For people with creaky knees, selenium is an essential mineral. It’s a potent antioxidant that also reduces inflammation. Although the anti-inflammatory properties may help people with Osteoarthritis (OA), studies show selenium is particularly effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Fortunately for us, it’s easy to get selenium in our diet with the Brazil nut. It’s the world’s top source of selenium –just one nut provides more than 100% of the daily requirement .
1. Selenium snuffs out inflammation. Researchers began learning about the anti-inflammatory capabilities of selenium in 1963. As the research continues, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry shows that selenium inhibits inflammation through a variety of mechanisms, including the suppression of two pro-inflammatory genes and the production of glutathione peroxidase-1. That makes it helpful for OA and RA, because less inflammation means less pain.
2. Selenium levels are low in RA patients, and rise with Brazil nut consumption. According to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, blood selenium levels were significantly lower in 87 people with RA than they were in healthy individuals. And those most severely affected by RA had the very lowest levels of selenium. Meanwhile, a 2011 study published in Nutrition shows that one Brazil nut a day raises levels of both selenium and glutathione peroxidase-1.
3. Most importantly, selenium eases rheumatoid arthritis pain. In a double-blind trial, women with RA received 200 mcg of selenium or a placebo every day for three months. Six of the eight women receiving selenium found that it reduced pain and inflammation. In contrast, none of the women receiving placebos experienced a reduction in pain or inflammation. Researchers suspect it may be most effective against RA because selenium also boosts the immune system, which is under significant stress in RA.
4. One nut a day keeps arthritis pain at bay. Just one Brazil nut gives you more than the daily recommended dose of 50 mcg of selenium per day. If you have arthritis, we recommend you eat at least one nut per day, and those with RA might want to up it to 4 nuts per day, to get the same dose as the women in the study mentioned above.
5. How to love Brazil nuts. Although many people instantly love the flavor of these nuts, some of us need time and tips to learn how to enjoy them. At My Healing Kitchen, many of us wrap our brazil nuts in dates, or eat them with unsweetened dried cherries for extra joint-soothing power. Or, throw a bunch in the food processor to make Brazil nut butter (which you can spread on fruit slices or whole-grain bread). You can also toss chopped Brazil nuts in your morning yogurt and fruit bowl. All these ideas combine that wonderful crunch with a touch of sweetness.
Check out our arthritis-healing recipes at myhealingkitchen.com.
One of our favorite recipes is the Tropical Salmon Salad with Hearts of Palm and Brazil Nuts
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