Sunday, February 17, 2013

You'll go nuts when u learn the highest food source of Selenium! #GardenCuizine

Brazil Nuts
highest source of trace mineral
Recently, I had a patient ask me about the trace mineral Selenium. She wanted to know what Selenium was good for. I remembered learning about Selenium at Rutgers. My professor told us a story of someone who actually got sick from eating too many brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are the highest food source of Selenium.  

As I was writing up my patient's nutrition assessment, one of South Jersey Healthcare's dietetic interns stopped by to say hello. He asked me if I had ever seen a brazil nut fresh off the tree. "No," I replied. So this weekend, I tracked down some great photos taken by Lior Golgher (shown) that shows what brazil nuts look like clustered inside the fresh cut fruit. The outer shell looks like a crater and reminds me of a coconut.

Brazil nut trees (Bertholletia excelsa) grow in the Amazon Rain Forest and can grow really tall - over 150 feet. One tree can produce 250 pounds of nuts!

Selenium is essential for good health but is only required in small amounts. The body uses Selenium to make antioxidant enzymes called selenoproteins, which may contribute to prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. 

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Brazil nuts
Excellent Source: Selenium, Magnesium,Copper
Good Source: Thiamin  
One ounce (28 grams): 184 calories; total fat 19g; saturated fat 4g; monounsaturated fat 7g; polyunsaturated fat 6g; total carbohydrate 3g; dietary fiber 2g (8% DV); protein 4g (8% DV); Vitamin E 2 mg (8% DV); Thiamin 0.2 (12% DV); Magnesium 105 mg (26% DV); Phosphorus 203 mg (20%); Copper 0.5 mg (24% DV); Selenium 534 mcg (767% YIKES over the upper limit recommended for safe eating!!) Enjoy a few at a time or in with a variety of mixed nuts.

Besides brazil nuts, other food sources of selenium include tuna, cod, chicken breast meat, sunflower seed kernels and beef chuck roast. 
Selenium RDA

Kids age 1-3
Kids age 4-8
M/F age 9-13
M/F 14 - >70
Pregnant 14-50
20 mcg/d
30 mcg/d
40 mcg/d
55 mcg/d
60 mcg/d
UL: 90
M/F = males/females. Mcg/d = micrograms per day. UL = Upper Limit. RDA data courtesy of Diana Wind, RD using Institute of Medicine reference tables.
Photos Copyright (C) Lior Golgher Picasa Public Web Albums. A fresh cut Brazil nut fruit near Jauaperi River, Lower Rio Branco-Rio Jauaperi Extractive Reserve, Brazil.
Related Links:

What is Selenium? Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet 
Rainforest Alliance Brazil Nut Trees 
Heart Healthy Fats from Nuts
Blog post Copyright (C) 2013 Wind. All rights reserved.

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