• Lucy Francis

Why I Eat This One Particular Food Every Day

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Today I’m sharing a little insider into a dietary habit of mine…

I eat one (sometimes two) brazil nuts every day, without fail.

Why?

Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of dietary selenium – in my opinion a rather undervalued mineral compared to popular calcium or magnesium, for example (although still equally vital in their own right!)

Selenium is involved in a vast number of processes in the body, supporting our immune system, thyroid function, reproductive health and on going research suggests selenium may modify the risk of certain cancers in individuals. Glutathione (our master antioxidant) is also dependent on selenium to efficiently work it’s magic. Among selenium, brazil nuts contain magnesium, copper and vitamin E, as well as being predominantly made up of a mixture of 3 main types of fat: saturated, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated – all essential for our health and for keeping our cell membranes strong.


Realistically you only need one-two brazil nuts daily alongside other selenium containing foods such as whole-grains (small amounts present) and fish to get the daily recommended intake. Just keep in mind not to ‘over-do it’ – selenium can be toxic in large amounts but this is only likely to happen if consuming at high doses in supplemental forms as well as eating a very selenium rich diet for an extended period of time. I’d stick to the one-two nuts a day method! Eating whole food sources of certain nutrients can be a safer, and effective way to increase plasma levels whilst providing synergy with other vitamins and minerals present, too.


TIPS

For you nutri-nerds out there like me, to increase the bioavailbity of selenium in brazil nuts further, you could try soaking them. This reduces the content of phytates – a compound found in certain foods which can bind to selenium (and other minerals) preventing optimal absorption by the body. Roasting, as well as soaking reduces phytates and also makes the nuts taste even more delicious! An extra little tip is to try and make sure the nuts you buy are sourced from Bolivia where the soil is richest in this mineral for maximum effect.

So, if you’re interested in including these little powerhouses to your diet, why not chop and sprinkle on your porridge, roast them and add to salads, or like me, just take them as they are as means of a morning ‘supplement’ alongside breakfast.

Further reading:

For more info on selenium, click here

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