Brazil Nuts

A Brazil nut a day

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The richest source of selenium--with 30 times more than any other food--is the Brazil nut! It takes only one or two to get the entire daily Recommended Dietary Allowance for selenium. But if you're nuts about Brazil nuts, beware: They're so stuffed with selenium that eating too many on a regular basis--a big handful every day--could lead to selenium toxicity. On the other hand, a Brazil nut or two a day--on top of a normal diet--is reasonable. Selenium acts in our bodies as a key player against unstable molecules that may cause cancer and heart disease.

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New cancer foe in a nutshell?

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Maybe, just maybe, we're closing in on another weapon against ovarian cancer. In "Health Front," we report that low-fat diets may help. It turns out there's a hint about selenium, too. A new study found that women with the highest blood levels of selenium were five times less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women with the lowest levels (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, January 3, 1996). We need many studies to test this out. But in the meantime, make sure your multi supplement includes selenium. A safe range is 70 to 120 micrograms (steady intakes above 1,000 mcg. are unwise).

THE WORLD'S BEST TRAIL MIX

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OUR EXOTIC BLEND IS LOW IN CALORIES, HELPS ENERGIZE, AND CURBS HUNGER
LESS THAN 150 CALORIES A PORTION

1. DRIED CHERRIES (¼ cup) Picked from orchards in the Great lakes region, cherries have twice as many antioxidants as red grapes ,and may help fight arthritis.

• TRY: Welch's Dried Cherries, $4; supermarkets

2. BRAZIL NUTS (6 nuts, halved) The seed of a giant South American Amazon tree, each "nut" contains 10 times the recommended intake of selenium, a mineral with heart-helping antioxidants.

• TRY: Whole Foods Market Raw Brazil Nuts, $5; Whole Foods stores

Get cracking

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WHEN I WENT BACK after 16 years to the isolated valley in Arizona where I grew up, the biggest surprise was not the gaudy sprawl of Wal-Marts and Burger Kings between towns, or even the crumbling of the downtown, where big old Selna's market had become a sad little cafe. What stunned me most was stopping by the hippie health food store on the highway and finding a bin loaded with locally grown pecans.

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