Good news, everyone: We found another excuse to eat bacon.
Sure, it’s loaded with saturated fat and has a serving size more miniscule than any amount we’re actually eating, but it does have something we’re really psyched about: selenium. And if you haven’t heard yet, selenium’s pretty great.
It plays a pivotal role in the health of our thyroids, which regulate hormones and metabolism. It’s also been suspected to contribute to cancer prevention and contains cell-boosting antioxidants that come with a myriad of other health benefits.
Most Americans are actually deficient in this essential nutrient — a statistic we found shocking, since we were fairly sure most Americans ate copious amounts of bacon. But according to scientific evidence, we all need more of this rare mineral in our diets for the sake of our cancer risk, skin cell damage, and slowing metabolisms.
Recent research shows that selenium has another exciting benefit, as well: It can help prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Arthritis Aware, an online information portal on arthritis, “The University of North Carolina has done research and several studies that have shown selenium helps relieve arthritis for sufferers.” The researchers found that selenium’s antioxidant properties aid in the production of arthritis-preventing cartilage around the bones and joints.
These cartilage stores are built up between otherwise-grating bones in normal, healthy individuals. But once a person develops painful arthritis, this cartilage wears away. The result is painful, onerous, and difficult to treat, leaving sufferers either inflicted with arthritis pain for life or spending extravagantly on joint replacement surgery. Selenium’s potential benefit is no joke: Whatever we could be doing to prevent arthritis, we should.
With nearly a fourth of U.S. adults diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at some point in their lives, this is a relevant revelation: We all need more bacon.
But we do acknowledge the potential drawbacks of eating bacon on your heart and levels of cholesterol. So if you’re watching your blood pressure or eat a ton of red meat already, then maybe opt for a Brazil nut or two. Just one of those heart-healthy nuts has all the selenium you need.