Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Walnut Butter with Brazil Nut, Cinnamon and Ginger

(pictured: apple with walnut butter and berries ... dessert last night)

Yesterday was crazy at our house. I was out of the house from 2 pm until almost 9 pm, which didn’t leave much time for cooking or posting. However, I did manage to do a couple of little things, which I am going to post before I work out, run more errands and go to cooking class.

Yesterday morning I decided I was going to play around with my husband’s favorite nut butter recipe. I was trying to make it healthier with the addition of another nut. Brazil nuts are a fantastic source of selenium. Selenium has been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer in animals and is theorized to have the same impact in humans. Geographic studies show that areas with low levels of soil selenium, and low dietary intake of selenium have higher cancer mortality. There certainly seems to be link between cancer and selenium consumption.

Vegan Sources of Selenium given in mcg per 3 ½ ounces (100grams):

Brazil nuts - 2,960
Puffed Wheat – 123
Sunflower seeds – 78
Whole-Wheat Flour – 71
Garlic - 14

Per the Linus Pauling Institute it is proposed that selenium works to prevent cancer by 1) antioxidant activity 2) improving immune system 3) affecting the metabolism of carcinogens 4) inhibiting tumor cell growth 5) promote apoptosis (cancer cell suicide) 6) influence on DNA repair 7) and as because it is an anti-angiogenic agent. At doses of 200-300mcg per day selenium is thought to have anticarcinogenic effects.

Be careful not to consume too much selenium as it is possible to over do. The tolerable upper limit for selenium is 400mcg per day. Selenium is toxic at 850mcg per day. Symptoms of selenium toxicity include brittle hair and nails, hair loss, skin rashes, bad breath and fatigue. It is estimated that the average American consumes approximately 100mcg for food daily. Adding three Brazil nuts grown in selenium rich soil each day will get you to the tolerable upper limit of 400mcg.

Sorry for the information overload on selenium but since it does have an upper limit I thought I should cover the topic more completely. As always please do you our research and check with your health care provider if you have any questions. Here is the recipe I made today.

Walnut Butter with Brazil Nut, Cinnamon and Ginger
Makes approximately 28 tablespoons


2 ½ cups walnuts
½ cup Brazil nuts
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon ginger, powder
½ tablespoon amber agave


Combine everything in your food processor and process until smooth and creamy. I stop the machine a few times and scrape down the sides. Additionally I process the mixture for about 4 minutes in total. It will be a little warm when you are finished. The long processing time seems to make creamier nut butter.

Nutritional Information (per tablespoon):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 85.47
Calories From Fat (83%) - 70.93

Total Fat - 8.48g
Saturated Fat - 1.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 12.57mg
Potassium - 64.05mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.94g
Fiber - 0.99g
Sugar 0.34g
Protein - 1.96g


This walnut butter is the same as the version I posted here in terms of taste and texture. However, it is healthier so I will continue to make this version.

Each tablespoon of this nut butter contains 48mcg of selenium. Since my husband normally eats 4 tablespoons of this at a time that gets him to the 300 mcg per day which is in the anticarcinogenic zone but not over the upper limit.

My husband had this walnut butter last night on an apple and again this morning with a variation of his apple whole-wheat breakfast wrap and as declared this just as good as his favorite walnut butter. He did have to hear all about the tolerable upper limit of selenium and the possibility of toxicity. If I find that he eats more than ¼ cup of this each day I am going to back down on the amount of Brazil nuts in this recipe to keep his level of selenium well within the safe range. Sometimes it seems as though all I do is monitor nutrition but it is better than suffering the consequences.

I will be back in a little while with another recipe from yesterday.


  1. That is a great idea to put brazil nuts in the nut butter, I love it!

  2. Janet,

    Thanks! :) I couldn't believe I just thought of it. However, it worked really well. Hubby thought it tasted exactly the same, which was a good thing.


  3. yum yum! great recipe alicia:) thanks for sharing

  4. Comfrey,

    Thanks! :) My hubby was skeptical since I was changing one of his favorites .... but he has declared it just a good. And I am happy because it gets a little extra selenium in him.



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