Two Brazil nuts a day may help keep the doctor away!

Brazil nuts contain selenium, a trace mineral essential to health.  Some of selenium’s impressive benefits include:

*Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damage.

*Helps maintain elasticity of the skin and other tissues.

*Aids function of the pancreas.

*Helps prevent hardening of the arteries and has anti-clotting effects in the blood.

*Helps convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 (important for energy and metabolism).

*Reduces heavy metal toxicity.

*Enhances the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.

*Helps improve male fertility, and important for the normal development of a baby during pregnancy.

*Helps prevent cataracts.

*Helps with dandruff and seborrhea.

Consider the following research:

Studies have shown that low levels of selenium are associated with heart disease, skin problems, cataracts, muscular dystrophy, various infections, growth retardation, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, eczema, and psoriasis.

There is a strong link between low levels of selenium and cancer, especially of the colon, prostate, ovary, breast, skin, bladder, and lungs, as well as leukemia.

Studies have shown reduced fertility due to selenium deficiency.

In Australia, studies show that there may be a relationship between crib death (SIDS) and selenium deficiency.

Research in the 1970s demonstrated the following benefits of selenium:

*Helps protect against radiation.

*Helps detoxify heavy metals such as mercury by preventing their absorption and aiding in excretion.

*In animal studies, selenium detoxified the cancer-fighting drug Adriamycin without interfering with its actions.

Selenium is best obtained from whole foods like Brazil nuts (by far, the top source), 100% whole grains, fish, onions, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame seeds, and butter and beef from grass-fed animals.  Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.  Eat them whole or add them to your salads or smoothies.

The amount of selenium found in foods depends upon several factors:

*The condition of the soil–higher levels of selenium are generally found in western parts of The United States.  In areas where selenium levels are high, males show significantly lower overall cancer death rates.

*Fertilizers that contain sulfur can prevent the absorption of selenium from the soil by the plant.

*The benefits of selenium are reduced by heat, processing, and cooking.  Refining grains (enriched wheat, white rice, quick oats, etc.) can reduce selenium content up to 75%.  Selenium is in the bran of wheat and the polishings of rice.  Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than quick oats.

Supplementing with selenium can be tricky.  The safest and best absorbed forms are selenium yeast and selenomethionine.  The inorganic forms that are not well absorbed are sodium selenite and sodium selenate.  Sodium selenite may also inhibit absorption of vitamin C.  If you are taking a multi-vitamin/mineral or another supplement that contains selenium, check the label to find out which form it is.  The inorganic forms of selenium are often added to processed foods.

Have a cup of hibiscus or milk thistle tea for some added selenium!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–                                                                                                                      “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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