Back in 2013 I was looking for the best foods to eat for better joint health, and I stumbled over Selenium. I really didn’t know too much about this mineral but I did work out I should start eating Brazil Nuts. I left it at that and went on my marry way. I didn’t go beyond my joint health so I missed out on understanding what else this mineral does in our bodies and all the wonderful food sources. So, I went looking for more about Selenium and want to take you with me. Here we go.
So, what is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in soil and in certain foods and there are even small amounts in water. For us, Selenium plays an important role in our bodies by increasing immunity – less colds and flu, takes part in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage and inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
According to studies, consuming plenty of naturally occurring selenium has positive antiviral effects, is essential for successful male and female fertility and reproduction, and also reduces the risk of cancer, autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
Wow that’s a lot for a mineral we don’t pay too much attention to.
What are some signs that your body MIGHT be low in Selenium:
|Sudden hair Loss and skin and fingernail discoloration
||Hair loss comes on relatively quickly and is evenly distributed and or heavy whitening of the fingernail beds
||Pick up colds and flu easily and frequently
||There are many causes for fatigue, Selenium can be a cause and is normally not looked at as the cause. So, if your iron and potassium levels are normal, check your selenium as a possible cause.
|Brain Fog and Poor Concentration
||There are many causes of brain fog – Gluten, Sugar, low potassium, low magnesium and it seems low levels Selenium can also be a root cause.
|Reproductive Issues – Men and Women
||Low levels of Selenium can impact a woman’s cycle and men’s sperm production. Checking your Selenium levels is place to look when you have exhausted all other possible causes.
||Great Resource HERE
Here is how you add Selenium back into your diet
You have some easy choices to make here, eat a balanced diet and ensure to include #REAL #FOOD that contains Selenium or you can add a supplement. My personal view on this is to just eat the real food. Eating the food sources also enables your body to get all the other wonderful nutrients that food has to offer. However, if you are feeling like you want to boost your intake a supplement can help. I would suggest you speak with your health care professional to be sure it is safe for you.
The daily recommended amount for selenium depends on your age and is as follows, according to the USDA – I am not sure what the other Countries site:
- Children 1-3: 20 micrograms/day
- Children 4-8: 30 micrograms/day
- Children 9-13: 40 micrograms/day
- Adults and children 14 and up: 55 micrograms/day
- Pregnant women: 60 micrograms/day
- Breastfeeding women: 70 micrograms/day
Best Sources of Selenium
Here are the top 15 foods naturally high in trace mineral selenium (percentages based on RDA of 55 mcg/day for adults):
||1 cup: 607 mcg 1,103% DV
|Try eating a few per day as a snack or adding them to your smoothies or look for Almond/Cashew/Brazil Nut Nut Butter – nick named ABC butter.
|1 medium egg: 146 mcg (265% DV)
|You only need one to meet y our daily requirements
(sesame and Flax also)
|1 cup: 105 mcg (190% DV)
|I have a great recipe for Sunflower Seed Falafel and a dip made with Sunflowers. I have recently started to eat Sunflower Butter and I add a table spoon to my smoothies or spread it on toast.
|Liver (from lamb or beef)
|3 oz.: 99 mcg (180% DV)
|I wish I had a recipe to support this, but you could try Pate using lovely herbs to help add extra flavor.
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 39 mcg (71% DV)
|3 oz: 33.2 mcg (58% DV)
||Best sources is dark meat – from the back and legs
|3 oz: 31 mcg (56% DV)
|Canned or fresh. Look for wild Salmon. You can make fish cakes/baked or grilled fish
|3 oz: 25 mcg (45% DV)
Roasted Turkey – best source is the dark meat.
|1 oz: 15.6 mcg (28% DV)
|Chia seed jam
add to smoothies
Use as and egg replacement
|1 cup mixed: 15 mcg (27% DV)
|So good sautéed and served with eggs. Or as a risotto or soup.
Shiitake and white button mushrooms are best.
||1 cup contains 19 mcg, 35% of DV
||Replace white rice full stop and add in brown rice.
|Lima and Pinto Beans
||1 cup cooked contains 10 mcg 17% DV
||Pinto beans are great for RE-fried beans and in Chili
|1 cup broccoli contains 2.5 mcg 4% of DV
1 cup cabbage contains 3.5 mcg 6% of DV
1 cup spinach contains 3 mcg 5% of DV
I think you would agree, there are so many #REAL #FOOD options to help you maintain your selenium levels in your diet. Unless your health care professional thinks otherwise, dig into some lovely fresh food. I have also included a recipe for you to try, Sunflower Seed Falafel. I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time… Be Warmly Nourished – body and soul
This recipe was inspired by my research into selenium and the desire to ensure I was consuming a diet rich in this mineral. Normally, Falafel is made with Chickpeas, which are lovely also, and fried. This recipe replaces the chickpeas and you bake it in the oven, tasty and healthy too – #REAL #FOOD.
Sunflower Seed Falafel
I love this recipe as do most of the people I have introduced to it. You serve them as part of a brunch, lunch, dinner or finger food for a party. They are easy to make and freeze well. I love that you bake these in the oven instead of frying.
I hope you enjoy!
- Ingredients for Falafel
- 75 g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
- 80 g (1/2 cup) macadamia nuts
- 1 tablespoon organic nut butter, softened, can use almond butter, cashew nut, combination like Almond/brazil /cashew (ABC)
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped red capsicum
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 shallot, chopped (green onion)
- pinch of Celtic sea salt
- 80 g (1/2 cup) sesame seeds, for coating
- Lettuce leaf, to serve and serve with Tahini dipping sauce
- Tahini dipping sauce
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or REAL maple syrup
- pinch of Celtic sea salt
Make it like so....
- Make it like so....
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- To make the tahini dipping sauce, place all the ingredients in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of filtered water and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Place all the falafel ingredients, except the sesame seeds and lettuce, in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended (yet still with texture).
- Use your hands to shape into round balls. Roll in the sesame seeds, transfer to the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
- Serve in a lettuce leaf and dress with the tahini dipping sauce.
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E and a very good source of copper and vitamin B1. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin.
Tahini is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron, a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification, one of the best sources of calcium and is high in vitamin E vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.
I have come to love and depend on fermented foods as part of my overall diet. But to be honest when I was first introduced to fermentation it was back in 2010 I really didn’t understand the true value of fermentation for our overall health. Flash forward to Nov 2013 and I was starting to make my own Kombucha, then I moved on to vegetables and loved the results. But you know your life gets in the way and you forget to make a batch and the process starts to breakdown. Back in November I RE-introduced myself to the world of fermentation and got my mojo back. Since January I have created different ferments and I am loving my new creations. Including making my own coconut water Kifer and coconut milk yogurt. I do need to come clean about the yogurt – my fist attempt produced a very grainy result and I had to start over.
I hear you asking so what’s the point of all this and why should I care. In simple terms, fermented foods introduce good bacteria back into our bodies that help us build and maintain good gut health. The fermentation process boosts vitamin and mineral content, reduces the anti-nutrients found in foods, and helps preserve foods for longer. The process has been around for centuries but managed to get lost a bit in our modern world. We need to pay homage to a few stand outs in the ferment world – China gave us Kombucha a fermented tea which dates back to 221 B.C, Germany gave us Sauerkraut a fermented Cabbage using salt, Japan gave us Miso from rice/barley or soy, Russia gave us Kefir a fermented diary product, Egypt gave us Sourdough the wild fermentation of wheat. And the list goes on.
I just finished my last project over the weekend, so I thought I would share what I have been working on. I hope seeing what I have been up to sparks some interest.
Kombucha – promotes detoxification, boosts energy and immunity
Making Kombucha @ Home
Making Kombucha @ Home
Fermented Cashew Cheese – high in protein, fiber and essential fats, highly digestible way to eat nuts.
Making Fermented Cheese
Coconut Kefir (both water and yogurt) – stops sugar cravings, aids digestion, contains high levels of minerals like potassium
Making Coconut Milk Kifer/Yogurt
Coconut Water Kifer
Fermented Hot Sauce – using 1kg of fresh chilies – capsaicin to fight inflammation and reduces pain rich in antioxidants like Vitim A,C and K, and can boost metabolism.
You need Good Chilies to make a fermented Hot Sauce
Sauerkraut – powerful cancer fighter, rich source of Vitim C, Vitim B6 – for PMS/depression/asthma, folate and manganese – which helps build joint cartilage
Starting new batch of Sauerkraut, using purple Cabbage and carrots
Pickled Vegetables – friendly probiotics and beneficial for treating allergies, tumors, infections and auto-immune diseases.
Pickled Carrots with Cinnamon and Cloves!
What a power house! Still note sure Fermented foods are right for you, here’s some more for you to consider. I hope you will give fermented foods a try – purchase or make your own. I would love to know what you think. I am also planning to but this knowledge to work in a Work Shop in May 2016 so watch this space.
Immune system improves Digestion
|Fermentation starts the digestive process by releasing nutrients and breaking them down; digestion is much easier. Our bodies are able to absorb nutrients ore readily. Fermented foods also encourage a healthy balance of bacteria in our guts.
Improve Immune Health
|70-80% of our immune system lives in our intestinal tract. When our digestive system is out of balance our immune health can be impacted. Fermented foods offer us the microbes we need to enhance and balance immunity. This can help to improve multitude of immune conditions including allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases and autoimmune conditions.
“Probiotics and Their Fermented Food Products Are Beneficial for Heath” J Appl Microbiol Journal of Applied Microbiology Web 6th Oct 2016
Help Manage Weight
|Researchers are discovering a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut can help manage obesity and boot our metabolism.
“Diet Effects in Gut Microbiome and Obesity” Journal of Food Science Web 6th Oct 2016
Help Rid us of Anti-Nutrients
|Many grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, which interferes without ability to absorb nutrients. Fermentation helps us rid of these anti-nutrients making it easier for us to absorb those vitamins and minerals.
Help Improve complexion
|An imbalance of gut bacteria can impact our skin microbiome. Research shows that fermented foods can improve skin health and various skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis.
“Can These 3 Foods help you say goodbye to Acne?” Body Ecology.com.
This week on my warmly nourished facebook page we looked at so many areas to detox and NOT a single one was diet related. I think that is a record for me. I wanted to show you that there are many forms of detox and in our modern, fast paced lives we maybe be missing out on the really good stuff. Some simple ideas (#simpleysimple2017) for life changes; go for a walk and leave the mobile phone at home, sit in a park and listen to the birds and other sounds around you – it’s not all white noise.
Today I am getting to the toxins that invade our diets and feed disease instead of good health. I’ll share some of my favorite ways to take toxins out of the diet – below #5. First let me remind you of what we covered during the week.
I’ll back track for you:
(1) Monday I raised the idea of detoxing from our mobile phones at night. I turn my phone off for 12 hours per day, from 7/8 pm to 7/8 am. I love that I can do this and feel more relaxed and know I am getting a better nights sleep.
(2) Tuesday I shared the impact negativity has on our health and how important positive feelings are. Thinking and feeling for health!
(3) Wednesday I shared ideas to detoxing from your busy life. Here are some great tips, I love them all and practice some ….wish I could get to all 21.
Slowing down less busy
(4) Thursday I shared the chemical impact of commercial cleaning products on your health. The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say environmental experts. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity.
(5) Friday, today, its about Removing Toxins from the diet…ease into these changes and see how you feel. These are toxins I have chosen to remove from my diet.
(a) Remove white sugar from your diet as soon as you can. Sugar has no:
- no nutrients
- no protein
- no healthy fats
- no enzymes
Its a substance that is devoid of health giving with huge impact on your body:
- Stresses the Liver: “When we eat fructose, it goes to the liver. If liver glycogen is low, such as after a run, the fructose will be used to replenish it (3)however, most people aren’t consuming fructose after a long workout and their livers are already full of glycogen. When this happens, the liver turns the fructose into fat (2). Some of the fat gets shipped out, but part of it remains in the liver. The fat can build up over time and ultimately lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (4, 5, 6).”
- Increases Bad Cholesterol and Triglycerides (source)
- Can contribute to Leptin Resistance (and then weight gain, cravings, sleep trouble, etc) – source
- Creates an addictive sugar response in the brain (source)
- Doesn’t fill you up and instead encourages you to eat more
(b) Focus on eating REAL FOOD that hasn’t been messed with. What I mean is food that doesn’t have a list of ingredients like fresh vegetables and fruit that are in their whole form or products that have a short list of ingredients – and a list of things you know with NO numbers. These products tend to be around the outside aisles of the – grocery store/farmers markets/and your local green grocer – and not in the centre aisles. There is an old saying
“If your Grandparents didn’t recognize it as food then stay away from it”
(c) Limit acidic foods from your diet. An overly acidic condition weakens the body and can become dangerous. Our body requires a slightly alkaline condition to function well. Blood, for example, needs to be at 7.4 pH. A shift in blood pH of just 0.2 could result in death. Obviously, the body does not want to die, so it is forced to borrow minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid. A balanced body that is not highly acidic makes it easier for cells to cleanse out waste and toxins. Thus, a balanced alkaline pH will help in protecting the cells in your body and may discourage the growth of cancer cells, inflammation in joints, and help keep your bones strong. Foods that are highly acidic include –
- artificial sweeteners – like equal
- certain dairy products like milk
- over consumption of red meat
- processed oils – vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil
- margarine – normally made from processed oils
- processed foods
- processed meats – bacon,cold cuts
- sodas and other sweetened beverages
I feel like I have spoiled all your fun…. All I can suggest is to go easy on acid forming foods, limit them and swap in fresh fruits and vegetables to help restore your bodies ph levels.
I love raspberries so much I will put up the seeds getting stuck in my teeth. This week I decided to take a closer look at this little power gem of vibrant color and see why we should be eating them. I wasn’t disappointed; they are a great source of Vitamin C, K, E, fibre, magnesium and potassium. They have the right antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients for anti- cancer treatments and improve management of obesity.
I have been using raspberries for years as a simple dessert garnish and as the base for other sweet creations. After researching them this week I decided to create a simple yet effect away to absorb all their health giving nourishment and allow them to take centre stage. Breakfast perfection in a smoothie bowl YUMMY!. I think the picture says it all.
My notes for this recipe…are in picture form enjoy! The topping for this creation is toasted pumpkin seeds, some berries, toasted coconut flakes. I made the smoothie with 1/2 an avocado, frozen organic raspberries, unsweetened almond milk, rice syrup, sunflower seed butter and some ice all blended up.
Raspberry Smoothie Bowl with Nutbutter
- ½ ripe avocado OR 1 banana
- 1 ½ cups raspberries (1/4 cup is for garnish)
- ½ cup milk of your choice – I used almond
- ½ cup ice
- 2 Tbsp. Nut butter of your choice I used Sunflower seed butter
- 1 Tbsp. Rice bran syrup OR honey, plus additional for drizzling
- ¼ cup toasted seeds, I used like pumpkin seeds OR granola
- 2 Tbsp. shredded coconut (toasted is an option here)
Make it like so....
- Blend the avocado, 1 and ¼ cup of the raspberries, your choice of milk, ice, and nut butter of choice and 1 tablespoon of the Rice bran syrup (or Honey) until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and top with the sliced strawberries, toasted seeds, coconut, and remaining ¼ cup raspberries.
One cup of Raspberries has
- 64 calories
- 8 grams of dietary fibre
- 1.48 grams of protein
- 14.69 grams of carbohydrates
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K and E
- Omega 3 fatty acids
Toasting Pumpkin seeds for Raspberry smoothie bowl
getting ready to make a Raspberry Smoothie bowl
Raspberries and Ice
Sunflower Butter – great alternative to Nut butters
Breakfast is served