What Foods have Folate? Which have Selenium?

The hot topic that kicked off our research conference today was about how some selenium, folic acid and other micronutrients decrease cancer risk, but too much may actually increase risk. It’s delightfully termed the “Goldilocks Effect” and Glen wrote about it earlier.

All the scientists stressed that certain amounts of micronutrients show cancer protection. Supplements can give you too much. But a healthy amount of foods cannot give you the high amounts under study for harm. And these foods are loaded with plenty of other nutrients and phytochemicals linked with cancer protection and good health.

So what foods can give you selenium and folate? Here’s a few:

Folate_Selenium foods combo_small


Dietary Antioxidants May Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Eating mushrooms, oranges, brazil nuts and other foods packed with vitamins C, E, and/or selenium may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly types of cancer, according to a new study published today in the journal Gut.

Pancreatic cancer has been in the news lately with the death of Sally Ride, the first US woman astronaut. Ride is one of the estimated 37,000 Americans who will die of pancreatic cancer this year.  According to the National Cancer Institute, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death. It is often not diagnosed until the advanced stages, when treatment is challenging.

In the study, researchers drew upon data of almost 24,000 participants who were part of the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) study. Participants filled out a seven-day food diary when they entered the study in the mid-1990s. They also gave a blood sample that was analyzed for vitamin C levels.

Current research is limited and conflicting on whether diet affects pancreatic cancer risk. Study researchers here looked specifically at some of the more well studied dietary antioxidants: vitamins C, E, selenium and zinc. They determined how much of each antioxidant the participants ate then divided the participants into four groups, from the lowest to highest. Continue reading


Selenium – Up to a Point – May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

You probably don’t think a lot about how much selenium you’re eating. Nor should you really if you’re living in America, where selenium deficiency is rare. Yesterday’s issue of Cancer Research Update will probably get you thinking about it a little.

Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium.

CRU highlights a new analysis on selenium intake and prostate cancer risk. The study was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund as part of AICR/WCRF’s Continuous Update Project (CUP).

Overall, the analysis found that increasing amounts of selenium – up to a point – reduce the risk of prostate cancer. We asked one of the study’s lead authors, Rachel Hurst, PhD, at the University of East Anglia, to help explain the findings.

Q: For blood concentration of selenium, you found risk decreased up to a point. Above that, what does the research show? Continue reading