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Is this chest pain from GERD or a heart attack?

Chest pain can be a sign that a person is having a heart attack. However, chest pain is also a common symptom of other, less serious conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Doctors refer to pain from heart attacks and other conditions that affect the cardiovascular system as cardiac chest pain. Pain that does not come from the cardiovascular system is called noncardiac chest pain.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause heartburn, which is a common type of noncardiac chest pain.

While heart attacks are a life-threatening medical emergency, heartburn is not. Therefore, being able to recognize the difference between cardiac and noncardiac chest pain is essential.

In this article, we discuss the symptoms of GERD and heart attacks along with the differences between cardiac and noncardiac chest pain. We also cover other causes of both types of chest pain.

Is it GERD? Person holding hands over chest in pain because of gerd or heart attack
Many conditions can cause chest pain, including acid reflux.

Acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach leaks up into the food pipe, or esophagus. One of the most common symptoms of acid reflux is heartburn, which is a painful burning sensation in the center of the chest just behind the breastbone, or sternum.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a person who experiences acid reflux more than twice a week for a few weeks may have GERD. Close to 20 percent of people in the United States have GERD.

Other symptoms of acid reflux and GERD can include:

People with persistent symptoms of acid reflux or GERD should see a doctor.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Is it a heart attack? Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart muscles becomes completely blocked. If a person does not receive immediate treatment, part of the heart muscle can die. A common symptom of a heart attack is pain or discomfort that typically occurs in the center or left side of the chest. This pain may come and go, and its severity can range from mild to severe. It can also sometimes feel like heartburn or indigestion. However, not everyone who has a heart attack experiences chest pain. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary considerably from person to person, and they may come on slowly or very suddenly. Other symptoms of a heart attack might include: intense pressure or tightness in the center of the chest a feeling of heaviness or weakness in one or both arms pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in the arms, neck, jaw, lips, or stomach difficulty breathing or shortness of breath nausea and vomiting dizziness or lightheadedness fatigue breaking out in a cold sweat Anyone who suspects that they or someone else is having a heart attack should immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room. Cardiac vs. noncardiac chest pain A person experiencing recurring or severe chest pain should speak to a doctor.
A person experiencing recurring or severe chest pain should speak to a doctor. When trying to distinguish between cardiac and noncardiac chest pain, a person needs to consider the following three factors: the location of the pain how the pain feels the accompanying symptoms We discuss each of these in more detail below: Location of chest pain Both cardiac and noncardiac chest pain can occur in the center of the chest behind the breastbone. However, cardiac chest pain can spread across the chest and even affect other parts of the body, such as the: arms back shoulders neck or throat jaw teeth Noncardiac chest pain, such as heartburn, tends to remain localized, meaning that it does not spread to other areas. Heartburn typically develops behind or underneath the breastbone. How the pain feels Some of the words that people use to describe cardiac chest pain are: pressure squeezing heaviness fullness tightening aching burning In contrast, noncardiac chest pain tends to feel like an intense stabbing or burning sensation just beneath the surface of the skin. Coughing, breathing, or moving can affect the intensity of noncardiac chest pain, while the severity of cardiac chest pain usually remains stable, even when resting. Accompanying symptoms The symptoms accompanying chest pain can be an important indication of whether it is cardiac or noncardiac. The symptoms that can occur along with cardiac chest pain may include: shortness of breath irregular heartbeat dizziness or lightheadedness numbness pain or discomfort in other parts of the body, such as the arms, neck, jaw, shoulders, and back Symptoms that indicate that the chest pain is from heartburn or GERD can include: Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Other causes of cardiac chest pain Causes of cardiac chest pain can include: Angina Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease, occurs when fatty deposits build up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Over time, these deposits can restrict blood flow, which can cause a type of chest pain called angina. CAD can also lead to heart attacks and heart failure. People often describe angina as a feeling of pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness behind the breastbone. This pain can spread to other parts of the body, including the arms, jaw, neck, and shoulders. Angina often occurs during physical activity, and stress can also bring it on. If the pain continues after rest, this can be a sign of a heart attack. People who are unsure whether they are experiencing angina or a heart attack should call 911 immediately or go to the emergency room. Myocarditis Myocarditis is a rare form of cardiovascular disease that causes inflammation of the heart muscle. This inflammation can lead to chest pain, heart failure, or sudden death. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, myocarditis commonly develops without an identifiable cause. However, doctors often diagnose people with myocarditis following a viral or bacterial infection. Myocarditis produces symptoms similar to those of other heart conditions, such as chest tightness and fatigue. Leaning forward can help relieve chest pain resulting from myocarditis. Other symptoms of myocarditis include: slow heart rate irregular heartbeat dizziness or lightheadedness loss of consciousness Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a thickening of the muscle wall in the heart. People can inherit genes from their parents that increase their risk of developing HCM. However, HCM can also occur as a result of high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid disease. The symptoms of HCM include: chest pain that often results from exercise shortness of breath fainting fluttering heartbeat or heart palpitations Pulmonary hypertension Pulmonary hypertension refers to high blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs. Common symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain, which may occur or worsen with physical activity. Over time, symptoms may become more frequent as the disease progresses. People with pulmonary hypertension may also experience: fatigue and weakness fainting, lightheadedness, or dizziness irregular heartbeat a dry cough that may bring up blood swelling of the legs or feet that results from fluid buildup Other causes of noncardiac chest pain Causes of noncardiac chest pain can include: Pneumonia Pneumonia can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
Pneumonia can cause shortness of breath and chest pain. Pneumonia is a chest infection that causes the tiny air sacs inside the lungs to become inflamed and fill with fluid. A common symptom of pneumonia is chest pain that typically worsens when a person inhales deeply or coughs. The chest pain can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms of pneumonia can include: Peptic ulcer A peptic ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. Bacterial infections and long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to peptic ulcers. Peptic ulcers can cause a painful burning sensation that starts in the abdomen and extends to the chest. This pain can come and go and may get better when a person eats or takes an antacid. Other symptoms of peptic ulcers can include: bloating belching nausea and vomiting dark stools unexplained weight loss loss of appetite lightheadedness However, not everyone with peptic ulcers experiences symptoms. Costochondritis Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage around the breastbone. This inflammation can cause tenderness and sharp chest pain that may feel similar to the pain of a heart attack. The pain from costochondritis usually affects the left side of the chest, but it can sometimes affect both sides. Deep breathing, coughing, and physical activity may make the pain worse. Possible causes of costochondritis include severe coughing, chest injuries, infections, and overexertion. Esophageal spasms Involuntary spasms or contractions of the food pipe can cause intense chest pain. These spasms can come on suddenly and sometimes last for several hours. Other symptoms of esophageal spasms may include: intense pain or tightness in the chest feeling as though something has become stuck in the throat stomach contents coming up the food pipe difficulty swallowing It is not always clear why esophageal spasms occur, but risk factors include GERD, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Panic attack A panic attack refers to a sudden attack of intense anxiety and fear. These attacks can last for between a few minutes and several hours, and a person may feel as though they are having a heart attack. Symptoms of a panic attack can include: chest pain pounding, rapid, or irregular heartbeat trembling or shaking shortness of breath a sensation of choking or suffocating nausea dizziness or lightheadedness numbness sweating feelings of doom, loss of control, or unreality A person may have a panic attack in response to a stressful event, but an attack can also occur unexpectedly. Recurrent panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorder. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Summary Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD that causes a painful burning sensation in the center of the chest. This sensation can sometimes feel similar to the chest pain that people experience during a heart attack or attacks of angina. A heart attack is a medical emergency, so being able to tell the difference between heartburn and cardiac chest pain is crucial. If chest pain spreads to other areas of the body, such as the arms or jaw, or occurs alongside symptoms such as shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in the chest, it might be a sign of a heart attack. If chest pain lasts for more than a few minutes, call 911 immediately. A person who suspects that they or someone else is having a heart attack should immediately call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. It is also advisable to see a doctor about any unexplained chest pain, even if it goes away on its own.
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Plant-based diet cuts heart failure risk by over 40 percent

New research finds that sticking to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish can slash heart failure risk by 41 percent. By contrast, a diet rich in fats, fried foods, processed meat, and sugary drinks can raise the risk of this condition.
male hands eating tomato salad
Adding more vegetables to our plate could keep heart failure at bay.

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot supply enough blood and oxygen to the main organs in the body.

The condition affects about 5.7 million people in the United States and approximately 26 million people worldwide.

Some experts predict that heart failure will become more and more prevalent worldwide, which has led them to refer to it as a "global pandemic."

However, emerging evidence suggests that a diet consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables can prevent cardiovascular disease. Now, a new study strengthens this idea.

Dr. Kyla Lara, a cardiology fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and her colleagues, have examined the associations between five major dietary patterns and the risk of heart failure among people without any known history of heart disease.

Dr. Lara and her team published the results of their study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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The effect of diets on heart failure

The researchers examined data available from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Namely, they looked at the dietary patterns among 16,068 black and white people who were 45 years old, on average.

The participants answered a 150-item survey, which included 107 food items. The researchers grouped the foods into five dietary patterns:

"convenience" diets, which consisted of meat-heavy dishes, pasta, pizza, and fast food "plant-based" diets, consisting mainly of vegetables, fruit, beans, and fish "Southern" diets, which comprised a significant amount of fried foods, processed meat, eggs, added fats, and sugary drinks "alcohol/salads" diets, which included lots of wine, liquor, beer, leafy greens, and salad dressing.

Dr. Lara and team followed the participants for 8.7 years on average, during which time, 363 people spent time in the hospital for heart failure for the first time.

Of these, 133 people had heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, and 157 had heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. The former refers to a form of heart failure in which the ejection fraction — a measure of how well the heart is pumping blood — is "normal," or "preserved."

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Plant-based diets slash heart failure risk

Overall, the researchers found that adhering to the Southern diet increased the risk of hospitalization due to heart failure by 72 percent.

But when the researchers adjusted for body mass index (BMI), "waist circumference, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, and chronic kidney disease," this association became no longer statistically significant.

This could mean that the Southern diet raises heart failure risk by increasing obesity and abdominal fat, explain the researchers.

Importantly, the researchers found that the risk of heart failure hospitalizations was 41 percent lower among people who adhered to the plant-based diet.

Finally, the researchers found no statistically significant associations among heart failure risk and the other three dietary patterns.

"Adherence to a plant-based dietary pattern was inversely associated with incident [heart failure] risk, whereas the Southern dietary pattern was positively associated with incident [heart failure] risk," conclude the researchers, who also outline some strengths and limitations to their study.

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The researchers say that the socio-economically and demographically diverse study sample made the associations stronger. However, the study participants may have wrongly estimated their dietary intakes, which may have biased the results.

Also, the researchers examined the participants' diets only at the beginning of the study, and these dietary habits may have changed throughout the study period.

In a linked editorial, Dr. Dong Wang, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, comments on the significance of the findings, "This study represents an important step forward in establishing a robust evidence base for the dietary prevention of heart failure."

"The need for population-based preventive strategies for heart failure is critical [...] These findings support a population-based dietary strategy for lowering the risk of incident heart failure."

Dr. Kyla Lara

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Replacing red meat with plant protein reduces heart disease risk

A meta-analysis of trials comparing the health effects of red meat consumption with those of other diets found that substituting healthful plant protein for red meat helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Spelt, broccoli, savoy cabbage with chargrilled tofu with sriracha as plant protein
Eating plant proteins, such as tofu, may benefit cardiovascular health.

Many studies throughout the years have linked the consumption of red meat to cardiovascular disease and cancer, but the results have been inconsistent.

A 2015 study comparing the effects of plant protein and animal protein on the risk of cardiovascular disease found that the evidence was inconclusive.

Recent studies further investigated the link between red meat consumption and heart disease and found that red meat does not significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when a person sticks to the recommended intake. Most of these studies focused on the potential harms of red meat, but they did not include an analysis of other specific diets.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, conducted the first meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials analyzing the effects of red meat by replacing it with other types of food. The results feature in the journal Circulation.

Red meat consumption in the United States

This new approach allowed researchers to examine a different side of the issue. Red meat consumption remains a very controversial topic, especially in the U.S., where the consumption of red meat per capita was more than 200 pounds in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Although red meat consumption in the U.S. is still high, chicken production and consumption have been increasing. The U.S. per capita beef consumption is down from its peak, but it is still remarkable — it is four times as high as the global average, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

A recent survey showed that many people in the U.S. might be open to reducing their meat consumption in the future because they are becoming more aware of the associations that red meat has with nutritional and environmental health harms. The researchers suggested that education campaigns are necessary to accelerate the shift to a more sustainable diet.

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Asking 'Is red meat good or bad?' is useless

In this latest study, the researchers analyzed data from 36 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 1,803 participants. The team looked at blood pressure and blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins in people who ate diets with red meat. They then compared these values with those of people who ate more of other foods, such as chicken, fish, carbohydrates, legumes, soy, or nuts.

"Previous findings from randomized controlled trials evaluating the effects of red meat on cardiovascular disease risk factors have been inconsistent," says Marta Guasch-Ferré, lead author of the study and research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

"But, our new study, which makes specific comparisons between diets high in red meat versus diets high in other types of foods, shows that substituting red meat with high-quality protein sources lead to more favorable changes in cardiovascular risk factors."

The findings showed that there were no significant differences in total cholesterol, lipoproteins, or blood pressure between those who ate red meat and those who ate more of other types of food. However, diets high in red meat did cause an increase in triglyceride concentrations. Conversely, diets rich in high-quality plant protein lowered the levels of bad cholesterol.

"Asking 'Is red meat good or bad?' is useless," says Meir Stampfer, senior author of the study and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan. "It has to be 'Compared to what?'"

"If you replace burgers with cookies or fries, you don't get healthier. But, if you replace red meat with healthy plant protein sources, like nuts and beans, you get a health benefit."

Prof. Meir Stampfer

The authors recommend that people follow healthful vegetarian and Mediterranean-style diets that provide plenty of high-quality plant protein because they offer excellent health benefits and promote environmental sustainability.

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What are the nutritional benefits of peanuts?

Peanuts have a strong nutritional profile. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and many key vitamins and minerals.

Peanuts come in many forms, including roasted, salted, chocolate-coated, and as peanut butter. Different types have different nutritional profiles and various health benefits.

Along with their healthful nutritional profile, peanuts are a calorie-rich food, so they are most healthful when enjoyed in moderation.

In this article, we provide the nutritional profile of peanuts, their health benefits, and how different types compare.

Nutritional breakdown Peanuts in a bowl on wooden table top down view.
Peanuts are most healthful when they are in their raw form.

Peanuts are an especially good source of healthful fats, protein, and fiber. They also contain plenty of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and B vitamins. Despite being high in calories, peanuts are nutrient-rich and low in carbohydrates.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams of raw peanuts contain 567 calories and the following nutrients in grams (g), milligrams (mg), or micrograms (mcg):

macronutrients protein
carbohydrate
fiber
sugars
25.8 g
16.13 g
8.5 g
4.72 g
fats monounsaturated fats
polyunsaturated fats
saturated fats
24.43 g
15.56 g
6.28 g
minerals potassium
phosphorous
magnesium
calcium
sodium
iron
zinc
705 mg
376 mg
168 mg
92 mg
18 mg
4.58 mg
3.27 mg
vitamins vitamin B-3 (niacin)
vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
riboflavin (vitamin B-2)
folate (vitamin B-9)
12.07 mg
8.33 mg
0.64 mg
0.35 mg
0.14 mg
240 mcg

The mixture of healthful fats, protein, and fiber in peanuts means they provide nutritional benefits and make a person feel fuller for longer. This makes peanuts a healthful, go-to snack when people compare them with chips, crackers, and other simple carbohydrate foods.

Below, we discuss the benefits of key nutrients in peanuts.

1. Protein Peanuts are an excellent source of plant-based protein, offering 25.8 g per 100 g of peanuts, or around half of a person's daily protein needs. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein in adults is: 46 g for women 56 g for men Protein is essential for building and repairing body cells. The amount of protein a person needs varies, depending on their age and activity level. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today 2. Healthful fats Peanut butter on toast with fruit for breakfast
Peanuts contain healthful fats that are an essential part of a nutritious diet. Fatty acids are an essential part of every diet. Most of the fats in peanuts are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are a healthful type of fat. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), consuming monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats can improve a person's blood cholesterol levels. This, in turn, lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. There is also a small amount of saturated fat in peanuts. Saturated fat is less healthful than unsaturated or polyunsaturated. Doctors link too much saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. As a consequence, it is best to eat peanuts in moderation to get their optimal health benefits. 3. Dietary fiber Peanuts are a good source of dietary fiber. They contain 8.5 g per 100 g, which around one-quarter of a male's recommended fiber intake or one-third for females. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get the following amounts of fiber per day: 34 g for men 28 g for women Fiber is a heart-healthful nutrient. The AHA report that eating fiber-rich foods improves blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Which types of peanuts are most healthful? Raw peanuts are the most healthful variety. Peanut butter is a great choice, offering a healthy nutritional profile and a range of health benefits. Learn about the health benefits of peanut butter. People can also buy roasted, salted peanuts. Eating these types is okay in moderation, though consuming too much sodium is linked with high blood pressure and heart disease. The AHA recommend an ideal limit of 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and no more than 2,300 mg of sodium — equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt — especially for people with high blood pressure. Where possible, choose raw peanuts with the skin attached. Peanut skins contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body's cells from damage from free radicals. Producers usually remove the skins from most roasted or salted peanut. People can enjoy peanuts and peanut butter in moderation as a snack throughout the day. In main meals, peanuts make a great addition to salads or Thai dishes. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Health benefits of peanuts Woman at desk at work snacking and eating on peanut
Eating peanuts may help with managing blood sugar levels. Eating peanuts has three main health benefits: supporting heart health maintaining a healthy weight managing blood sugar The following sections discuss these benefits and the science behind them. 1. Supporting heart health Peanuts contain more healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats than they do saturated fats. This fat ratio makes peanuts better for the heart than fat sources with a higher proportion of saturated fats. A 2014 study found that eating 46 g of peanuts or peanut butter each day may improve heart health for people with diabetes. 2. Maintaining a healthy weight Because peanuts are full of healthful fats, protein, and fiber, they make a satisfying snack. Eating them in moderation may help a person maintain a healthy weight. Research found that women who ate nuts, including peanuts, twice a week had a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity over 8 years than those who rarely ate nuts. A large-scale study found that eating peanuts and other nuts may reduce a person's risk of obesity over 5 years. 3. Managing blood sugar levels Peanuts are an excellent food for people with diabetes or a risk of diabetes. Peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they do not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels. Nutritionists see foods with a GI of 55 or lower as low-GI foods, and those with a GI of more than 70 are high-GI foods. Peanuts have a GI score of 23, making them a low-GI food. Learn more about the GI scale here. Peanuts help control blood sugar levels because they are relatively low in carbohydrates but high in protein, fat, and fiber. Fiber slows down the digestive processes, allowing a steadier release of energy, and protein takes longer to break down than simple carbohydrates. Research suggests that eating peanut butter or peanuts may help women with obesity and a higher type 2 diabetes risk to manage their blood sugar levels. Risks and considerations Peanuts contain proteins called arachin and conarachin. Some people are severely allergic to these proteins. For these people, peanuts can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. Because peanuts are high in calories, it is sensible to eat them in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Consuming too many calories may lead to weight gain. This is true regardless of whether the foods those calories come from are nutritious or not. Roasted, salted peanuts may be less healthful than raw peanuts due to their high sodium content. That said, if people consume them in moderation, they can enjoy them as a part of a healthful, balanced diet. Summary Peanuts are a nutrient-rich source of protein, dietary fiber, and healthful fats. Eating them in moderation, as part of a balanced diet, may: support heart health help a person maintain a healthy weight help a person manage their blood sugar levels Peanuts are a good option for people with diabetes for these reasons. They are also a good snack option for those looking to reduce carbohydrates and increase healthful fat intake. For their optimal health benefits, choose raw peanuts with the skin on. Raw peanuts with their skin on are high in cell-defending antioxidants. Roasted, salted peanuts are high in sodium, which health professionals link to heart disease. That said, eating roasted, salted peanuts as part of a balanced diet is okay. As with most foods, the key to enjoying peanuts is eating them in moderation as part of a healthful, calorie-controlled diet.
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What are the benefits of eating Brazil nuts?

Brazil nuts come from the South American Bertholletia excelsa, or Brazil nut, tree. They are a good source of healthful fats, protein, fiber, and selenium.

Despite its name, the Brazil nut is technically a seed rather than a nut. By definition, nuts are hard-shelled fruits that contain a single, large seed. Walnuts and pistachios are good examples.

Brazil nuts may offer surprising and powerful nutritional benefits, including boosting heart health, providing antioxidants, and improving brain function.

In this article, we discuss the health benefits of Brazil nuts, their risks, and how to add them to the diet.

1. Nutrition Brazil nuts in a bowl
Brazil nuts are a healthful source of essential nutrients.

Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary sources of selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties. Selenium plays an important role in reproduction, metabolism, and immune health.

A single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, meaning that just one nut per day can provide the daily recommended adult allowance of 55 mcg.

In addition to selenium, Brazil nuts contain plenty of protein, essential minerals, and healthful fats.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a serving of three Brazil nuts contains the following nutrients:

99 calories 2.15 grams (g) of protein 10.06 g of fat 1.76 g of carbohydrate 1.10 g of fiber 109 milligrams (mg) of phosphorus 99 mg of potassium 56 mg of magnesium 24 mg of calcium 0.61 mg of zinc 0.36 g of iron 0 mg of sodium

Given their impressive nutritional profile, it is no surprise that Brazil nuts have become so popular.

2. Heart health Brazil nuts contain healthful fats called polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), consuming monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats helps improve cholesterol levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Brazil nuts also provide dietary fiber. The AHA report that eating fiber-rich foods improves blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The findings of a 2019 study showed that higher consumption of tree nuts decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack among people living with diabetes. 3. Thyroid health Selenium deficiency can cause hormonal imbalances that can negatively affect sleep, mood, concentration, and metabolism. Selenium plays an essential role in hormone production. The thyroid gland uses selenium to convert thyroxine hormone (T4) into its active form, triiodothyronine hormone (T3). Obtaining enough selenium from dietary sources may prevent or help regulate thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today 4. Antioxidant effects Brazil nut pod containing shelled brazil nuts
Eating brazil nuts may help prevent oxidative stress. The selenium in Brazil nuts may boost the body's antioxidant system and prevent oxidative stress. The liver breaks selenium down into a type of protein called selenoprotein P, which effectively removes excess free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, and research has linked them to many chronic health conditions, including cancer. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the antioxidant effects of Brazil nut consumption. During the study, 91 people with hypertension and high blood-lipid concentrations received either 13 g of granulated, partially defatted Brazil nuts or a placebo every day for 12 weeks. The participants in the Brazil nut group had higher selenium levels and increased activity of an antioxidant enzyme called GPx3. They also had lower levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which people sometimes refer to as "bad cholesterol." 5. Anti-inflammatory effects The antioxidant properties of Brazil nuts may help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has an association with many chronic health conditions. A small-scale 2014 study looked at the health effects of eating one Brazil nut per day in people with chronic kidney disease. After 3 months, the researchers noticed a reduction in inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. 6. Lowering blood sugar Foods rich in selenium may help improve people's blood sugar levels. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that eating one Brazil nut per day for 8 weeks lowered total cholesterol and fasting glucose levels in healthy adults. The findings of another 8-week-long study showed that taking a 200-mcg selenium supplement reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. The researchers also reported increased antioxidant capacity in the body. 7. Improving brain functioning Antioxidants help keep the brain healthy. Brazil nuts have powerful antioxidant effects, which may boost brain functioning. Scientists have linked decreases in antioxidant function to cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease. The findings of a 2014 study suggested that people with Alzheimer's disease have lower selenium levels than those without the condition. A small-scale trial reported that eating one Brazil nut per day for 6 months had positive effects on some cognitive functions among older adults with minor cognitive impairment (MCI) compared with those in a control group. This result may be due to the nuts reversing selenium deficiency. However, a recent study found no association between selenium levels and cognitive ability. More research is necessary to uncover how selenium affects cognition and to determine whether or not it could prevent or treat neurogenerative diseases. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today How to eat Brazil nuts Brazil nut on wooden table in process of being unshelled
Brazil nuts are a convenient snack. People can eat whole Brazil nuts as a snack or add them to other foods. Brazil nuts are fine to eat raw or roasted. To cook Brazil nuts on the stovetop: Place a layer of Brazil nuts in a skillet over medium heat. Stir the nuts every minute or so to avoid burning them. Continue cooking for about 5 to 10 minutes until the nuts become aromatic. To roast Brazil nuts in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the nuts on a layer of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and stir the nuts. Return the baking sheet to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and season them with salt, herbs, or spices. Allow the nuts to cool completely before eating them. People can try adding Brazil nuts to pad Thai dishes, trail mixes, or pesto. Alternatively, they can use chopped Brazil nuts as a nutritious topping for oatmeal, salads, or even brownies. Brazil nuts are available in most supermarkets, or people can choose between brands online. Can you eat too many Brazil nuts? When it comes to Brazil nuts, more is not necessarily better. People should limit their intake of Brazil nuts to a few per day to avoid negative side effects. Brazil nuts are high in calories, and eating too many can cause selenium toxicity. Like most nuts, Brazil nuts are very calorie-dense. People who eat too many Brazil nuts run the risk of exceeding their daily recommended calorie intake. Consuming too many calories can cause unwanted weight gain. As a member of the tree nut family, Brazil nuts may cause allergic reactions in some people. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, an estimated 25 to 40 percent of people who have a peanut allergy react to at least one type of tree nut. Selenium toxicity Many of the health benefits of Brazil nuts come from their high selenium content. Although beneficial in small quantities, Brazil nuts could cause selenium toxicity if a person regularly eats them in large numbers. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selenium toxicity can cause a variety of symptoms, such as: dizziness gastrointestinal problems hair loss brittle nails skin rashes or lesions nervous system problems fatigue irritability muscle tenderness or soreness joint pain It can sometimes also cause severe symptoms, which may include: acute respiratory distress syndrome heart attack kidney failure heart failure In rare cases, selenium toxicity can be fatal. The selenium concentration in Brazil nuts varies depending on the amount present in the soil so each nut may contain a different amount. Summary Brazil nuts may provide some impressive health benefits, but it is best to eat them in moderation. According to the findings of scientific studies, certain compounds in Brazil nuts may benefit health in a range of ways, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, regulating blood sugar levels, and boosting the body's antioxidant system. Brazil nuts are among the best sources of natural selenium, an essential mineral known for its antioxidant properties. Although selenium can promote health, too much can result in selenium toxicity. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link(s) above.
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