About consuming Raw Nuts
Raw nuts do not contain mutagenic, cancerogenic or mind-altering heterocyclic amines.
Shelled nuts are not raw, for there are massively shelled by the use of heat (or by freezing). Unshelled peanuts though (and cashew nuts), are rarely raw either, but mostly roasted.
Like grains, meat, eggs, milk and cheese, nuts can contain aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are not destroyed by heat.
The shell protects fresh nuts from being contaminated by other already contaminated nuts. Therefore you better buy unshelled nuts, and shell them by hand. Shelled nuts can also contain phthalates, which can cause cancer. The plastic package holding nuts (or canned peas, rice crackers and baby food for example (1)) contains phthalates to keep the plastic flexible. Another reason to consume raw nuts.
Pfannhauser, W. et al, Phthalate in Lebensmitteln. Forschungsberichte-Sektion 3 (in German), 1995 / Ch.3.
Fresh Brazil nuts are supposed to be ivory white. If they’ve turned yellow, don't eat them. If you're not sure, take a little bite, and focus at the after-taste.
Small amounts of aflatoxins from a single not-so-fresh nut is not that a problem, for nuts also contain ellagic acid, inhibiting 'activation' of aflatoxins by enzymes.
Nuts are very concentrated, containing only an average 5% water (fresh nuts !), whereas fruits averagely contain 80 to 90% water. So, its ok to eat 2 handfulls of nuts, but don't overdo it.
Consuming Brazil nuts protects the (Brazilian-, Bolivian- and Peruvian-) rainforest from being cut, for increasing economic value of Brazil nut evergreen trees ; huge 30 to 50 meter high trees. Until now the demand for Brazil nuts is far lower than the forest offers, and the indigoes people gathering those nuts hardly get paid. When Brazil nut prices increase, more indigoes people will protect their trees.
For exact nutrient contents of a handful of Brazil nuts, click here
Compared to other prepared nuts, prepared Brazil nuts are rather boring, but raw Brazil nuts taste much better than other raw nuts. Probably because Brazil nuts contain lots of (healthy) fats, 67%, and little fiber and tannins.
Some people are allergic to certain nuts. If you never ate Brazil nuts before, start very carefully. For more external info about Brazil nuts, click here.
Like macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts are hard to crack. There are special macadamia nut-crackers available, which you can also use for Brazil nuts. You can also use a hammer, but in that case you better wear safety glasses.