Selenium is one of many important dietary minerals, and we require a small amount of selenium in our daily diet. Selenium is incorporated in a small cluster of important proteins, each of which plays a critical role in our health.
Selenium has received publicity over the past couple decades based on some confusing and contradictory research about whether low-selenium diets are implicated in cancer risk. To date, this is still a question without a clear answer.
Regardless of whether selenium deficiency is associated with increased risk of cancer, it is clear that good selenium nutrition is important for antioxidant protection and for other health reasons as well. Here are 10 selenium rich foods.
1. Brazil Nuts
Without a doubt, Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. One study showed that just two brazil nuts per day for 12 weeks raised selenium levels to a normal range.
- 1/2 oz. contains a whopping 268 mcg, 479% of daily requirement and 95 calories.
- Just one Brazil nut per day can provide 75 mcg of selenium.
Tuna contains a decent amount of selenium, as well as protein and omega-3s, all of which play a part in a healthy and balanced diet. However, you should only eat tuna a few times a week due to mercury concerns, but most health experts agree it’s worth including in your diet for all of the benefits it provides.
Having cheese is another way to add selenium to your diet. Cheese is a versatile food that can be fitted easily in any diet plan. A serving of 100 g cheese provides about 15 mcg or 20% DV of selenium.
Apart from selenium, cheese is a good source of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorous and protein. Cheese has high content of saturated fat and one should be alert before its consumption as it can lead to health issues. Moderation is the key to reap its benefits.
Salmon ranks as a superfood thanks to its high protein count, high levels of omega-3s, and impressive levels of healthy fats. Many health experts recommend eating salmon several times per week as part of a diet to keep cancer and heart disease away. It also has a respectable amount of selenium per serving, while keeping calories in check.
In comparison to the foods listed above, soybeans have a lower content of selenium. But considering the fact that selenium is a trace mineral, vegetarians can consume them to get the recommended value of selenium. You can add them in your diet by simply cooking, boiling, or using them as flour.
Soybeans have 7.3 mcg or 10% DV of selenium per 100 gm. They are also a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids. Nutrients present in a good amount of soybeans include vitamin K, manganese, iron, phosphorous and magnesium.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are also relatively high in selenium, and also have healthy fats that your body needs to be at its best. So even though it’s relatively high in fat, it’s coming from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 4% coming from saturated fat. Opt for dry roasted to keep the saturated fat count down.
7. Green Vegetables
Selenium is just one of many nutrients you’ll find in green vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and spinach. In fact, greens are generally one of the best nutritional smorgasbords of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, protein, calcium, magnesium, and chlorophyll available. If these aren’t the cornerstones of your diet, they need to be!
- 1-cup cabbage contains 3.5 mcg 6% of DRI and 44 calories.
- 1-cup spinach contains 3 mcg 5% of DRI and 41 calories.
- 1-cup broccoli contains 2.5 mcg 4% of DRI and 55 calories.
Pork though generally not considered very healthy meat compared to other animal protein sources is a good source of selenium. 100 g of lean tenderloin of pork yields 51.6 mcg of selenium. This is the highest amount of selenium that can be found in a meat source.
9. Lima or Pinto Beans
Poll any group of third graders for their favorite foods and it’s unlikely that lima or pinto beans will be on the list. But, there’s no denying their nutritional potency. In addition to selenium, lima and pinto beans are a great source of protein and fiber.
- 1 cup cooked contains 10 mcg of selenium, about 17% of your daily requirement.
Shrimp is a great protein choice when looking to up your selenium reserves. That’s because when you compare it to chicken and beef it has more selenium and fewer calories than either one. This doesn’t give a license for the endless shrimp special at your local seafood chain, but it does mean that you can enjoy shrimp in your regular menu lineup for its quality protein content and other benefits.
- Avoid consuming excess amounts of Selenium. It can be poisonous if taken in large quantity.
- Excessive intake can lead to depression, skin problems, loss of fingernails, respiratory problems, liver kidney and heart disorders and cardiovascular problems.
- Its side effects include hair loss, skin cancer, and white spots on fingernails, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, nerve damage and diabetes.