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What Food is Rich in Selenium: The Ultimate Guide to Selenium Rich Foods


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Looking to boost your selenium intake but not sure which foods are the best sources? Look no further! In this ultimate guide to selenium-rich foods, we’ve got you covered. Selenium is an essential trace mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, from supporting a healthy immune system to promoting proper thyroid function. And while selenium can be found in a wide variety of foods, some are particularly rich in this important mineral. So, if your question is What food is rich in selenium, we assure you that you will get the best answers here.

In this article, we’ll explore a range of selenium-rich foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet. From nuts and seeds like Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds to seafood such as tuna and shrimp, we’ll provide a comprehensive list of options to choose from. 

We’ll also discuss the recommended daily intake of selenium, its potential benefits, and how to ensure you’re getting enough of this valuable nutrient. So whether you’re a health-conscious individual or looking to address specific deficiencies, join us on this journey to discover the ultimate selenium-rich foods and make your meals both nutritious and delicious!

The Importance of Selenium in Body Functions

Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. This, in turn, helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer

Selenium also supports a healthy immune system, enabling your body to fight off infections and illnesses more effectively. Additionally, selenium is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism, contributing to the proper functioning of your thyroid gland.

While selenium is important for maintaining overall health, it is especially critical for individuals with certain conditions. People with autoimmune thyroiditis, for example, may benefit from increased selenium intake as it can help reduce inflammation and improve thyroid function. Similarly, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, may experience improved immune response with adequate selenium levels.

To ensure you’re getting enough selenium in your diet, incorporating selenium-rich foods is essential. Let’s explore the health benefits of these selenium-packed foods in more detail.

Health Benefits of Selenium Rich Foods

1. Strong Antioxidant Properties: 

Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and protecting your cells from oxidative stress. This can help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and slow down the aging process.

2. Enhanced Immune Function: 

Selenium plays a crucial role in supporting a healthy immune system. It helps activate immune cells and promotes the production of antibodies, which are essential for fighting off infections and illnesses.

3. Thyroid Function Support: 

Selenium is necessary for the production and activation of thyroid hormones. Adequate selenium levels can help regulate thyroid function, ensuring optimal metabolism, growth, and development.

4. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: 

Selenium’s antioxidant properties contribute to heart health by reducing inflammation, preventing plaque buildup in arteries, and maintaining healthy blood vessel function. This can lower the risk of heart disease and related conditions.

5. Protection Against Certain Cancers: 

Selenium has been linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate, lung, colorectal, and bladder cancer. Its antioxidant properties and ability to repair DNA damage play a crucial role in cancer prevention.

6. Improved Fertility: 

Selenium is essential for reproductive health in both men and women. It helps protect sperm cells from oxidative damage, supports healthy sperm production, and promotes optimal hormone balance in women.

7. Improved cognitive function: 

Selenium has been linked to brain health and may help prevent cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders.

Now that we understand the numerous health benefits of selenium, let’s dive into the top 10 selenium-rich foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet.

Common Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency is rare in most developed countries, thanks to the wide availability of selenium-rich foods. However, certain populations, such as those with gastrointestinal disorders or those living in regions with low soil selenium content, may be at a higher risk of deficiency. If your body lacks sufficient selenium, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:

1. Weakened immune system: 

Selenium deficiency can impair immune function, leading to increased susceptibility to infections and slower wound healing.

2. Fatigue and weakness: 

Insufficient selenium levels may contribute to feelings of fatigue and weakness, affecting your energy levels and overall vitality.

3. Thyroid dysfunction: 

Selenium deficiency can disrupt thyroid function, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, and mood changes.

4. Cognitive impairment: 

Low selenium levels have been associated with poor cognitive function, including memory problems and decreased mental clarity.

If you suspect that you may be deficient in selenium, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on improving your selenium status.

Recommended Daily Intake of Selenium

The recommended daily intake of selenium varies depending on age, sex, and certain health conditions. The following are the general guidelines for selenium intake recommended by NIH:

  • Adults: The recommended daily intake for adults is 55 micrograms (mcg) per day.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Pregnant women require 60 mcg while breastfeeding women need 70 mcg of selenium daily.
  • Children and teenagers: The recommended daily intake for children and teenagers ranges from 20 mcg to 55 mcg, depending on age.
  • From birth to 6 months – 15 mcg
  • Babies aged 7–12 months – 20 mcg
  • Kids aged 1 to 3 years – 20 mcg
  • Children aged 4 to 8 years – 30 mcg
  • Children aged 9 to 13 years – 40 mcg
  • Teens aged 14 to 18 years – 55 mcg

It’s important to note that excessive selenium intake can be harmful. The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for selenium is set at 400 mcg per day for adults. 

It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine your specific selenium needs based on your circumstances.

What Food is Rich in Selenium?

Top 10 Foods High In Selenium

Adding selenium-rich foods into your diet is an excellent way to ensure you’re meeting your daily selenium needs. Here are the top 10 selenium-rich foods 

1. Brazil Nuts: 

Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium, with just one nut containing your daily recommended intake(68-91mcg). Snack on a handful of these delicious nuts or incorporate them into your favorite recipes for a selenium boost.

2. Sardines: 

Not only are sardines packed with omega-3 fatty acids, but they also provide a significant amount of selenium(44-75mcg/100g). Enjoy these nutrient-dense fish grilled, canned, or added to salads and pasta dishes.

3. Eggs: 

Eggs are a versatile and affordable source of selenium. Whether you prefer them scrambled, boiled, or in omelets, eggs make it easy to increase your selenium intake while enjoying a protein-packed meal. One hardboiled egg contains 20mcg of Selenium.

4. Chicken: 

Chicken is not only a great source of lean protein but also contains selenium. Opt for organic or free-range chicken for the highest selenium content and enjoy it grilled, baked, or roasted. In 3 ounces of chicken, you will get 22-25mcg of selenium.

5. Whole Grains: 

Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa not only provide fiber and essential nutrients but also contribute to your selenium intake. Swap refined grains for whole grains to reap the benefits.

  • Raw Oats – 30.1mcg of selenium per cup
  • Cooked Brown Rice – 19mcg of selenium per cup
  • Cooked Quinoa – 5.18mcg of Selenium per cup

6. Sunflower Seeds: 

These small but mighty seeds are not only delicious but also rich in selenium. Sprinkle them over salads, or yogurt, or enjoy them as a healthy snack to boost your selenium levels. They’re packed with other nutrients like vitamin E and healthy fats. One oz of sunflower seeds contain 18mcg Selenium.

7. Mushrooms: 

Mushrooms are not only a versatile ingredient but also a good source of selenium. Add them to stir-fries, soups, or pasta dishes to enhance the flavor and increase your selenium intake. 100g mushroom contains 12mcg of Selenium.

8. Tuna: 

Tuna is not only a delicious fish but also a great source of selenium. Whether canned or fresh, tuna is a convenient way to add selenium to your diet. Enjoy it in salads, sandwiches, or grilled as a main dish. 45mcg of selenium in 3ounce of tinned Tuna.

9. Beef: 

Lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin or tenderloin, provide selenium along with essential amino acids. Incorporate beef into your meals a few times a week to increase your selenium intake. 3 ounces of roasted beef steak contains 33mcg of selenium.

10. Spinach:

 This nutrient-packed leafy green is not only high in iron and vitamins but also contains 11 mcg of selenium per cup. Enjoy spinach in salads, smoothies, or sautéed as a nutritious side dish.

+Bonus One – Shrimp: 

Seafood lovers rejoice! Shrimp is not only tasty but also a good source of selenium. 40mcg of selenium in 3ounces of shrimp. Shrimp is also low in calories and high in protein, making it a healthy choice.

Incorporating these selenium-rich foods into your meals can help you meet your daily selenium requirements while enjoying a diverse and tasty diet.

2 Selenium-Rich Diet Recipe Wonders!

 Let’s explore Two delicious Selenium rich diet recipes that feature these ingredients:

1. Brazilian Nut Energy Balls


  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Prepare

  1. In a food processor, combine Brazil nuts, dates, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, honey, and vanilla extract.
  2. Pulse until the mixture comes together and forms a sticky dough.
  3. Roll the mixture into small balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
  5. Enjoy these delicious energy balls as a healthy snack or post-workout treat.

Health Benefits of Brazilian Nut Energy Balls

Energize your day with Brazilian Nut Energy Balls! Packed with selenium-rich Brazil nuts, these bites support immunity and metabolism. Natural sweetness from dates and honey makes for a guilt-free treat, while the blend of healthy fats and antioxidants aids post-workout recovery. Convenient and delicious, these energy balls are your go-to snack for a quick, nutritious boost!

2. Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • /2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta

How to Prepare

  1. In a food processor, combine basil leaves, sunflower seeds, minced garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Process until the mixture forms a smooth paste.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss with the sunflower seed pesto.
  5. Serve hot and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

These recipes are just a starting point, and you can get creative with your culinary adventures using selenium-rich ingredients.

5 Selenium-Rich Recipe Ideas

1. Selenium-rich sardine and Quinoa Salad: 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool. In a bowl, mix cooked quinoa, diced sardines, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs for a refreshing and selenium-packed salad.

2. Selenium-rich mushroom and Spinach Omelet: 

Sauté sliced mushrooms and spinach in a non-stick pan until tender. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with a splash of milk, salt, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms and spinach and cook until set. Enjoy a delicious and selenium-rich omelet for breakfast or brunch.

3. Selenium-Rich Broccoli Soup

This soup is a great way to get your daily dose of selenium. To make it, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Add chopped broccoli and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the broccoli is tender. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Selenium-Packed Salmon Patties:

These patties are a delicious way to get your daily dose of selenium. To make them, mix canned salmon, breadcrumbs, chopped onions, and an egg in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Form the mixture into patties and fry in a non-stick pan until golden brown. Serve hot with a side salad.

5. Selenium-Boosted Quinoa Bowl:

This quinoa bowl is a great way to get your daily dose of selenium. To make it, cook quinoa according to package instructions and let it cool. In a bowl, mix cooked quinoa, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and black beans. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Serve cold with a squeeze of lime juice.

Incorporating these recipes and selenium-rich foods into your daily routine will not only enhance your diet but also provide you with the numerous health benefits associated with selenium.

5 Easy Tips to Help You Do the Selenium Rich Diet

1. Snack on Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds: 

Keep a stash of Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds on hand for a quick and healthy snack. They’re easy to grab and munch on throughout the day.

2. Add tuna or shrimp to your salads: 

Boost the selenium content of your salads by adding grilled tuna or shrimp. Not only will it provide a delicious flavor, but it’ll also increase your selenium intake.

3. Include eggs in your breakfast: 

Whip up a nutritious breakfast by incorporating eggs. Whether you prefer them scrambled, boiled, or in an omelet, eggs are a versatile and selenium-rich option.

4. Grill or bake chicken: 

Instead of frying, opt for grilling or baking chicken to retain its nutritional value. Season it with herbs and spices for added flavor.

5. Experiment with mushrooms: 

Try different varieties of mushrooms and experiment with recipes that feature them as a main ingredient. From stuffed mushrooms to mushroom risotto, the possibilities are endless.

By incorporating these selenium-rich foods into your meals, you can enjoy a varied and wholesome diet while reaping the benefits of selenium.

Potential Risks and Precautions Associated with Selenium Consumption

While selenium is an essential nutrient, excessive intake can lead to selenium toxicity, also known as selenosis. Symptoms of selenosis may include:

  1. Garlic-like breath odor
  2. Nausea and digestive issues
  3. Brittle hair and nails
  4. Skin rashes

To avoid selenium toxicity, it’s essential to stay within the recommended daily intake and avoid excessive selenium supplementation without medical supervision. If you’re concerned about your selenium levels or are considering selenium supplements, consult with a healthcare professional for guidance.

Supplementing Selenium in Your Diet

In some cases, individuals may require selenium supplementation to address specific deficiencies or health conditions. Selenium supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquid drops.

However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure it aligns with your individual needs.

Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet. It’s always best to focus on incorporating selenium-rich foods into your meals and using supplements as a complementary measure when necessary.

Final thoughts on What Food is Rich in Selenium

Selenium is a vital mineral that supports various aspects of your health, from antioxidant protection to immune function and thyroid health. By incorporating selenium-rich foods into your diet, you can experience the numerous benefits associated with this essential nutrient.

Whether you’re looking for a boost in selenium intake or simply want to add variety to your meals, these foods will power up your diet and optimize your well-being. Start incorporating these selenium-rich gems into your meal plans today and experience the positive impact they can have on your health.

Image Credit:

Image by nensuria on Freepik

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