Bioactive Compounds of the Brazil Nut (Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl.): Nutritional and Health Aspects

Living reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


The Bertholletia excelsa Bonpl. seed, Brazil nut, is one of the most important non-timber forest products in the Amazon forest. The commercialization of this nut provides one of the significant sources of income for many indigenous and riverine communities. B. excelsa production is considered organic and environmentally correct. The kernel is an excellent source of protein, energy, and minerals such as selenium (Se), calcium, and magnesium. Selenium is the predominant mineral in B. excelsa, essential in numerous physiological functions. B. excelsa seed has a valuable bioactive composition, including phenolics, flavonoids, tocopherol, and phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, and dietary fiber. Intake of phenolic compounds has been associated with potential beneficial health effects related to anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic activities. Lipids from B. excelsa are considered as beneficial for health due to the high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and low concentration of saturated fatty acids (SFAs).


Amazonian nut Antioxidants Fatty acids Health effects Tocopherols Phytochemicals Selenium 



Gallic acid equivalent


Glutathione peroxidases


Iodothyronine deiodinases


Monounsaturated fatty acids


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Recommended Daily Allowance




Saturated fatty acids


Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity



The authors acknowledge the financial support of MCTI/CNPQ/Universal 14/2014 (Process 445648/2014-7), Universal FAPEMAT N° 005-2015 (Process N°. 222927/2015), and CNPq (Process 426479/2016-5).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and NutritionFederal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT)CuiabáBrazil
  2. 2.Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology Goiano (IF Goiano)Rio VerdeBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Hosakatte Niranjana Murthy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyKarnatak UniversityDharwadIndia
  2. 2.Research Center for the Development of Advanced Horticultural TechnologyChungbuk National UniversityCheongjuRepublic of Korea

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