Selenium is a trace mineral that protects the body from environmental cell damage. How can we make sure we get enough selenium from our diet? Read more.
Selenium is a trace element or nutrient, that humans need to stay healthy. It plays a large role in many bodily processes, such as reproduction, function of thyroid gland, production of DNA, protecting the body from free radicals, which are unstable cells that move around the body and can increase the risk of diseases, and protects the body from infection.
Your body only needs small amounts of selenium, and despite these low levels, selenium brings powerful benefits. The mineral is found in a wide range of foods, including everyday staples, like meat, eggs, and even bread. Selenium comes from the earth, and because of this its content can slightly vary based on where a food source is grown, and the quality of the soil.
So how do we make sure we are consuming enough selenium and what are the best foods containing selenium to add to our shopping lists?
Selenium is found in many different kinds of food, so most people do get an adequate amount in their everyday diet. These 8 foods are a few of the most selenium rich.
Brazil nuts are the most powerful sources of selenium. Just one nut contains 95mcg, almost twice your daily requirement. However, its important to moderate your portions to the recommended amounts.
Most seafood contains high levels of selenium. Per 3 ounce serving, yellowfin tuna and white fish, like halibut, contain about 92mcg of the mineral, while tinned sardines contain 45mcg for the same portion.
Pasta is an easy way to include selenium in most diets. One cup of cooked pasta contains 36mcg, while whole-grain varieties have as much as 50mcg.
One large egg can add about 28% of your daily selenium requirement to any meal. Most if this content is concentrated in the egg yolk. However, the egg whites have about 9mcg of selenium, which is a great option for people watching their cholesterol intake.
Yes, you read that right – the nations favourite beans in a can! They contain about 12mcg of selenium per cup. Beans are a great source of fibre as well, but canned beans also contain high levels of sodium. Moderate your portions to avoid health risks associated with a high-sodium diet.
Whether having a bowl for breakfast, using it to thicken smoothies, or substituting flour in baked goods, oatmeal is an excellent selenium source. A cup of instant oatmeal contains 10mcg of selenium, while raw oats have up to 23mcg.
Due to most rice being gluten-free, it can be a great alternative for people with wheat intolerances or Celiac disease. One cup of cooked white rice contains 9mcg of selenium; however, you can get about 15mcg from a cup of brown rice varieties.
Meat is a great source of a mass range of nutrients, including selenium. A sautéed chicken breast can have up to 35mcg of selenium with an extra 5mcg if you eat the crispy skin. Lean varieties of beef can be a great choice as well.
It not all about animal products, or the Brazil Nuts. Broccoli, which contains 2.3mcg of selenium, and other healthy vegetables, too, can provide some of our daily selenium intake. Some other great examples are; spinach, green peas, beans, and potatoes. Vegans and vegetarians can take full advantage of this. However, with vegetables alone, you wouldn’t come close to your daily recommended selenium level.
Selenium plays a role in iodine metabolism and thyroid function, protects against oxidative stress and aids the immune system. There is some evidence that adequate levels may reduce the risk of some cancers. There is also some evidence that a hight selenium status has been linked to enhanced immune competence, male fertility, mood disorders, and cardiovascular disease, however, the evidence is not yet clear.
Daily recommendations of selenium in the UK are 75mcg for men and breastfeeding women, and 60mcg for women. As selenium is largely excreted in the urine with some metabolites being excreted in the breath, it is very difficult to consume too much from diet alone.
However, if taking supplements, always make sure to check you are taking the recommended amount. Large doses of selenium may cause toxicity. Always make sure to check with a trusted health professional if ever in doubt.
Selenium plays a vital role in the body, and while we only need trace amounts selenium plays a huge role in, reducing risk of chronic disease, thyroid health and supports our cognitive function.
Now that you know all about the foods to add to the next shopping list to ensure your diet is rich with your recommended amounts of selenium, before you pop down to the supermarket, why not read our article on best foods for vitamin C, next.