In rare cases, selenium toxicity can be fatal. The concentration of selenium in Brazil nuts varies according to the amount present in the soil, so each nut may contain a different amount. Shall we start with the usual shocking thing? Brazil nuts can kill you. Just one Brazil nut contains twice the recommended daily allowance of selenium that our body requires and an overdose of selenium can have some very unpleasant side effects.
Brazil nuts are also good for you. While enjoying a few Brazil nuts won't kill you, it's best not to overdo it repeatedly. As with any food, be sure to consider portion control and eat a balanced diet every day. These crescent-shaped nuts can taste delicious, but it's essential to practice portion control with them.
Brazil nuts contain selenium, a poison that can be toxic to our body if consumed in large quantities. Other side effects may include hair loss, nail loss, skin rashes, diarrhea, and selenium poisoning. Experts recommend treating yourself to just three Brazil nuts a day to be safe. It is not in the nature of a Brazil nut to be radioactive, since it depends on the amount of radiation that is absorbed through the roots of its mother tree.
So just because something is natural and feels good to eat it doesn't mean it can't kill you or ruin your day. This is not due to pollution or high levels of radio in the soil, but rather to the very elaborate root system of the Brazil chestnut tree. Some daredevils like to eat live octopus whole, and that's when you can see how this food can kill you. Don't worry, compare radiation exposure to flying as shown above (a nut is 60% more than the 2 squares you see for bananas).
I've eaten packets of Brazil nuts all at once without any side effects, in fact, I've never heard of selenium until now, why isn't there any warning on the package if it's so toxic? Brazil nuts grow on trees in many parts of the Amazon, not just Brazil, as the name of this nut suggests. Brown rice certainly has a desirable nutritional profile, but you shouldn't live on it; in fact, the FDA advises us not to consume it more than twice a week, and it also tells us to cook brown rice in six times the normal amount of water to reduce arsenic levels by half. Those tiny cherry seeds have dangerously high hydrogen cyanide content, which can make you seriously ill or even kill you, if you eat a broken seed. However, since 1 nut contains up to 91 mcg of selenium, those circumstances don't seem to change the recommended maximum amount of nuts per day.
Eating large amounts of the nut would provide a radioactive dose comparable to that of an X-ray, experts say. That means that even a single nut can contain up to 91 mcg of selenium, or 165% of the RDA of adults. But can too much of a good thing be bad for you? What happens if you eat a lot more than you should and is it toxic? Here's what you need to know about the safety of selenium in Brazil nuts and whether you should be concerned or not.