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China's Farmers Could Grow Foods Naturally Enriched in Selenium


Selenium, element number 34, is a chemical element found to be essential in maintaining optimum levels of health. Recognized by the medical establishment as an important micronutrient, selenium can help boost the immune system, slow down the aging process and reduce the effects, symptoms and frequency of cardiovascular diseases.

Many fruits, vegetables and other foods contain varying amounts of selenium but due to the element's wide range of benefits, many people choose to take selenium supplements in pill form. The problem, however, is that large doses of selenium supplements can be toxic.

The best possible solution for providing safe, environmentally-friendly sources of edible selenium to consumers would be for farmed foods to contain naturally higher levels of the element.

No genetic enhancement is required: if fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown in selenium-rich soil, the foods will incorporate extra selenium as part of their natural growth processes.

Now a team of Chinese geologists has announced an important finding, arrived at after seven years of exploration on the Chinese island of Hainan.

According to Xi Xiaohuan, a senior engineer with the China Geological Survey, “selenium-rich soil covers a total area of 9,545 square kilometers (3,685 sq miles), or more than 28 percent of the total area of the province.”

Hainan is already an important source of farm produce for Mainland China and the results of the CGS research are already being acted upon. Authorities in Hainan have begun demarcating areas with selenium-rich soil that will be used to grow selenium-rich rice, fruits and betel nuts.

As farmers gradually adjust their planting patterns to match areas of selenium-rich soil, they will be able to market their produce accordingly and, most likely, at a premium price. (via China Economic Net, main image via Food Biz Daily)