Selenium mineral seen as essential for good health
Brazil nuts, kidney, liver and fish seen as good source for mineral
Selenium, a mineral essential for good health directly affects our risk
of disease. British researchers say that the body uses selenium to make
"selenoproteins," which work like antioxidants preventing damage to
Brazil nuts are a recognized source of selenium.
In addition, previous research has shown that a substantial selenium intake in old age helps enhance brain function, so that cognition remains sharp and active.
The average person isn't getting enough in their diet. The richest food sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, kidney, liver and fish. Foods that make the largest contribution to our selenium intake - because we eat proportionately more of them - are cereals, bread, meat and poultry.
Since levels of selenium in the soil are low - particularly British soil -- cattle aren't absorbing as much when they graze, nor are crops or other fresh produce grown on it, making for less selenium available from meat, grains and vegetables.
A horticultural study of has shown that British and northern European soils have been relatively low in selenium since the last ice age and levels are being further depleted by intensive modern farming methods and the use of chemical fertilizers.
"Selenium levels in our blood plummeted after the time the government began measuring them in 1974," Margaret Rayman, professor of nutritional medicine at the University of Surrey says.
"They stabilized at this sub-optimal level in the mid-Nineties as our diets haven't changed much since.
"If you live in the UK, the likelihood is you are not grossly deficient, but do have low levels of selenium," she says.
Soil in the U.S. has higher levels of selenium due both to different geological conditions and the fact that it's generally more alkaline, allowing better uptake of nutrients by plants.
The average Briton consumes only half of the daily amount recommended by the government. The effects of low intakes can be devastating, Professor Rayman says.
There is hope: vitamin supplements can turn the tide in subjects, causing their health to improve. One study of men with fertility problems showed that selenium supplements taken daily significantly increased sperm cells' ability to swim, indicating they had been selenium-deficient. Eleven percent of men who took the supplement went on to father a child.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Selenium, nutrition, eggs, Brazil nuts, health
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