Cancer and Selenium
If you have ever known somebody affected by Cancer, you will know what a serious and challenging condition it can be. Whether you have known somebody who had Cancer themselves or a person with a loved one tackling Cancer, you will know just how much grief it can cause. Cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in the modern world. This has made perhaps the greatest concern of medical researchers and practitioners, particularly in the Western world. There are many different types of Cancer. Nearly all of them are characterised by the excessive growth of dangerous cancerous cells in certain areas of the body. One major form of Cancer is Prostate Cancer, which affects around 40,000 men a year in the UK. Prostate cancer affects men. This small gland is located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is actually part of the reproductive system and helps to make the fluid that composes semen. Semen is needed to carry sperm, so a healthy prostate is needed for proper ejaculation and fertility. Prostate Cancer occurs when the prostate gets larger. As men get older it is natural for some enlargement of this gland to occur. However, in some cases, this can be a sign of very serious Prostate Cancer. This type of Cancer can make urination and ejaculation painful or difficult, and can greatly affect reproductive and sexual wellbeing. But asides from complications and pain, Prostate Cancer can be seriously life-threatening. The pressing issue of Prostate Cancer has led to extensive research on treatment options and preventative measures. In particular, there has been interest in the use of particular vitamins and minerals to naturally prevent and control this form of Cancer.
One mineral that has proven to be particularly important is Selenium. In several different medical trials and scientific studies, it has been found that low levels of Selenium in the body can lead to an increased risk of Prostate Cancer. In particular, it is known that this important mineral can actively defend the body against the development of Prostate Cancer. This is because it can support the effects of anti-oxidants in the body. Anti-oxidants prevent oxidative stress from occurring in the body. When oxidative stress builds up it can lead to Cancer. So it is important to ensure that anti-oxidants are able to fight this in your body. Getting enough Selenium optimises the Cancer preventing benefits of antioxidants. Asides from this, it is thought that Selenium can encourage the immune system to destroy tumours. If you are at risk of Prostate Cancer or are concerned about your future Cancer risks, then it definitely worth ensuring you have enough Selenium in your diet. People with low Selenium intake can reduce their Prostate Cancer risk just by getting more of this essential mineral in their diet. So if you are a man over the age of 50 it is especially worth watching out for Selenium.
Supporting your brain health is important at any age. As a child, your brain is growing and developing. But did you know that even when you reach late adulthood, there is still some development and changes happening to your brain? Too many people ignore the fact that their brain relies on certain nutrients and substances in order to function at its best. So even when you reach late adulthood, you still need to support your brain and cognitive health as much as possible. One nutrient your brain relies on is Selenium. For one thing, Selenium actually plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters. These are brain chemicals responsible for transporting chemical messages through the brain. Without them, you would be unable to react or respond to anything. This makes Selenium quite important to normal cognitive function. In fact, a low level of Selenium can lead to notable cognitive decline. In particular, older people are at risk of Dementia if they have a Selenium deficiency. As you approach the age of 60, it is more important than ever to ensure you get enough Selenium in your diet. It could help you to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Another benefit to brain health that this powerful trace mineral offers is the treatment of Intracranial Pressure. This is a condition that causes a range of unpleasant and frustrating symptoms. These include frequent headaches, Vertigo, nausea, speech disorders, and chronic fatigue. According to some early research, Selenium could help to manage this condition and relieve the symptoms of it as well.
Now that you know how important Selenium is to your wellbeing, you may want to know how to include it in your diet. There is not actually a huge range of foods that contain Selenium. For those who don’t eat meat, dairy or shellfish, there are even fewer food sources. This means that most vegetarians and vegans may struggle to find good food sources of Selenium. However, the good news is that you don’t need a lot of Selenium in your diet at all. As a trace mineral, you only need a ‘trace’ or a small amount of it in your diet. Even a small portion of Selenium-rich foods could be enough to meet your Recommended Daily Allowance of 55 mcg. Although, if you want to treat health conditions with Selenium then you may want to get a little more Selenium than the RDA suggests, just under 200 mcg. Although it is always best to talk to your doctor before taking this method of nutritional therapy to treat serious health conditions... Organ and muscle meat are known to be rich in Selenium. The liver is a good option since it is rich in nutrients and healthy enzymes. Although an unusual choice of meat, it tends to be cheaper and offers a unique flavour to meals.
Try swapping traditional cuts of meat for organ meats to increase your Selenium intake. Poultry can be a good source of Selenium although in most cases this is only true of organic and free-range poultry. Fish, eggs, and dairy foods also contain a significant amount of Selenium and can be included every now and then as part of a nutritious and healthy diet. With plant foods, most of the Selenium they contain depends on the soil they were grown in. Soil contains Selenium which is absorbed by the plant roots. Depending on the geographical location of growth, the Selenium concentration of plant foods can vary quite a bit. Generally though, if a plant food is considered to be rich in Selenium you can be sure that it has enough to help you meet your RDA. One of the absolute best sources of Selenium is Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are certainly the most concentrated plant food when it comes to this trace mineral. Just one Brazil nut provides you with up to 95 mcg of Selenium. This is almost twice an adult’s RDA. In a recent New Zealand study, Brazil nuts were found to be a far more preferable source of Selenium than supplements. If you are not a fan of Brazil nuts, you can also look to walnuts to support your wellbeing. Including a Selenium rich food like these nuts in your diet regularly should negate the need for any supplement in the first place. Other plant foods that contain a notable amount of Selenium include various cereals and grains, raisins, onions, garlic and kidney beans. Including a variety of these Selenium-rich foods in your diet can help you to meet your daily needs for this trace mineral. Asides from this, it can certainly help you to support long term health and wellbeing. Whether you want to prevent Cancer or support cognitive health, you can rely on this mighty mineral to help you.