Have you heard of the amazing baru nut yet? This incredible nut is actually a legume that grows on a large tree in the Cerrado savannah region of Midwestern Brazil, and parts of eastern Bolivia. A baru nut tree can reach up to 80 feet tall and produce fruit for 60 years, but only in September and October. Each fruit weighs just under an ounce, and only 5% of the fruit is made up of the delicious almond-like seed, called the castanha de baru.
This versatile nut is used locally to make jams, liquors and even sweets when mixed with cane sugar and milk. When roasted, baru nuts can be eaten plain, used in butter spreads and as ingredients in baked goods and cereals.
A Powerhouse of Nutrition
You would be hard pressed to find a more nutritious nut than the baru nut. They are a mega superfood, rich in antioxidants (primarily tocopherols), high in protein, and higher in fiber than any other nut! Not only that, they have beneficial levels of minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. In other words, the tiny baru nut packs a powerful nutritional punch.
Another plus is the taste, which has been described as a lovely mix between cashews, almonds, and peanuts. There is no sacrifice in taste for the powerhouse of nutrition you'll get from these nuts. You’ll love them right away. I did!
Potential Health Benefits of Baru Nuts
The high levels of fiber in the baru nut support appetite control, satiety, promote healthy intestinal flora and improved cardiovascular health. You can eat these nuts either with or without the skin, but I highly recommend eating the skin to reap all of the nutritional benefits of this incredible nut.
Baru nut oil contains a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, with the two main ones being oleic and linoleic acid. Compared to more popular nuts like pecans, almonds and macadamia nuts, they are lower in fat (26% fat vs 78% for almonds). They lead the nut pack in protein and fiber, making them extremely satisfying as a snack or an ingredient in a smoothie for example. I added 2 Tbsp of baru nuts to my protein shake for the first time last weekend and was noticeably satisfied for longer than when I've added cashews or walnuts. It thickened my shake beautifully and gave it a nice creamy texture.
Help Get The Word Out
I had never heard of the baru nut until 3 weeks ago when I found a video of Darien Olein, nutritionist, Shakeology creator and author of Super Life: The 5 Forces that will make you Healthy, Fit and Eternally Awesome, speaking about these incredible nuts he had just been introduced to on his trip to Brazil. By introducing the US to baru nuts, we have an opportunity to help preserve the Brazilian Cerrado Savannah and this incredible plant by increasing the demand for this superfood in America.
When you “vote with your dollars” and purchase baru nuts, you encourage preservation of their threatened habitat and help the people local to the nuts to afford the equipment needed to crack and roast these nuts.
Try This Amazing Food
You’re not likely to find baru nuts at your local health food store or coop just yet, but currently they are available on Amazon, which is where I picked up my first pouch.
The baru nut is one of the most nutritionally complete foods on earth, and as more people around the world try them, there’s a better chance that their native habitat will be preserved, and that people who live in the Brazilian savannah will be able to cultivate them profitably. Try them if you get the opportunity. Only rarely do you find a food so packed with minerals, high quality protein, fiber, and great flavor