Selenium is a very powerful trace mineral and nutrient that is pretty uncommon when it comes to foods that people traditionally eat. Let’s take a look at what exactly selenium is and the foods that contain the highest amounts of it.
What Is Selenium?
Selenium is a mineral found in a few naturally occurring plants and animals such as specific nuts, fish, and meat throughout the world. Selenium has many benefits from thyroid health to heart health.
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Reduces Risk of Cancers
Selenium has been proven to aid in the process of destroying cancer cells, reduce certain DNA cell damages, and improve human immune systems. Cancers that were found to have the potential to be reduced include but are not limited to lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
Reduces Risk of Mental Diseases
Multiple studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients tend to have low levels of selenium in their blood. Because of selenium’s positive effect on oxidative stress in the body, studies have also shown that the risk of developing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis may be reduced with a diet rich in selenium.
Improves Heart Health
Selenium improves anti-inflammatory systems in the body, specifically preventing platelets in the body from clumping. Selenium also prevents the oxidation of lipids in the body, contributing to a decrease in risk for various heart diseases.
How Much Selenium Should I Consume?
Due to the many benefits of selenium, you may be asking how much selenium is good to consume in a day. Below are NIH recommendations for selenium intake based on age and gender.
|0-6 mo||15 mcg||15 mcg|
|7-12 mo||20 mcg||20 mcg|
|1-3 yr||20 mcg||20 mcg|
|4-8 yr||30 mcg||30 mcg|
|9-13 yr||40 mcg||40 mcg|
|14-18 yr||55 mcg||55 mcg||60 mcg||70 mcg|
|19-50 yr||55 mcg||55 mcg||60 mcg||70 mcg|
|51+ yr||55 mcg||55 mcg|
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Highest Selenium Rich Foods
Knowing the multiple benefits of selenium and how much we should consume per day, you may be asking which ingredients contain the highest amounts of selenium. The NIH has also published the highest naturally occurring sources of selenium which you can view below.
|Ingredient||MCG Amount||DV %|
|Brazil Nuts (1 oz)||544 mcg||777%|
|Yellowfin Tuna (3 oz)||92 mcg||131%|
|Halibut (3 oz)||47 mcg||67%|
|Sardines (3 oz)||45 mcg||64%|
|Ham (3 oz)||42 mcg||60%|
|Shrimp (3 oz)||40 mcg||57%|
|Enriched Macaroni (1 cup)||37 mcg||53%|
|Bottom Round Steak (3 oz)||33 mcg||47%|
|Turkey (3 oz)||31 mcg||44%|
|Beef Liver (3 oz)||28 mcg||40%|
Brazil nuts are by far the most effective food for providing a more than adequate amount of selenium that the body needs. Combine a normal consumption of Brazil nuts with various shellfish and seafood and selenium intake should be plenty.
Selenium is a very important nutrient that many humans do not consume enough of on a daily basis. From improving thyroid health to improving heart health to reducing risks of neurological diseases and cancers, selenium is an often overlooked nutrient that you should start incorporating into your balanced diet.