When you study cultures that have a high percentage of centurions, or people living beyond the age of 100, what you find are commonalities in their culture and diet. DR. CHAD LARSON
In episode 46 of his Keep It Real video series, Dr. Larson discusses living a long, healthy life!
When you compile statistics about cultures that have a high percentage of those living past 100, or centurions, what you find are dietary commonalities. One commonality that most cultures with a high level of centurions have is that they consume a lot of nuts. The type of nuts consumed vary from one culture to the next, which has led to the study of the nutritious content of various nuts. One nut that isn’t very popular in America, is the Brazil nut, in fact, it is usually the last nut sitting in the bowl of mixed nuts.
A study published in a Journal called Hospital Nutrition studied patients who were on dialysis. When someone’s kidneys can’t filter their blood, they must use a dialysis machine to filter it for them. One side effect of using a dialysis machine is selenium deficiency. Selenium is a micronutrient, meaning that you only need a very small amount of it, but it is essential for thyroid and other bodily functions.
Macronutrients are those nutrients that we need in milligrams (Mg) daily, but micronutrients like Selenium, we only need micrograms (Mcg) on a daily basis. If you have a selenium deficiency, it can interrupt the ability of your thyroid to function properly. The thyroid produces thyroxine or T4, but it needs to be converted to T3 for the body to absorb it. To convert T4 to T3, the body needs a sufficient amount of selenium. In this particular study, they gave participants one nut per day, which equals about 50 micrograms, and what they found was a rise in both levels of selenium and thyroid function.
- The recommended daily dosage of selenium is somewhere around 200 to 400 micrograms per day, so the fact that they saw the results they did with only 50 micrograms is evidence that just a small amount helps.
Another study published in Nutrition Journal looked at patients who have dyslipidemia, or high cholesterol, and hypertension, or high blood pressure. They measured the participants’ cholesterol levels of LDL (HDL is the high lipid cholesterol or “good” cholesterol, and LDL is low lipid cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol). The reason that LDL is bad is that when it becomes oxidized, it coagulates and can stick to blood vessels and increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The higher your LDL levels are, the higher risk there is that LDL can become oxidized. The body needs a molecule called glutathione peroxidase, which is works by keeping LDL from becoming oxidized and also helps to remove it from the body. The body needs selenium to produce glutathione peroxidase. The study examined patients with high LDL and hypertension The researchers gave the participants a form of Brazil nuts for several weeks and then they studied the effect of them on levels of oxidized LDL and glutathione peroxidase. What they found was that oxidized LDL went down and glutathione peroxidase went up, which lowered the patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
The antioxidant found in selenium you can decrease your risk for high LDL cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Eating Brazil nuts might help to increase your longevity by decreasing your risk for heart disease, high cholesterol and stroke.