Selenium is a vital trace mineral needed by our body in small amounts. Just like other vitamins and minerals, selenium plays an important role in proper functioning of the body. Deficiency of selenium can lead to several health issues like fatigue, thyroid gland disorder, liver problems, reproductive disorder etc. Selenium aids the prevention of serious health issues like Keshan disease and cancer. Overdose of selenium can cause spots on nails, irritation, fatigue etc.
Before proceeding to the selenium rich foods, let us first discuss the functions of this mineral:
Importance of Selenium for the Body:
Listed below are the functions of selenium that makes it an important mineral.
- Antioxidant: Selenium is an antioxidant. Thus, it helps remove free radicals from our body which can cause many health issues like cancer, heart problems, premature ageing etc.
- Immune system: Selenium plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the immune system. It helps in developing T cells of WBCs. Deficiency of selenium can lead to dysfunction of the antibodies.
- Thyroid gland: Selenium is essential for thyroid gland functioning after iodine. Without selenium, the thyroid hormone does not activate or work properly. If selenium is not there in required amount, excess iodine may damage the thyroid gland.
Recommended Daily Requirement:
Being a trace mineral, selenium is needed by our body in small amounts. The table given below shows the recommended dietary amount of selenium for different age groups.
|Age Group||Recommended Daily Amount|
|1-3 years||20 mcg.|
|4-8 years||30 mcg.|
|9-13 years||40 mcg.|
|Above 14 years||55 mcg.|
|Pregnancy and Breastfeeding||60-70 mcg.|
Top 20 Selenium Rich Foods:
The best way to get the recommended amount of selenium is to incorporate it in your diet. There are certain foods that are exceptionally good sources of selenium. However, it is advisable to consume them in the right amount to fulfill the daily requirement of selenium. Excess of mineral in the body is also associated with side effects. Given below are 20 such foods that are the best sources of selenium and hence, can form a part of your balanced diet.
We all know that eggs are nutritious and an excellent protein source. They are a good source of Selenium as well. One medium egg contains about 13.9 mcg contributing nearly 20% of the daily value (DV) of selenium. Other nutrients present in eggs in good amount include riboflavin, vitamin b12, vitamin D and phosphorous.
Having cheese is another way to add selenium to your food. Cheese is a versatile food that can be fitted easily in any diet plan. A serving of100 gm 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.
Mushrooms are basically fungi, but they have many essential nutrients. Mushrooms can be cooked, boiled or roasted before eating. There is about 11.9 mcg or 17 % DV of selenium in 100 gm of mushrooms. They are a good source of iron, potassium, copper, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and vitamin D. They also contain good amount of dietary fibre. They are low in fat, calories and carbohydrates and hence, can easily form part of any diet plan.
Oats are renowned as a healthy breakfast cereals. Needless to say they are a good source of selenium as well. A serving of 100 gm oats contains about 34 mcg of selenium. Oats are a good source of minerals like magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. They also contain 42 % dietary fibre which is good for digestion. Besides, they are low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
5. Brazil Nuts:
Brazil nuts are rich source of selenium providing a whopping 1917 mcg of this mineral in a 100 gm serving. They can be added to desserts, puddings etc. or eaten salted, roasted and raw. They contain about 30 % of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and copper. But one should be careful of their consumption as they are also high in calories.
Most of us love fried, grilled, cooked all chicken dishes. The pleasing part is that chicken is a good source of selenium. A serving of 100 gm Chicken contains about 27.6 mcg selenium, which is equivalent to 39% of its DV. Chicken is a very good source of protein. Vitamin present in it in good amount include Niacin and Vitamin B6. It is also a good source of minerals like phosphorous and potassium. Chicken is low in calories and fat and has a high content of cholesterol.
Beef is a good source of selenium providing about 91.4 mcg or 131% DV of selenium in a 100 gm serving. It is a good source of protein. Minerals present in good amount other than selenium are iron, copper and phosphorous. It also contains good amounts of vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin C. However, beef also has a high amount of cholesterol, so it should be consumed in moderation.
Pork is another good non-vegetarian source of selenium. 100 gm pork contains about 49.6 mcg which is equivalent to 71% DV of selenium. Pork has high amount of calories and hence you need to be careful if you are on a low calorie diet. Pork is also a good source of iron, phosphorous, protein, zinc and vitamin B12.
Among the grains, wheat is a good source of selenium, providing 70.7 mcg or 101% DV per 100 gm. You can go for wheat bread and other wheat products and recipes for its nutritional value. Wheat is a good source of dietary fibre and manganese. It has a low content of saturated fat and also a good source of B-vitamins.
As we all know, fish are a rich source of protein and unsaturated fats. Tuna fish is particularly rich in selenium. It contains about 80.4 mcg or 115%DV of selenium per 100 gm. It also contains omega -3 fatty acids, which prevent various health issues. It contains B-vitamins in good amount. Moreover, it is low in carbohydrates and calories. So next time, you want to boost your selenium levels, try having a tuna sandwich!
Oyster is a shellfish which is also a good source of selenium. It contains about 63.7 mcg or 91% DV of selenium in a 100 gm serving. Apart from selenium, oysters are an excellent source of minerals like zinc, copper and iron. Vitamins present in oysters in good amount include vitamin B12 and vitamin D. They also have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Oysters can be eaten raw, fried, roasted, boiled or canned.
12.Whole Grain Rye:
Rye provides nearly 50% of the daily value of selenium. A 100 gm serving of rye contains 35.3 mcg of selenium. This whole grain is rich in dietary fiber, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Rye also contains 30 % of protein. Vitamins and minerals present in rye in good amount include all B-vitamins, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, copper and magnesium.
Crunchy, sweet sunflower seeds contain many vital nutrients, selenium being one of them. A serving of 100 gm sunflower seeds contains about 53.0 mcg of selenium, which is equivalent to 76% of its daily value. Other minerals present in good amount are manganese, copper, magnesium and phosphorous. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of vitamin E and vitamin B.
Salmon is another fish that is a good source of selenium. A serving of 100 gm salmon contains approx. 41.4 mcg or 59% DV of selenium. Salmon has zero carb and low calories. It has a high amount of omega- 6 fatty acids. It contains approx. 44% of protein in it. Salmon is also a good source of B-Vitamins. Minerals found in good amount in salmon include phosphorous and potassium.
If you are suffering from selenium deficiency, swap your white rice with brown rice. This cereal grain is good for health. 100 gm brown rice contains about 9.8 mcg or14% DV of selenium. It also contains a good amount of minerals like manganese and phosphorous. Brown rice is a good source of dietary fibre.
Apart from being a very good source of protein, this poultry meat can also help boost your selenium levels. 100 gm of turkey provides 22.8 mcg or 33 % DV of selenium. Turkey has an edge over other meats as it has a low content of saturated fat, carbohydrate and calories. It is also a good source of riboflavin and phosphorous.
Shrimps are one of the popular seafood. 100 gm of shrimps contain about 39.6 mcg (57% DV) of selenium. Shrimps are low in calories and fat. They have a good content of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Minerals and vitamins found in good amounts are iron, phosphorous, and vitamin B12.
Those who love crabs can incorporate them in their diet to get the required selenium. 100 gm of crabs contain 44.4 mcg or 63% DV of selenium. Crabs have a good content of omega 3 fatty acids and are a good source of protein. They are a good source of minerals like copper, zinc as well as vitamin B12.
19. Soya Beans:
In comparison to the foods listed above, soya beans have a lower content of selenium. But considering the fact that selenium is a trace mineral, they can be consumed by vegetarians to get the recommended value of selenium. You can add them in your diet by simply cooking, boiling, or using them as flour. Soya beans 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 soya beans include vitamin K, manganese, iron, phosphorous and magnesium.
Spaghetti is basically a form of pasta, which is also a good source of selenium. A serving of 100 gm spaghetti contains about 26.4 mcg or 38%DV of selenium in it. It has low amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. Nutrients present in good amount include manganese, folate and thiamine.
Hence, if you are concerned of selenium deficiency, waste no time in incorporating these foods in your diet. Make sure to include the above foods anyhow in your diet regime. Also, do not forget to share your valuable feedback with us.