Brazil Nuts Pack a Nutritious Punch
Research shows eating one Brazil nut a day can corrected selenium deficiency in women
The mineral selenium is essential for good health, and a recent study in Nutrition found that people with low blood levels were able to improve those levels simply by eating one Brazil nut a day.
Though selenium deficiency is thought to be uncommon in the US, it is important to correct any deficiencies if they do exist. Selenium affects immune system and thyroid function and also works as an antioxidant, helping prevent conditions associated with oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer.
In this study, 37 women who were deficient in selenium ate one Brazil nut a day (which provided 290 mcg of selenium) for eight weeks. At the end of the intervention, selenium deficiency had been corrected in all of the women.
"The essential micronutrient selenium functions as a component of many selenoproteins in antioxidant and redox reactions, thyroid hormone metabolism, immune function, and reproduction," said Cristiane Cominetti, PhD and her colleagues from the Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. "Disruptions in selenium status may result in suboptimal amounts of selenoproteins, which are associated with increased levels of oxidative stress and its related diseases."
(Nutrition 2011 Jan 4 [E-pub ahead of print])
Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker.