Bioactives and Health Benefi ts of Brazil Nut
Bioactive plant food constituents (bioactives), including those from nuts in general and Brazil nut in particular, are defi ned as inherent nonnutritive constituents with generally anticipated healthpromoting/benefi cial effects when ingested [4,5]. Plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are common sources for plant bioactives. Thousands of plant bioactives have scientifi cally been identifi ed . The health benefi ts of some plant bioactives are due to their special functions when ingested, such as acting as antioxidants, inhibiting cholesterol absorption, blocking the activity of bacterial or viral toxins, decreasing platelet aggregation, or destroying harmful gastrointestinal bacteria, among others . A wide range of chemical compounds with varying structures are classifi ed as plant bioactives. These include phenolics, carotenoids, phytosterols, phytostanols,
TABLE 9.1 World Production Quantities of Brazil Nut (With Shell, 1000 T)
tocopherols, tocotrienols, and mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA, respectively), among others.