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Nuts About Brazil Nuts: 10 Benefits For Your Skin and Hair

Brazil-nut-oil-health-benefits

Like many other consumers out there, I am a massive fan of using naturally derived oils in my skincare. Carrier oils, such as brazil nut oil, offer deep nourishment giving the skin an extra boost. Not only are the naturally derived carrier oils moisturising, but they also contain essential fatty acids and other bio-active compounds that the skin can metabolise. So what makes brazil nut oil unique?

Abundant in unsaturated fatty acids, selenium and vitamin E, brazil nut oil is a light emollient with a profound moisturising effect. Highly remedial, it soothes, hydrates and restores the skin, leaving it rejuvenated. It is a perfect choice for dry, itchy skin but also helps treat acne and eczema. 

Keep reading to learn more about brazil nut habitat, health and skin benefits and how you can incorporate this exceptional oil into your everyday life.

About Brazil Nut Tree (Bertholletia Excelsa)

 Brazil nut tree is one of the largest and longest-living trees native to the Amazon rainforest. Scientifically known as Bertholletia excelsa, this magnificent giant grows up to 40 metres or more and living up to 1,000 years. A mature tree can produce on average 1,000 nuts per year.

The outer pod is round, dark brown with hard bark, weighing up to 2.3 kg and holding ten to twenty-five seeds. Natives gather the pods from the forest floor, take out the seeds, dry them in the sun, and then wash and export while still in their shells. 

Sensitive to deforestation, the brazil nut tree does best in the undisturbed parts of the Amazon rainforest, especially in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. As the tree depends on the rainforest flora and fauna for its survival, protecting the rainforest ecosystem is vital to preserving it.

Traditional use: The Bertholletia excelsa, brazil nut tree, offers various benefits:

Brazil nuts are delicious, creamy, crunchy nuts packed with vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fats. Rich in zinc, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B1, Vitamins B6, calcium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus – brazil nuts are energy-dense, wholesome, and abundant dietary source of selenium. They offer versatile uses. You could turn them into tasty milk, spread, or ground flour. They taste great in cakes, ice creams, and treats. 

The fruit’s shell is used as a mortar and pestle or to craft toys. 

Brazil nut oil: Abundant in unsaturated fatty acid and minerals, brazil nut oil remains a versatile ingredient in manufacturing various beauty and skincare products with revitalising effect on dry skin and hair.

The tree’s bark is used in treating diarrhoea.

Interesting fact, “One gram of charcoal made from a large Brazil nut fruit can can absorb impurities from a water surface of 250 m2“.

What Is Brazil Nut Oil? 

Brazil nut oil is a nourishing, lightweight emollient with a mild nutty aroma. Abundant in unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and β tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), brazil nut oil softens and hydrates the skin. It is also beneficial in treating acne, eczema and relieving itchy, dry, and ageing skin.  

QUICK FACTS

INCI: Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil
Common names: Brazil Nut Oil
Common extraction method: Traditionally, the oil is extracted from the nuts of Bertholletia excelsa using the cold-pressed method.
Appearance: Pale yellow to golden colour.
Fragrance: Mild, nutty aroma.
Absorption rate: Light and rich in oleic and linoleic fatty acids, brazil nut oil is dry and absorb easily without leaving behind any oily feeling.
Recommended usage: You can use up to 100%.
Substitute: You could try acai berry oil.
Suppliers: Rainforest Chica. Her oils are of very high quality.
Storage: Store in a cool, dark, dry container, away from the sunlight.

Fatty acids Composition: Some of the notable compounds found in the oil include:

  • Oleic fatty acid (Omega 9)and linoleic fatty acid (Omega 6) are the primary fatty acids found in brazil nut oil. Known for their anti-inflammatory, regenerating and moisturising effect, cold-pressed oils rich in Omega 9 and Omega6 are especially suitable for dry, ageing skin. 
  • Brazil nut oil also contains a fair amount of palmitic and stearic fatty acid. Preventing transepidermal water loss and providing long-lasting hydration, brazil nut oil nourishes and revitalises the skin.

Mineral composition: Brazil nut oil is rich in selenium and contains a fair amount of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium. When it comes to skincare, we all heard about the importance of calcium in our diet. However, did you know that calcium is also vital for our skin?  

  • Calcium helps produce sebum, a natural emollient that keeps the skin protected, moisturised, and lubricated. 
  • Selenium is one of the predominant substances in Brazil nut oil. It can act as a powerful antioxidant and enhance vitamins A and E’s nutritional and protective actions. 
  • Magnesium, just like calcium, is essential for healthy-looking skin. Magnesium deficiency affects fatty acid levels in the skin, which lowers its elasticity and moisture—leading to dry, wrinkled skin.  
  • Potassium, along with sodium, aids water regulation in your body’s cells. Lack of potassium can lead to dry skin. 

10 Benefits Of Brazil Nut Oil For Your Skin And Hair

Okay, by now, you know a bit about the oil’s fatty acid and mineral makeup. You know it is a nourishing lightweight emollient. You also know its unique composition makes it ideal for dry and ageing skin. Let’s look at how brazil oil unique structure benefits your skin and hair.

  1. It is moisturising – Abundant in linoleic fatty acid (Omega 3) and antioxidants; brazil nut oil protects and nourishes the skin by locking in the water content and reducing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). Choosing the right moisturising products is essential in your quest for smooth, radiant skin.  
  2. Lightweight – Brazil nut oil is a lightweight emollient that absorbs quickly. Unlike moisturisers, natural oils replenish sebum (the body’s natural emollient found within our skin), offering deep nourishment and brightening up the skin. 
  3. Softens and smooth the skin – The unique composition of fatty acids found in the brazil nut oil allows the oil to penetrate the epidermis, helping the skin function well, improving its appearance leaving it soft and smooth. 
  4. Prevents premature ageing – The high content of fatty acids, antioxidants make Brazil nut oil a natural and sensible choice for mature skin. Rich in essential fatty acids, selenium and vitamin E, brazil nut oil can protect your skin from oxidative – stress-reducing the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes and stretch marks. 
  5. Improves eczema – People with atopic eczema often have dehydrated skin that is unable to retain sufficient moisture. If you have dry skin, you are more likely to react to irritants such as soap, detergents, dust and other triggers, causing the skin to become itchy and sore. Applying brazil nut oil on the skin can soothe the skin by trapping the moisture and preventing further flare-ups and inflammation – easing pain and relieving itching. 
  6. Helps with acne breakout – Although acne isn’t a life-threatening condition, it certainly can cause anxiety, particularly in us women. Well, the good news is, brazil nuts are rich in selenium, vitamin A and E, which are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant function. Applying brazil nut oil may reduce your skin’s inflammation, aid healing, and restore its appearance.
  7. Improves the skin’s appearance – Combination of fatty acids found in the oil have a rejuvenating effect on the skin. As the skin absorbs the oil, it soothes, hydrates and restores the skin’s overall tone.  
  8. Reduces hyperpigmentation – If you suffered from acne, eczema or lupus, there is a good chance that patches of your skin might become darkened than the surrounding area. Although it isn’t harmful, you might like to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation using brazil nut oil. 
  9. Restores dry and damaged hair – Brazil nut oil is an excellent natural hair conditioner that boosts shine, silkiness, and softness. It rejuvenates dry, dull hair and restores split ends. As you apply the oil to your hair, you’ll notice how quickly it absorbs – leaving a silky, shiny finish. Little goes a long way. 
  10. Strengthen the hair root – Linoleic acid found in the oil penetrates the hair root, strengthening each hair follicle. Besides having a nourishing and hydrating effect, brazil nut oil softens the hair, boosts its shine, reduces hair loss, and stimulates growth.

How To Use It

There are many ways you can incorporate brazil nut oil into your skincare. Here are just a few tips:

  • You can add a few drops to your foundation or your moisturiser. It absorbs quickly, leaving your skin velvety soft. 
  • Brazil nut oil works well in lip gel. The oil will keep the lips soft and moisturised throughout the day.
  • A few drops of brazil nut oil in your anti-wrinkle cream can certainly boost its performance.
  • You can also add it to your scrubs to clean the skin and restore its moisture. 
  • During the long winter months, our skin tends to get dry. Use brazil nut oil for a deep moisturising effect.
  • Brazil nut oil is a popular ingredient in shampoos and conditioners. Applying the oil in its natural form will restore dry, brittle hair, bringing hair’s shine. You can use it as a leave-in conditioner or wash it out. It will keep your hair healthy.

How To Choose The Oil

As you can see, brazil nut oil offers many benefits. However, with so many market suppliers out there, how do you choose the right one for you? As with any product out there, you need to do your research. When choosing brazil nut oil, consider the following:

  • Quality: Look for 100% pure, cold-pressed brazil nut oil. Cold-pressed oil retains its bioactive compounds known for their therapeutic actions.
  • Smell: You don’t want the oil to be overpowering, especially if you plan to macerate it, add essential oils or use it in your formulations.   
  • Composition:  Biological composition of oils is affected by many factors—environmental conditions, extraction method, and so on so forth. Look for the Technical data sheet, certificate of analysis and material safety data sheet. These will give you more details about the oil.
  • Your values: Although there are many carrier oils on the market, you might like to consider the overall cost of delivering them to your home. Carbon footprint, sustainability are just a few elements to consider. I love Amazonian oils and butter; however, I am sure I could find a carrier oil in Europe that would work just as well. 
  • Reputable Brand: Always check the reviews. They are invaluable feedback not only for the seller but also for other customers. You might find out how the oil works for them and maybe learn different ways of using it. 
  • Patch test: If your skin is sensitive and you are not sure how you will respond to the oil, apply a few drops on your wrist from inside. Wait for 24 hours – if you don’t experience any adverse effects, you are good to go! 

Brazil Nut Health Benefits

Grown in the Amazon forest, they are enjoyed worldwide as a good source of protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Brazil nuts offer several health benefits.

Promote brain health 

Brazil nuts contain ellagic acid. This polyphenol has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect neurons and offer antidepressant effects on the brain. The studies have indicated that a high level of selenium in the body helps to improve mood. Brazil nuts also contain a rich amount of selenium, a trace mineral that is vital for the body. A study conducted in 2014 linked a low level of selenium with severe neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Decreases inflammation 

Brazil nuts contain several antioxidants, including phenols and vitamin E, protecting cells by fighting the free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Low inflammation also reduces the risk of health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.

Support healthy thyroid function

Selenium plays an essential role in supporting healthy thyroid function. Studies have indicated that consuming Brazil nuts can improve the thyroid hormone level in people with thyroid hormone deficiency.

Lowers the risk of heart diseases

Brazil nuts have proven to be very effective in promoting heart health. The monounsaturated fat found in brazil nuts can help improve cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. A study where a group of obese teenagers consumed 15-25 grams of nuts per day showed improved blood vessel function and reduced LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Improve mood

The low level of selenium has been linked with several mood-related disorders. A study relieved that consumption of 100mcg of selenium per day reduced the symptoms of depression and anxiety in just five weeks. 

Boost immune system

Zinc is vital for the human body. It decreases oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines (molecules that mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation and hematopoiesis). Although zink is essential for our body, consuming more than three brazil nuts per day is not recommended.

Summary

Once deemed irrelevant, naturally derived oils are now a skincare must. But with varying skin types requiring a different mix of ingredients, including brazil nut oil, into your skincare will positively amplify your efforts in reaching radiant skin.

F&Q

What oil is a good substitute for the brazil nut oil?   

Rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins E and selenium, brazil nut oil composition is unique. To choose a suitable substitute for the oil, look at the oils with a similar fatty acid composition. Baobab oil, almond oil and acai oil aren’t a perfect match but can work well as an alternative. 

Is brazil nut oil good for your hair?

Brazil Nut oil is an excellent natural hair conditioner that boosts shine and softness. The oil strengthens hair by entering the hair shaft and preserving moisture. It is particularly suitable for dry, dull hair with damaged ends.

What is brazil nut oil used for?

The many qualities of the Brazil nut have made it a valuable skincare ingredient. Know for its ability to treat dry and battered skin; recover dry, damaged hair; and soothe irritated skin – brazil nut oil is added into creams, facial cleansers, toners, lotions, soaps and shampoos.  

References

  1. Fruit trees and useful plants in Amazonian life
  2. Physical-chemical Properties and Chemical Composition of Brazil Nut Oil, Bertholletia excelsa, from State of Roraima, Brazilian Amazon
  3. Detailed study of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) oil micro-compounds: phospholipids, tocopherols and sterols
  4. Brazil Nut Nutrition Facts
  5. Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases
  6. Selenium status in elderly: Relation to cognitive decline
  7. EFFECT OF SELENIUM SUPPLEMENTATION VIA BRAZIL NUT (BERTHOLLETIA EXCELSA, HBK) ON THYROID HORMONES LEVELS IN HEMODIALYSIS PATIENTS: A PILOT STUDY

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