In a world where plant-based proteins are getting more popular by the day, nuts are certainly having their day in the sun. From almonds to pistachios, many health enthusiasts tout their body, brain and mood-enhancing benefits. But, when it comes to endocrine health, one nut stands above the rest.
According to Mindbodygreen, Brazil nuts offer a unique combination of nutrients that can seriously benefit your hormonal system — in small doses. Particularly nourishing for your thyroid, Brazil nuts contain a high amount of selenium, a hormone-balancing nutrient that many people are deficient in. As endocrinologist Brittany Henderson explains to the publication, “Selenium is a vitamin that is good for peripheral conversion of thyroid hormone, so it’s good to help with the thyroid axis. It also is an antioxidant, so it helps with oxidative stress at the level of the thyroid.”
Essentially, this nutrient helps fight inflammation and thus positively impacts the thyroid, which can get thrown off balance with a high free radical count and due to stress. So, it’s wise to load up on your selenium to help with a wide range of issues since chronic inflammation is linked to heart issues, neurological issues, cancer, circulatory ailments and more, Healthline notes.
Brazil nuts contain the most selenium of any food source
Instead of grabbing a handful of Brazil nuts, it’s best to just eat two. Since these little brown nuts are jammed with selenium, more than a couple can give your body too much of the nutrient. Mindbodygreen reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that people ingest 55 micrograms of selenium each day. One Brazil nut contains between 68-91 micrograms — so you’re over that amount with just one!
Too much selenium can cause problems too. Dr. Andrew Weil details symptoms of too much of this nutrient that include hair loss, fatigue, irritability and gastrointestinal issues. However, the body needs selenium to perform vital functions ranging from immune health to cellular regeneration, the outlet explains. Basically, you need selenium, but only in small amounts.
Because of selenium’s importance to thyroid function, it’s wise to add foods such as Brazil nuts to your diet in small doses. Dr. Weil recommends opting for organic ways to absorb the nutrient through supplementing or sticking with your brazil nuts. Talk to your doctor first about what’s best for you and your body — you can even request a blood test to see where you’re deficient and see how your selenium levels may be affecting your system.
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