April 23, 2017

Chocolate Brazil Nut Maple Tahini Bites

Chocolate Brazil Nut Maple Tahini Bites

I talked a little about selenium on my stories this week and thought it’d be nice if I provided a few of the studies I was referencing in the written word. If you were able to follow along, you already know of selenium’s benefits for mercury toxicity, thyroid regulation, and certain cancers, particularly breast cancer for women carrying the BRCA1 gene. SEElenium the research and the recipe for these brazil nut tahini maple chocolate bites below!

  • 1/2 cup brazil nuts
  • 2 tbsp tahini (if you don’t like tahini, use a nut butter instead)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Place brazil nuts in food processor in food processor and pulse a few times – I like to leave a few chunks.
  2. Add in remainder of ingredients and blend until dough forms.
  3. Roll into balls – made about 8 for me.
  4. Roll in cinnamon and cacao.

The research

In terms of the BRCA1 gene, one study showed that there were fewer chromosome breaks of the BRCA1 gene (if a chromosome breaks, it’s baaaaaaad news and a sign of decay), following 1-2 months of oral selenium supplementation ( 1 ). Other studies showed that there was an overall association between Selenium and a reduction of DNA damage and oxidative stress ( 2 ). These levels then nearly paralleled those of individuals who didn’t even carry the gene ( 1 )! Selenium making everyone equal!!!!!! Oral supplementation of selenium was also seen as a positive form of chemoprevention for women who carry the mutation in the BRCA1 gene ( 1 ).

Selenium has benefits beyond cancer. It’s also binds to mercury with high affinity ( 3 ), and is great for thyroid function.  Limited or inadequate supply of both trace elements, iodine and selenium, leads to complex rearrangements of thyroid hormone metabolism enabling adaptation to unfavorable conditions ( 4 ). The optimal intake of selenium not only aids preservation of general health but also contributes substantially to the prevention of thyroid disease ( 5 ).

Good news! 250-300mg is recommended for benefit, which translates to just 2 or 3 brazil nuts a day!! Hooray!

food sources of selenium (in descending order):

  • brazil nuts
  • octopus / squid
  • oysters
  • sardines, canned
  • sunflower seeds
  • bacon
  • shrimp
  • tuna
  • halibut
  • pork
  • salmon
  • oats
  • eggs
  • chicken
  • whole grains
  • grass fed beef
  • mushrooms
  • spinach


( 1 ) Kowalska, E., Narod, S.A., Huzarski, T., Zajaczek, S., Huzarska, J., Gorski, B., & Lubinski, J. (2005). Increased rates of chromosome brekage in BRCA1 carriers are normalized by oral selenium supplementation. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 14(5), 1302-1306. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-03-0448

( 2 ) Rayman, M.P. (2005). Selenium in cancer prevention: A review of the evidence and mechanism of action. Proceedings of the Nutrition Soceity, 64, 527-542. doi: 10.1079/PNS2005467

( 3 ) Berry, M.J. & Ralston, N.V.C. (2008). Mercury toxicity and the mitigating role of selenium. EcoHealth, 5, 456-459. doi:  10.1007/s10393-008-0204-y

( 4 ) Kohrle, J. (2005). Selenium and the control of thyroid hormone metabolism. Thyroid, 15(8), 841-853. doi: 10.1089/thy.2005.15.841

( 5 ) Duntas, L.H. (2010). Selenium and the thyroid: A close-knit connection. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 95(12), 5180-5188. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0191

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