Growing hair on your body requires a complex process of protein conversion -- and if your body doesn’t have just the right nutrients, you may experience slower-than-usual hair growth. One such important nutrient is selenium, which is present in high amounts in the Brazil nuts. While Brazil nuts may help encourage hair growth, they should be consumed in small amounts to prevent harmful health effects from excess intake. Always talk with your physician before adding Brazil nuts to your dietary intake.
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The chief benefit to eating Brazil nuts for hair growth is that they contain selenium. Although selenium is considered a trace mineral, a deficiency in your diet is associated with poor hair growth. This is because selenium helps your body process proteins responsible for hair growth, according to “Men’s Fitness” magazine. Even if you have enough protein in your diet, a lack of selenium can prevent your hair from growing at its best possible rate. Note that this does not mean Brazil nuts can reverse severe hair loss, such as that of male pattern baldness. They can, however, improve slow hair growth due to poor nutrition.
Brazil nuts contain about 544 micrograms (mcg) of selenium per 1 ounce serving, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Because this is 777 percent of the recommended daily value for selenium, you must take precautions to ensure you do not ingest too-high selenium levels. Because 1 ounce of Brazil nuts is equal to eating between six and eight nuts, you can eat one to two Brazil nuts per day and meet the daily recommended intake of 70 mcg per day for selenium.
Food Sources vs. Supplements
While you could take a selenium supplement to boost your levels in an attempt to encourage hair growth, selenium from food sources is considered more bioavailable than supplements. This means that your body can use more selenium from foods than it can from a supplement. Because you would consume one to two Brazil nuts per day to meet your needed intake, consider eating this amount of Brazil nuts as taking your supplement instead.
To reap the benefits of eating Brazil nuts for hair growth, eat only your recommended daily intake per day. While it can be tempting to eat more in an attempt to boost hair growth, excess intakes can hurt, not help, your body. Consuming more than 400 mcg per day if you are ages 14 and older can cause your blood levels to increase, which results in a medical condition called selenosis, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. This condition can result in hair loss due to selenium toxicity. If you experience hair loss along with symptoms such as having a garlic odor to your breath, irritability and unexplained fatigue, you could have selenosis.