since my first of two pregnancies in 6 years (and been nursing continously since). And I’m 45 and was rocking the gallbladder mnemonic fire awhile. BMI 26 now. Due to the probable untreated thyroid I probably would not have made the cut for study participation but the trend with the nuts is good and now I just need to decide whether to monthly load or do a nut each day like other studies have done. Hope anyone else who tries this posts results

    1. You can read my response below. Yes, they worked too much! I was eating 2 a day as I had read to boost my selenium. Started last week. Within the last few days I have noticed a change in my BP. As I experienced the same situation a few wks ago with some other food I was trying for something else, I googled this Brazil nuts/BP situation and I now KNOW what is wrong. I will receive nuts to 2 a month and hope it works on my cholesterol also because I cannot take cholesterol meds. Fingers crossed.

  26. Hi. WOW, if there are any side affects to anything, I get them. This is amazing. I read about selenium and the Brazil nuts, so ordered 2#s of raw/organic. The info I got said 2 a day and no more. Well, I thought what the heck, they can’t be that bad. I am on meds to lower my BP (high BP/high cholesterol are major killers in my family) and know when my BP is off kilter. Within the last few days I have experienced some slight dizziness on and off and knew from experience that it was my BP. NOW I know why. No more 2 a day, just 2 a month. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem, but also hope it lowers my cholesterol level. The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I was trying a new food. My BP started going funky so I looked it up. Can’t remember that food but will get back to you on that. Again, THANKS! Sure will pass this on! Sure wished I had known this sooner. I lost my older brother to a heart attack last year. He had high BP and High cholesterol. Can’t imagine that something as simple as 2 Brazil nuts a month could have saved him. But still have me and two other bros left, so will pass this on to them. Hopefully, it will work.

  27. Does anyone know the other food that will lower BP. I took that a couple of wks ago, experienced the BP affect, googled it and sure enough had to get off it. NOW I can’t remember what it was!

  28. Watermelon (eating the fruit) and hibiscus (drinking the tea) have been shown to decrease hypertension (high blood pressure). Note that this is not the same thing as lowering blood pressure in someone that has normal blood pressure already.

    Dr. Ben

  29. By changing my diet only adding four Brazil nuts a month my LDL went from 150 to 92. It was about one year between blood tests. I have been a Vegan for years without any significant improvement in my cholesterol. Last test results were tot 142, LDL 92 and HDL 33. My HDL has never been nearly that low so I am making a point of drastically change my exercise routine.
    Generally, the recommendation for men is a HDL > 40 but I wonder if that applies to me with a total of 142 or is that what is expected of a man with a total of 200?

    1. From what I’ve reviewed I did not see any changes in HDL recommendations based on what your total cholesterol is . This article put things in perspective regarding how important HDL is and how that number needs to be considered as just part of cardiac risk factor picture. I hope this helps.Keep eating well and enjoy the added exercise you mentioned you’ll be getting!

  30. According to Dr. Esselstyn (President Clinton’s doc and a WFPB proponent that has proven clinical regression of atherosclerosis with WFPB) referencing the Framingham Heart Study, a total cholesterol under 150 is the goal, period. At that level, there were extremely few cardiac events. I don’t think he pays much heed to LDL or HDL.

    Dr. Ben

    1. I disagree with your assessment of Dr. Esselstyn’s opinion on LDL. It is true that he saysthe most important is  “Not to eat anything that is a building block of vascular disease or can injure endothelium”
      However, when speaking directly about LDL he wrote in his book “better to have a level of 80-85 or lower”. Also in looking at his study youwill see that the people that reversed their heart condition had very low LDL levels.
      In looking at the opinions of many published doctors the LDL should be below 100 in a relatively healthy person and below 80 if serious heart disease.  The total of 150 reflects the Framingham study but the devil is in the details. What were the LDL levels? Most of those nurses were women and the recommended HDL is over 50 so it is very likely that the LDL was 90 or lower.

      1. This is a direct quote from Dr. Esselstyn’s essay that you can read here:

        http://www.dresselstyn.com/reversal01.htm

        “The only goal was to achieve and maintain a total serum cholesterol of <150 mg/dl."

        It's not physiologically possible to have an LDL over 100 with a total chol under 150.

        "many published doctors" is not evidence.

  31. I enjoy seeing everyone’s comments about Brazil Nuts and this recent discussion about Cholesterol in general. I have been wondering about all of it for quite sometime. High Cholesterol runs in my family – my father and a brother died from heart disease and my other two brothers are on statins. My stats were Total C = 232, LDL = 166, & HDL = 46. I told my Doctor I was not going to take a Statin. He gave me six months to change my numbers. I tried various changes and finally sent vegan but I still wasn’t happy with my numbers. Then I found out about the WFPB way of eating and eventually read How Not To Die. I now have Total C = 153, LDL = 95, HDL = 44. A while back I started eat brazil nut a week. A month later my blood tests did no seem to change. So, I tried eating 4 Brazil nuts at one time and then skipped them for 3 weeks. I did another blood test. No change to speak of. Perhaps the nuts don’t help so much if your Total C is already low. I have tried to get my HDL up but every time I do my Total C goes up and my LDL goes up, I cannot figure out how to get my LDL down below 93 so far. And I do wonder if your LDL does not matter quite as much when your Total C is 150 as it would if your Total C is above 200.

    1. Your LDL is dramatically improved from before you changed to eating whole food, plant based. The magnitude of that drop is very important for lowering your risk of heart disease. Additional lifestyle measures like trying to eliminate all processed oils and lowering fat intake to 10% of total calories have been shown to get the most dietary bang for the buck in LDL lowering. But again, you’ve lowered your LDL to a far safer level. To quantify this, plug in your old numbers then the current ones into the ACC/AHA heart risk calculator to show exactly how much you’ve improved your risk of a heart attack: http://www.cvriskcalculator.com.

  32. Just got my bloodwork readings yesterday. I had started eating the Brazil nuts, starting two months ago. I was just eating one per week and I got result.
    Starting out about four years ago my cholesterol was about 248. After switching to mostly WFPB diet (but still consuming less than 10% animal sources, following Dr. Fuhrman’s Super Immunity) for a year. Initially my total cholesterol dropped to 188, but yesterday’s reading was at 168.7 with only change was adding the Brazil nuts. My triglycerides went from 168 to 75.7, my HDL hovers around 86 to 92, LDL was at 86, VDL went from 33.6 to 15.14. Dr gave me an A+ and wanted to know what had changed. I told him that I had switched to eating less animal products but I totally forgot about the Brazil nuts. I will switch to eating four a month and see if that does any further lowering and then I will tell him.

    1. Wow – an 80 point drop in Total Cholesterol is impressive. Your HDL is very high – I haven’t heard of anyone with the kind of number for the HDL. I you have a high HDL before changing you way of eating? To what do you attribute that good number – any ideas?

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