New cancer foe in a nutshell?

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Maybe, just maybe, we're closing in on another weapon against ovarian cancer. In "Health Front," we report that low-fat diets may help. It turns out there's a hint about selenium, too. A new study found that women with the highest blood levels of selenium were five times less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women with the lowest levels (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, January 3, 1996). We need many studies to test this out. But in the meantime, make sure your multi supplement includes selenium. A safe range is 70 to 120 micrograms (steady intakes above 1,000 mcg. are unwise). Or see "Shell Game" on this page.

PHOTO (COLOR): Holly McCord

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Holly McCord, RD--Nutrition Editor

SHELL GAME

Brazil nuts have about 250 times more selenium than most foods ... but only if you buy 'em in the shell. Seems Brazil nuts grow in two regions of Brazil--a central region with selenium-rich soil and a western region with far less. Fortunately, exporters ship nuts from the central region with shells on; nuts from the west come without shells. In stores, Brazil nuts with shells have about 10 times more selenium per nut--120 micrograms--than nuts with the shells taken off.

To avoid excess selenium, limit yourself to one high-selenium Brazil nut per day. Tip: Store Brazil nuts in your freezer and remove one a day. This keeps them fresh and makes shells crack a bit easier (after removing the shell, wait a minute to allow thawing).

ILLUSTRATION

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