Would you agree when I say that minerals are an important constituent in our daily diet? Its right, isn’t it? Talking about minerals, have you ever heard of selenium or selenium foods? Probably not, right?
Selenium is not a much hyped mineral even though the presence of the same in our body has amazing benefits. It might not be required in ample quantities but this mineral has pronounced health benefits for the overall well being of an individual.
In this article, we are going to focus on the top foods high in selenium that you probably weren’t even aware of.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a mineral that is, for the most part, found in soils and occurs naturally in a few types of foods. Many people often have a misconception that selenium occurs naturally in our body when it doesn’t.
In order to avoid any kind of situation causing selenium deficiency, it is necessary to enrich your diet with permissible consumption of foods with selenium. There are a number of foods that are filled with this underappreciated mineral that you probably weren’t even aware of.
What Foods Have Selenium?
In this section, we have made a comprehensive list of the selenium rich foods that can help you enjoy the amazing benefits of this mineral or even curb its deficiency.
- Brazil Nuts
- Enriched Foods
- Cottage Cheese
- Brown Rice
- Sunflower Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
It is believed that tuna, specifically the yellowfin tuna contains 92 mcg of selenium per 3 ounces of serving. It might not seem like a lot but because of the fact that selenium is not required in hefty quantities in the body, this quantity is good enough.
Other fishes like sardines, crabs, halibut, and oysters contain selenium too but their concentration varies within 40-65 mcg.
2. Brazil Nuts
If you are seeking for the best source of selenium, it probably consists of Brazil nuts. Studies claim that 4-6 Brazil nuts (which is considered as one serving) consists 544 mcg of selenium which is way more than for your body. Eat one nut once or twice in a week which delivers around 60-70 mcg of selenium.
It is very easy to contract selenium toxicity with Brazil nuts because these are very rich and tasty. So, try and avoid the over consumption of these nuts and limit the consumption to 2-3 times a week.
Even pork is an amazing source of selenium that not many people were aware of. Studies show that around three ounces of pork consists of 33 mcg of selenium. That might not seem like a lot but the consumption of pork is generally more than 3 ounces which is why the presence of selenium in pork is definitely a lot more than needed.
The only thing to keep in mind is to opt for lean pork instead of the fatty ones because the excess consumption of fat often tends to contribute to deteriorating heart conditions.
4. Enriched Foods
Enriched foods are categorized as the ones that lose their nutrients in the processing but then the same are again introduced back to the component. Like, wheat tends to lose a good portion of its nutrients while getting milled into flour but these lost nutrients are replenished back after.
These enriched foods like that of pasta, cereals and even breads are sometimes either selenium or fortified with selenium which make them a great source of selenium for our diet.
As per the concentration, it is believed that a cup of cereals or even just noodles consists of 40 mcg of selenium. Be sure to keep the consumption in check and never overdo the same.
Ham is the kind of cured meat that not many people are very fond of, primarily because of the high salt content in the meat. That being said, the controlled and sparing consumption of this doesn’t inflict any kind of negative impacts on the body.
Just a serving of 3 ounces of ham consists of 42 mcg of selenium which accounts for almost 60% of how much selenium one needs for their body. Add a few slices of ham in your sandwiches a few times throughout the week and that should keep it under control.
Chicken is one of the most consumed meats around the world and while we consume it to curb our protein needs, this gives us more than just that. It is a great source of selenium which promotes the functions of our body.
A normal 4 ounces serving of chicken consists of 31.30 mcg of selenium. Does it look like minimal amount for you? Hold on, because no one stops eating chicken at just 3 ounces of service and probably goes way overboard than that.
While the bottom cut of the beef tends to contain 33 mcg of selenium, the beef liver consists of 28 mcg and just the normal ground beef consists of 18 mcg.
Try and opt for a mixture of the cuts rather than solely relying on just one kind of cut of beef.
8. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is very good by product of milk. The curdled cheese has amazing health benefits, from the rich concentration of protein to aiding in proper digestion, it does it all. Not to mention that it is tasty too.
As per studies, cottage cheese consists of around 20 mcg of selenium per serving or you can imagine a cup full of cottage cheese. This accounts for 30% of the selenium requirement of our body. You can add other selenium rich foods along with a cup of cottage cheese to amp up the intake.
9. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a very good replacement for the normal kind of grain or rice that you consume. Not only is it high in nutrition and is good for one’s health, it is also one of the most amazing sources of selenium.
A cup of cooked brown rice delivers around 19.1 mcg of selenium which accounts for 1/4th of the daily selenium requirement of our body. Pair this tasty main course with any kind of meat of your choice and you are good to go with the selenium requirement for the day.
If hardboiled eggs are not your thing and you like the sunny side up, go bonkers because you will get the selenium in your body either way.
Sandwiches are nice, aren’t they? Turkey sandwiches are nicer. Now, turkey, much like the few other types of meat consists of selenium. Much like chicken and beef, every 3 ounces of turkey serving consists of 30-35 mcg of selenium.
If you want to fulfill your quota of selenium requirement for the day, add the pieces of turkey in between two pieces of fortified bread and you are good to go. This should fulfill your hunger and even make up for the mineral requirement
One serving or one cup of spinach consists of 3 mcg of selenium which is just 5% of our daily requirement. It is thus best to not solely rely on spinach for fulfilling your daily selenium requirements and include some other form of selenium rich foods in your diet to get the required amount daily.
13. Sunflower Seeds
Yet one of the amazing sources of selenium is the sunflower seeds. These small seeds are actually very pleasing on the palate and good for the health as well. Sunflower seeds are not just rich in selenium but a number of other nutrients including Vitamin E, B1, copper, folate, magnesium, folate etc.
As per the selenium content, 1/4th cup of selenium seeds consists of 18.55 mcg of selenium. This, on its own, is not enough to suffice the daily selenium requirement which is why you should mix and match it with other selenium food sources to make up for the nutrition.
Mushrooms, the fungi, which is favoured by a huge population globally has amazing effects on one’s health. It is one of the amazing foods rich in selenium and several other nutrients like that of Vitamin D, iron and several others.
One serving of mushroom (a cup of it) is believed to contain around 18.72 mcg of selenium which is a good enough amounts and let’s be honest; you aren’t going to stop at just one serving of mushrooms.
Even the amazing saltwater clams, scallops, are amazing sources of selenium. Not just selenium, scallops are also rich in Vitamin B12, choline and even phosphorus.
As per the dietary indications, a serving of 4 ounces of scallops consists of 24.61 mcg of selenium which is a pretty good percentage for one portion. Make sure to not overeat scallops more than one serving because it can be pretty heavy on the stomach.
If you are looking to fulfill the daily selenium requirement, curb with some other selenium sources.
Lamp is also an amazing variant of meat and is eaten globally because of its rich after taste on the tongue. Apart from being one of the most enticing foods with selenium, lamb is also loaded with other nutritional components like protein, zinc, fat, Vitamins, riboflavin etc.
As per the calculations, one serving of 4 ounces of lamb consists of 27.90 mcg of dietary selenium which is almost 1/3rd of the regular dietary requirement of selenium. Pair this type of meat with a serving or two of brown rice and that should make up for the daily requirement.
If you are someone who is not that fond of rice, barley can be an amazing replacement in your diet. It is one of the best grains that keep you full, helps you gain all the necessary nutrition all the while ensuring to fill you up with the required selenium sources for the day. Barley is rich in vitamin B, selenium, copper, phosphorus, fibers, magnesium etc.
As per the selenium composition of barley, 3/4th cup of cooked barley consists of 23.12 mcg of selenium which is pretty decent given the fact that one tends to eat more than one serving of barley in a meal.
Asparagus is a perennial plant which is often charred, blanched or sometimes eaten raw as well. Apart from being one of the most common sources of selenium, asparagus is also a great source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, pantothenic acid, vitamins, riboflavin etc.
1 cup of asparagus consists of 10.98 mcg of selenium which might not seem like a lot. So, pair it up with a portion of brown rice and even a choice of your meat (turkey, beef, lamb or chicken) and that should make up for the daily requirement of selenium for the body.
19. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are more than just a sprinkle on your pad thai or even just as a topper for bread. What people fail to realize while eating these sesame seeds is the fact that it is rich in a number of nutrients. Apart from being one of the selenium rich foods, it is also a good source of manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc etc.
As per dietary guidelines, 1/4th cup of sesame seeds contains 12.38 mcg of selenium which is definitely quite a good amount. Sprinkle this over noodle dishes or even on the bread to increase the overall selenium consumption.
Cod is considered as one of the best sources of selenium in the diet. It is a low fat and highly nutritious fish which is what makes it one of the best fishes to consume. It is loaded with protein, Vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorus etc. Even the oil secreted from cod liver has amazing nutritional values.
A single serving of cod of 4 ounces of fish consists of 31.75 mcg of selenium which is a very good portion of the regular dietary selenium requirement. Pair it with some brown rice or even some fortified bread and you are well fed for the day with your daily requirement of selenium.
|Food source||Serving or Consumed Quantity||Amount of selenium present (mcg)|
|Brazil Nuts||1 nut||60-70|
|Enriched Foods||A cup||40|
|Cottage Cheese||A cup||20|
|Brown Rice||1 cup||19.1|
|Sunflower Seeds||1/4th cup||18.55|
|Sesame Seeds||1/4th cup||12.38|
Chart resource: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=95&tname=nutrient
Why is Selenium a Necessity for Your health?
Selenium is a mineral that is required by our body in minimal quantities but the requirements are just as important. Oxidative stress in the body due to excess amount of free radicals can often be very ghastly for the body. Selenium is a mineral that has positive impacts on the body, especially for lowering the oxidative stress in the body.
This is the primary reason why you need to increase the intake of selenium foods in your diet to compensate for the dietary requirement of this mineral.
The common selenium foods benefits include:
1. Have Amazing Anti-Oxidant Properties
Free radicals are a must have for our bodies. It is necessary for several aspects of body functioning, even for fighting against a number of diseases. But, the moment the same gets out of hand, the body undergoes oxidative stress which is definitely not good, at all.
These kinds of conditions often get worse with smoking or drinking. If you are an avid smoker or drinker, there are chances that your body will undergo excess stress because of the excessive free radicals in the body.
2. Beneficial for Heart Health
Studies have shown that selenium is actually beneficial for the proper and healthy functioning of the heart. The low levels of selenium in the body often times posed threat with the increase in the arterial coronary problems.
Not only do the foods high in selenium help curb the excessive inflammation in the body, it also propels the production of glutathione peroxidase, a beneficial anti-oxidant.
It helps prevent inflammation and also reduces oxidative stress in the body – the two most important factors behind atherosclerosis, one of the most potent risks for the heart.
3. Potent Solution for Certain Cancers
Cancer is a life threatening disease, which is not news, right? While the researches for the treatment of cancer is still in progress, there are a few ways that one can opt to keep the possibility of this at bay.
In a study conducted on selenium levels and cancer risks on over 300,000 people branching out in 69 different studies, it was found that the optimum levels of selenium in the blood contributed to curing a few types of cancer, predominantly colon, breast and even lung cancer.
Apart from gaining this mineral through the selenium food sources, the same can also be coerced with the supplements which produce results just as good. In fact, the oral consumption of supplements proved to reduce the degrading side effects that come with the radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
4. Improves the Condition of Thyroid Functioning
Our thyroid gland plays a very crucial role in the maintenance of our body functions, especially the one related to the hormonal balance of our body. If you weren’t aware, our thyroid gland tissues constitute of selenium, for the most part.
Consuming selenium rich foods is a necessity primarily because of the fact that it helps shield the thyroid gland from oxidative stress and even regulates the production of thyroid hormones.
Several studies have concluded that the deficiency of consumption of selenium foods tend to affect the functioning of the thyroid gland and result in developing conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Not just that, even the lowered levels of serum selenium resulted in conditions like hypothyroidism which have several adverse effects on the body. The treatment of thyroid disorders with selenium is a booming concept that actually provides with amazing results.
5. Preventing Nervous Degenerative Diseases
Alzheimer’s disease is a very common neural degenerative disease that affects people, primarily old people. Excessive oxidative stress is the primary contributing factor to the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, studies say.
In a study conducted on French individuals, it was found that every person suffering from Alzheimer’s had a noticeable deficiency of selenium in their blood which is evidence enough to claim for a fact that selenium does actually play a significant role in the development of this disease.
Consumption of foods with selenium helps improve the cognitive ability, along with the boosting their memory which in itself is a marvellous achievement.
6. A Good Booster of Immunity
The immune system is responsible for the overall well being of our body. It is what fights off the disease causing microbes and foreign particles to boost our overall immunity.
It is often claimed that the excess presence of free radicals in the body is a contributing factor to the degeneration of our immunity because of the increased oxidative stress in our body.
Selenium, which is rich in antioxidants, helps fight off the building oxidative stress in the body and improves the overall immunity of an individual. It boosts the healthy production of immune cells and helps fight the foreign particles that hinder with the functioning of the body.
How Much Selenium Should I Take?
Much like every other nutrient and mineral, the consumption of foods high in selenium should never surpass more than necessary because the same can result in an overdose which definitely is ghastly for the body.
As per the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), the daily dosage of selenium primarily skirts within the range of 200 – 400 mcg daily, the latter being the optimum level, crossing which, results in an overdose.
For children, the range varies from 20-40 mcg per day, depending on their age. For normal consumption levels for adults, the range normally varies from 55 – 70 mcg daily.
Foods high in selenium should necessarily make their place in your daily diet because of the fact that this specific mineral is important for the overall functions of the body. Whatever the selenium sources be, it is necessary to ensure that you never surpass the permissible levels of consumption because the same often times results in adverse effects.