Every woman does it many times in her life without finding the process particularly enjoyable to the point when some try to avoid the occasions completely. Yes, it's the smear test - a small, but essential procedure that, as unpleasant and embarrassing as feels, can save lives.
While I am not going to go into details of the test itself, it is the reason of it that I'd like to focus on today. To sum up, this test is done to check the health of the cell forming the cervix and monitor their health as well as find any abnormalities. In most cases the results are normal, but 1 in every 20 woman does receive the news about possible cancer.
I am not writing it all to make you panic or scared with the very mention of the "c" word, but to share a piece of nutrition-related news that may improve the current statistics.
According to the latest study published in the Journal of Nutrition earlier this week, women who were diagnosed with pre-cancer condition known as intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 (CIN1, which is not cancer per set, but the stage that can develop into cancer) were put on 200 micrograms of selenium taken alongside conventional treatment, which not only improved their overall health, but also resulted regression of the diagnosed condition!
This was the first study that not only showed that low levels of selenium may be one of the risk factor for developing cervial cancer and women diagnosed with cerviac cancer had low levels of selenium, but presented the positive effects of the mineral on our health and stage of the disease.
How amazing is that?! And what is the best food source of selenium? Yes, Brazil nuts! Call me a nerd, healthy bunny or nutrition, according to my diploma and job description, but I was over the moon to have a valid reason to mention Brazils on the blog. Yes, I do believe in certain multivitamins, but don't want you to self-prescribe or use the internet for information (that's what doctors and nutritionist are for, not google). Besides another research published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition back in 2008 already showed that the real Brazils make a better source of selenium than supplements without any risk of toxicity or overdose.
So, lets agree that from now on, we all make a habit of eating 2-4 Brazil nuts every day. Just 2 will give you 200 milligrams of selenium, but if you have a couple of extra ones, it's not going to hurt. For reference reason, remember that 30g of nuts contain approximately 500 milligrams of the mineral.
Buy organic Brazils whenever possible and keep them refrigerated - yes, I could not leave you without a practical tip.
Photo source: Karlie Kloss in Vogue Netherlands October 2014 (photography: Alique, styling: Saskia Van Langevelde)