Indexed on: 02 Dec '99Published on: 02 Dec '99Published in: Medical Hypotheses
The concentrating of essential minerals, vitamins, and bioactive phytochemicals into human foodstuffs is of vital importance in our rapidly expanding world. Selenium is an essential micronutrient which is currently receiving much publicity for its anticarcinogenic potentials. Unfortunately, this mineral is deficient in most soils worldwide, and as a result most geographical food chains contain highly inadequate amounts of selenium. Scientific evidence in now available which shows that common vegetable members of the allium genus, especially garlic, are seleniferous in that they readily uptake inorganic selenium from the soil and incorporate it into bioactive organic chemicals. The brassicas have also been found to be highly seleniferous in nature and to produce various seleno amino acids and potentially bioactive organic selenium-containing phytochemicals. Upon consumption by humans, these selenium phytochemicals, derived from both plant genus, show anticarcinogenic potentials. Due to the high concentrations of natural phytochemicals, and the additional assimilation of selenium, the commercial or small scale production of selenium-enriched brassicas and garlic is an excellent way of introducing anticarcinogenic phytochemicals into the human diet.