Osteoarthritis is a one of the most common type of arthritis affecting about 27 million Americans.
The common symptoms of this disease include sore or stiff joints, painful joints and difficulty in motion.
The main causes for osteoarthritis have been found to be age, obesity, joint injury or genes.
Whatever be the cause of the disease, its onset means regular medication and self-care for its patients throughout their lifetime.
The medications available at present include NSAIDs and DMARDs which help in subsiding the disease symptoms and making the life a bit easier for the patients.
But it does not ensures complete reversal from the diseased condition.
Can naturally available Brazil Nuts be a solution for Osteoarthritis?
Since the presently available medications do not ensure complete cure for the disease condition among patients, some alternate therapies are always sought by the patients.
Nature, as we know, has an answer to all our woes.
Thus in this case as well a number of dietary inclusions have been suggested to the patients that could be of help in relieving the pain and inflammation caused due to the disease.
One such naturally occurring plant which could benefit in osteoarthritis is Brazil nut. As the name suggests Brazil nut is a tree that commonly grows in parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Peru.
It is possible to consume these nuts raw as whole or extract the oil from the nuts and then consume it. The different health benefits of Brazil nuts are:-
- Improve the health of the heart: These nuts have good cholesterol and omega-3 fatty acids which improve the cardiovascular system and prevent heart diseases.
- Good for skin and acne: These nuts have a high content of vitamins, minerals, and zinc which protect the skin against acne and maintain the skin texture.
- Help in weight loss: The fiber content in the Brazil nuts is very high which makes you feel full for a long period of time. This reduces your appetite and causes weight loss. It also aids in digestion.
- Improves immunity: It has abundant nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants which improves the immune system and protects against diseases.
- Helps in tissue growth and repair: Brazil nuts are full of proteins that help in muscle growth, regeneration, repair, and wound healing. They also have vitamin C which has great antioxidative properties.
It is considered to contain significant amount of selenium which can be beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis .
How Brazil Nuts Benefit In Osteoarthritis?
Brazil nuts contain high amount of fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Additionally it carries good amount of selenium.
Selenium is a micronutrient which is needed to control level of free-radicals in the body. As we know in patients with osteoarthritis, free radical production increases thus causing oxidative damage to the joint tissues and cartilage.
Thus selenium and anti-oxidants present in Brazil nuts help to scavenge these free radicals and control their production thereby preventing the body against further oxidation.
Some previous research has also shown links between improved arthritic conditions after selenium supplementation among patients with osteoarthritis. Brazil nuts being a natural source of selenium could thus be even more beneficial owing to reduced ill effects .
Not much scientific studies have been performed to test the effect of Brazil nut consumption on patients with osteoarthritis.
However the positive effect of selenium for the patients with arthritis cannot be denied.
1. Brazil nuts improve the inflammatory parameters
Brazil nuts have a high content of phenols in them, especially in their skin which provides the nuts their anti-inflammatory action. These nuts get their anti-inflammatory action by acting against the biochemical pathways of pro-inflammatory mediators and attenuate their effects on the cells.
Brazil nuts decrease the level and activity of pro-inflammatory mediators such as vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, IL-6, and IL-8 (pro-inflammatory proteins).
A study was published in Nutrition in which the effectiveness of a single dose of Brazil nuts on the inflammatory markers was investigated. At the end of the study period, it was reported that the Brazilian nuts was effective in improving the inflammatory parameters by attenuating the activity and level of pro-inflammatory mediators.
When the blood samples of the patients were tested, it was seen that there was a significant decrease in the level of TNF alpha, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in the serum. These compounds lead to inflammatory action in the cells.
What does this mean?
This study proved that by taking a single dose of Brazilian nuts, you can decrease the activity of pro-inflammatory compounds in the serum and therefore improve the inflammatory parameters.
2. Brazilian nuts have anti-oxidative properties
Brazil nuts have abundant tocopherols and phenolic compounds. Tocopherols are fat-soluble alcohols that have anti-oxidant properties.
Phenols also belong to a class of alcohols and even they have antioxidant properties. Brazil nuts show their anti-oxidative effects by preventing the degradation of lipids and hence preventing damage to the tissues.
Degradation of lipids increases oxidative stress in the cells which leads to damage in the tissues and loss of cartilage. This in turn leads to osteoarthritis. Brazil nuts prevent this lipid degradation and prevent the development of osteoarthritis.
In another study published in Kidney Research and Clinical Practice evaluated the anti-oxidative properties of Brazilian nuts, which are the greatest source of selenium.
At the end of the study period, it was reported that if you take 1 Brazilian nut per day, then it can significantly reduce the oxidative stress in the cells and also act an anti-inflammatory agent.
What does this mean?
This means that taking Brazilian nut for this specific condition has a very positive effect on preventing the development of osteoarthritis.
3. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium
Selenium, an element is very good for a healthy body. Brazil nuts are proven to have an extremely high amount of selenium in them (around 68-91 micrograms per nut). This makes them an important source of selenium.
The main storage sites for selenium are the muscles. In arthritis, a deficiency in selenium is mostly observed.
This means that it is important to increase the intake of selenium in arthritis as it is an efficient antioxidant and hence decreases damage to joints and prevents pain and swelling. To maintain the level of selenium in the body, it is necessary to consume Brazil nuts.
What does this mean?
Selenium provided by Brazil nuts can help attenuate symptoms of arthritis.
How to add Brazil nuts in your diet?
Brazil nuts are known for their culinary value and can be consumed, in raw, roasted or fried form. Some of the ways to include Brazil nuts in your diet are mentioned below:
- Brazil nuts can be consumed as a whole as roasted, salted or sweetened form.
- They can be added to fudge, pudding or chocolate bars and can be enjoyed as a crunchy preparation.
- Brazil nuts can be coarsely ground and sprinkled in fruit and vegetable salad to avail its various benefits.
- They can be a good and tasty addition to soups.
- Brazil nut oil could be used during cooking or as a salad dressing.
Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium and thus a daily consumption of a handful of Brazil nuts could be of benefit for the patients.
A daily dietary requirement of selenium by an adult body is 55 microgram per day.
However it is important to note that excessive intake of Brazil nuts might pose a threat of causing selenium poisoning.
Thus do not overdo the consumption of these nuts and consume them within the safe limits. In case of any doubt, it is good to discuss with your health care provider.
Being a natural food item, Brazil nuts are safe for consumption and are not known to have any adverse effects. However certain precautions still need to be mentioned. These are as follows:
- Brazil nuts are a common allergens so do check if your body if allergic to them before consuming them as a health remedy for arthritis. You do not wish to elevate your troubles!
- Over consumption of Brazil nuts may cause selenium poisoning. So avoid taking a lot of Brazil nuts.
- When consumed in high quantities, it might cause liver, kidney or heart troubles. Fever and nausea are also common.
- It might interact with certain medication like antacids, corticosteroids, statins and birth-control pills owing to its high selenium content. Thus do consult your doctor before taking Brazil nuts if you are under any such medications.
Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints that causes joint pain and inflammation. There are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes that could benefit the patients.
One such dietary supplement that could potentially be of some help is Brazil nuts.
Brazil nuts are a natural source of selenium. Selenium deficiency has been attributed to be a cause for Kashin beck disease, a chronic joint disorder.
Also research has proved that high selenium content reduced the risk of osteoarthritis and also the severity of arthritic conditions.
Thus supplementing the body with a natural source of selenium, i.e. Brazil nuts, could help relieve disease symptoms successfully. Try to believe it for sure!