Q. Earlier this week I ate a large quantity of Brazil nuts (about 20) and suddenly began to feel a constriction in my lungs. My skin then felt very hot, and I saw in the mirror that I had turned a bright shade of red all over.

The symptoms began to recede after about ten minutes, while my husband and I were deciding whether to call a doctor, and disappeared within about 30 minutes. Apart from feeling a bit sick and shaky for a while, I have had no subsequent ill effects. Does this mean I am allergic to Brazil nuts or could I still eat them in moderation?

A. Brazil nut allergy is surprisingly common and can be just as dangerous as peanut allergy. It would be worthwhile to be tested by an allergist to determine if you are indeed allergic to Brazil nuts. If so, you will have to avoid them from here on out. Even if you weren’t allergic to Brazil nuts, eating more than a few on a regular basis could lead to a toxic dose of selenium.

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  1. JFA

    I eat about a cup of mixed nuts every day with about 5-6 brazil nuts – doing this for about 2 yrs. However, I know I need to watch the brazil nuts for selenium overload and I’ve noticed now that after I eat the nuts my face, (cheeks and nose) become flushed and warm. Now worried that I either developed an allergy to the nuts or that I’m eating too many brazil nuts. Also wondering if I should quit eating nuts altogether in case of impending stronger allergic reaction….any thoughts?

  2. Veronica
    United States

    I eat a lot of nuts just about every day except peanuts, today I picked up bag of mix nuts from corner store bag expire apr of 2015 well I ate 1 Brazil nut a couple of filberts which both I have not eaten in sometime after ingestion 10 min later I got very hot nauseated a little my stomach felt like I ate the enemy of quickly laid down which I perspired profusely had hot and cold spells. My only relief was to sleep for 2hours when I awake I itched all over briefly went back to sleep for 30min and felt fine.

  3. K B

    I first had an allergic reaction to nuts when eating Costco’s Fancy mixed nuts. I had never had any allergic reaction before. Kaiser tested my blood for nut allergies and said that I was “mildly allergic” to Brazil nuts.
    I knew I was ok eating all the other nuts in the mix. My throat burned, my head was extremely congested, I felt dizzy and out of it, and I threw up, which I never do.
    I again tried to eat some mixed nuts about a year later, and noticed I responded worse. Yesterday, I had a similar reaction to Nature’s Path Qi’a superfood cereal.
    Contacted the company, since the package didn’t say anything about Brazil nuts. They said there are not Brazil nuts in ingredients. Now I’m worried I’m allergic to something else – Hemp, Buckwheat? I’ve had cranberries, chia, almonds and vanilla without issue before.

  4. May

    I eat four or five Brazil nuts a day for the selenium. That keeps my allergies away. I have never had any problems.

  5. BLG

    I have always noticed blisters forming in my mouth and stinging in my throat when eating Brazil nuts. As I have gotten older (55) nuts of all kinds seem to bother me. None as seriously as Brazil nuts but all the same I have become very cautious with nuts.

  6. SSM

    I had eaten brazil nuts and maybe by the second or third one I felt really nausious and immediately vomited in an almost projectile fashion. I thought maybe I had eaten a bad one as I have eaten and enjoyed brazil nuts before with no problem. On another occassion while eating brazil nuts, it happened again. Now I just stay away from them altogether.

  7. BLM

    Recently ate a chocolate covered Brazil nut and immediately my mouth and throat began to tingle and swell. This subsided after drinking a small amount of coffee. About 30 minutes later my entire body was covered in hives and had extreme itching. Went to EC and was given a shot and placed on Benadryl and steroids. Symptoms lasted for about a week (but much milder). Had a similar reaction to amoxicillian about eight years ago. Both reactions came later in life with no previous history of allergies.

  8. KF

    The same thing just started to happen to me. I thought what what could be different. Just started to use the same product. I felt itchy and got red bumps on my skin. Like it but I guess I need to stop using. I found this site to look up Brazilian nut oil allergy. I have used cocoa butter and almond oil and never had an issue so thought I would check this first. Guess I won’t be using this product any longer.

  9. BJS

    I watch Dr. Oz and he suggested that the Brazil nut contains excellent health values. I purchased some and started to eat several every day. However, I noticed that some of the nuts had a moldy taste. I also have had sort of a diarrhea ever since going three or four times a day. I stopped eating them yesterday. Can these be roasted in an oven to get rid of the mold? The balance of my purchase was put into the freezer. Any help there?

  10. Marcia

    All nuts are hard to digest. They are not meant to be eaten in the quantities and ways that we do in modern life. They were meant to be eaten in small quantities, usually during starvation times, fresh from the tree. Now a days, nuts are mass produced, shipped across the world, roasted, and left on a shelf to go rancid. They are EXTREMELY volatile and most people are reacting to the fats that have gone off or the molds that often live on nuts.
    You might be ‘allergic’ to Brazil nuts but more likely your system is refusing what is overly taxing to it. Most people are better off without nuts but if you want to pursue them as a healthy food choice, get fresh, raw, organic nuts, keep them in the fridge and eat quickly. If you have a weak digestive system, you might want to sprout them first too (soak in water overnight)
    To your health!

  11. MBH

    My 5 and half year old daughter had one brazil nut today and she started screaming that her tongue is numbed and she cannot speak. I thought she was joking and then she muffled I can’t breath. Looked at her mouth and can see her tongue has swollen and her lips felt very hard.
    We rushed her to A&E and during the journey she started to say her tongue feels better and breathing is better but her stomach hurts. She was seen very quickly and the nurse gave her Piriton? and asked us to wait for doc. This took about 30 mins. The doc. asked us to check her skin for spots. At first we saw one or two unusual spots and within a few minutes after that her ears, throat, underarm, rib cage, stomach were covered in blotches of red spots.
    This then traveled to her legs later. They kept her in A&E for monitoring for a couple of hours and she was discharged. As soon as we picked her up walked to the exit door – she vomited and continued to vomit for a an hour and subsequently all water which she had and a piece of dry toast all came out before she went to bed around 10.30 pm on an empty stomach and all blochyness on her skin had disappeared.
    Could you please let me know if her reaction was to the nuts (obviously) but could she had reacted to Piriton as well?

  12. Chris G.

    I too have a very strong allergy to Brazil nuts. symptoms include swelling of the throat and lips. It only takes a very small amount. I once ate the chocolate from around a chocolate coated brazil nut and had the same reaction. I now avoid them completely. I have mild allergies to some other nuts but no allergy whatsoever to peanuts.

  13. Matt L

    I have a very strong allergy to brazilian nuts and, in general, I just try to avoid any kind of nuts just in case. My colleagues think I am faking it but I am afraid of the nuts.

  14. Alyssa

    I recently started using Vaseline brand oil, which is a combination of cocoa oil, brazil nut oil and almond oil. After the first uses, I wondered why I felt ITCHIER afterwards than before I applied the oil. After the 3rd day of use the annoying itchy feeling turned into my whole body turning red and very hot and itchy and I discontinued use on day 4 (today) and yet I am still red and itchy and miserable all over and my lungs feel very “tight”. When will it go away??? Is there anything I can take or rub on it?

  15. DA

    I ate around 10 Brazil nuts and had the same symptoms, which occurred 15 minutes after ingestion. My throat constricted, I had extreme difficulty in breathing, and my face felt hot and was very red. I had a feverish feeling and chills. The only thing I had was pseudoephedrine, which seemed to help my breathing enough to function. I made it through my last hour at work, went home and straight to bed. Symptoms abated after sleeping for about an hour.

  16. Bruce

    I am 58 years old and have never had an allergic reaction to anything. However yesterday, after eating 7-10 packaged Brazil nuts, I found myself feeling faint, having shortness of breath, and did in fact black out within 10 minutes of eating the Brazil nuts.
    EMS workers found no blood pressure problems, no blood sugar problems, no heart beat problems. I had no visible splotches or otherwise obvious allergic indications.
    I’m confident that if I had been driving I would have harmed myself and/or others. My friends helped me regain consciousness and I felt diuretic, clammy & hot, followed with chills. My throat remains slightly swollen 24 hours later and I have slight shortness of breath.
    I will visit an allergist next week in hopes of learning if I have become allergic to nuts at such a late age or if the nuts had mold as mentioned by one poster above. Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.

  17. Ann

    I have had identical symptoms on two occasions after eating Brazil nuts. I have been tested for allergy to Brazil nuts, and tested negative. On both occasions when I reacted to the nuts, I recall having bitten into a “bad” nut, so I believe I may be allergic to something besides the nut itself, perhaps a mold on the nut? At any rate, I avoid Brazil nuts now.

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