Brazil nuts
Why You Should Be Eating Brazil Nuts

I am a firm believer that when possible, getting your vitamins and minerals from food sources is the best way to go for optimal absorption and benefits. Science backs this up. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The body recognizes and absorbs the nutrients naturally found in foods much better than a supplement.” 

And, adding just one Brazil nut a day to your diet covers your body’s needs for selenium. There are lots of other foods that contain this vital nutrient as well, such as oysters, sardines, eggs, tuna and halibut. While I love each and every one of them, and enjoy them frequently, having a jar of Brazil nuts in my cabinet is by far the easiest way I’ve found to ensure I’m getting what I need every day, naturally.

But first, a note of caution. It is possible to have too much selenium in your diet. The recommended daily allowance is 55 micrograms per day, and according to WebMD, “the safe upper limit for selenium is 400 micrograms a day in adults”. The amount in one Brazil nut is between 68 and 91 mcg, so having one small nut, or even a half of one, per day is more than you need especially if you eat other selenium rich foods. As always, before making changes to your diet, talk with your doctor to make sure it’s a good idea for you. There are some medications, such as blood thinners and cholesterol drugs, that can interact with selenium.

So what does selenium actually do for you and why should you want to make sure you have enough? 

Selenium is important for your immune system. It fights free radicals and combats oxidative stress.

It helps with thyroid health, and can help balance metabolism. According to Healthline, it is a necessary mineral for thyroid hormone production.

It may help fight certain cancers. Studies showed people with higher levels of selenium had lower risks.

It lowers inflammation, and can help combat heart disease.

Alzheimer’s patients have been found to have lower levels of selenium in their blood. Studies have shown improvements in memory and cognitive ability when selenium is added to one’s diet.

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