Eat Brazil nuts each day to keep the doctor away

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The Independent Online
A daily helping of Brazil nuts would help protect against heart diseases, cancers and low levels of fertility, The British Medical Journal said yesterday. Britons are not getting enough of a mineral called selenium which plays a vital role in many bodily functions. While recommended intake of selenium is 75 micrograms a day for men and 60 micrograms for women, a 1994 government survey found that men were only consuming 34 micrograms a day.

As well as selenium deficiency diseases such as those affecting the heart and joints, low intake may also increase susceptibility to other disorders. A British study has found that women with low levels of selenium in their blood faced a high risk of miscarriage and recent research showed that a selenium supplement of 200 micrograms a day reduced deaths from cancer by 50 per cent.

An editorial in the Journal calls for selenium to be added to bread flour or fertilisers to improve the nation's health. In the meantime, it recommends supplements or a daily helping of Brazil nuts would be the best option. Glenda Cooper