Are you struggling with how to handle a thyroid gland imbalance, fibromyalgia, arthritis, or healing from cancer? Have you ever considered that you may be deficient in the mineral selenium?
There are many contributing factors to a strong immune system but we as individuals play the main role in keeping our immune system strong just by paying attention to the food we eat. The choices we make each time we put food in our mouths is a key component as to whether we will live our lives with or without vitality and strength. The choices are yours to make.
We hear about key vitamins that are essential to immune health like, zinc, Vitamin A, C, E and B complex. One mineral that we don’t hear as much about but has a significant impact on the strength of the immune system is the mineral selenium. A selenium deficiency can contribute to thyroid imbalances, some types of cancer, sluggish metabolism, MS, arthritis. It’s interesting that we don’t hear much about trace minerals when their impact on our health is life changing. The depletion of minerals from our soil has caused our diets to be lacking in minerals like magnesium and selenium, which are truly the gatekeepers of the immune system and calcium absorption. Cancer rates are lower in areas where selenium is abundant in the soil. Getting enough selenium in the diet can cut certain cancer death rates by 50%. (Journal of the American Medical Assoc., 1996)
Whole foods found in nature provide us with great sources of these minerals and can help improve our health issues or prevent them before they arise. Brazil nuts are one of the foods highest in selenium and simply eating a couple of these nuts daily can be a great supplement.
Another more accessible food is whole wheat and wheat berries. Wheat has gotten a very bad rap these past years with the influx of gluten-intolerant people. When we talk about the whole wheat berry we are talking about a different food then what most people consider as wheat. In this era everything is refined, and refined wheat is completely stripped of selenium and magnesium and protective phytonutrients therefore providing no value to the diet. This refined product is what our breads, and other processed foods that fill our pantries are made from. On the other hand, eating whole wheat berries, or sprouted wheat flour can contribute significantly to selenium and magnesium intake and overall immune strength. Let’s make the choice to move back to whole wheat or sprouted whole wheat.
Try the following recipe for a delicious contribution to overall health.
Wheat berry Cranberry Salad
1½ cups uncooked wheat berries
1 tsp salt
1 strip of kombu *(seaweed)
2 cups fresh cranberries
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup cranberry juice
4 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs raspberry or white wine vinegar
3 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup diced celery
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
feta or goat cheese for topping
Place the wheat berries in a medium bowl, and cover with water to 2 inches above the wheat berries. Cover and let stand overnight. Drain
Place wheat berries and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, add 1 strip kombu, reduce heat and cook 1 hour or until tender (the wheat berries will be tender and have a little pop to them). Drain, remove kombu and cool to room temperature.
Combine cranberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook for about 4 minutes or until cranberries pop, stirring often (If using dried cranberries then cook until they are soft and plump, and have absorbed the maple syrup). Transfer to a large bowl; cool 10 minutes.
Add juice, vinegar, olive oil, mustard, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to cranberry mixture; stir well to combine. Add wheat berries, celery, onion, parsley and pecans to cranberry mixture; stir well. Serve at room temperature or cover and chill.
Top with crumbled feta or goat cheese if desired. Sprinkle with chopped brazil nuts for added selenium.