Our Health Nut and Registered Dietitian, Molly Morgan, answers our customers’ most pressing health and nutrition questions!
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I heard that Brazil Nuts were excellent for prostate problems. Is this true? – Norley
The link between Brazil nut benefits and prostate health likely refers to the high selenium content of Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are one of the highest naturally occurring food sources of selenium. Each Brazil nut has about 68 micrograms (mcg) of selenium and in just one ounce there is 544 mcg or about 777% of the Daily Value.
So, how do Brazil nuts promote prostate health? Selenium, a trace mineral, acts in the body in a way that may protect DNA and cells from damage. Additionally, studies link prediagnostic low levels of selenium as a risk for various types of cancer including prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer. Having 3 Brazil nuts per day would provide your body about204 mcg of selenium per day, which is a level of selenium supplementation found to reduce the overall cancer risk, including prostate cancer.
And remember: food first, supplements second. If you add in a few Brazil nuts per day ensure that you are not taking a selenium supplement, too. Although selenium toxicity is rare, it can happen. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal distress and nerve damage. Most selenium toxicity has been related to accidental manufacturing errors that led to overdosing of selenium rather than overconsumption of selenium from naturally-occurring sources.
Richards B, et al. Multiplex PCR amplification from the CFTR gene using DNA prepared from buccal brushes/swabs, Hum Mol Genet 1993;2:159–63.
Combs GF, Jr., Clark LC, Turnbull BW. Reduction of cancer risk with an oral supplement of selenium. Biomed Environ Sci 1997;10:227-34. [PubMed abstract]
NIH Dietary Fact Sheet – Selenium: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/