20 Selenium Rich Foods You Should Include In Your Diet
If you’re looking to get smarter about your health, your diet will need working on. Selenium isn’t exactly something we look to get more of as kids, but as we get older and learn more about nutrition, names like selenium pop up all the time. But what is selenium and why do we need it?
Selenium is a mineral that your body needs in moderate amounts. It doesn’t need too much but it needs enough. If you over-consume selenium, you could end up feeling exhausted, irritable and you might have spots on your nails. On the other hand, if you don’t get enough selenium, you might suffer a number of health problems, including reproductive disorder, liver problems, thyroid gland disorder and fatigue. Selenium can also ward off more dangerous diseases, too, such as cancer. As well as being a mineral, selenium is also an antioxidant that combats free radicals that are intent on causing as much destruction as possible. Selenium also works with your immune system, strengthening it so that you are able to fight off infection as soon as possible. Although supplements are available, the best – and most tastiest – way to get the right amount of selenium into your body is by eating the right foods. Here are 20 selenium rich foods you should include in your diet.
We’re going to start with the absolute bad boy of the selenium world, brazil nuts. Brazil nuts contain more selenium per 100g serving, than anything else you’ll see on this list or elsewhere. They contain so much that it’s practically off the chart. As we’ve just mentioned, though, there is such a thing as too much selenium. As such, if you do decide to stock up on brazil nuts you must be careful not to go, well, NUTS! For every 100g serving, brazil nuts contain a whopping 1,917mcg of selenium. As we’ll find out shortly when we take a look at the other selenium-rich foods, that’s an incredible amount of selenium that nothing else can compete with. It’s off the scale! A 100g serving of brazil nuts also contains a massive 656 calories, so you definitely have to be careful not to overdo things!
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and Beauty and Tips can’t recommend them enough. They’re an excellent way to start the day as they probably fuel you up and get your metabolism firing. However, what you might not have realised is that eggs are also rich in the right amount of selenium. Indeed, a medium egg contributes to around 20% of your daily recommended amount of selenium. That’s pretty good, especially when you consider that you could make scrambled eggs out of 2 eggs in the morning and get 40% of your recommended amount before noon. As well as selenium, eggs also contain phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.
If you scramble your eggs with cheese you’re getting even more bang for your buck. Like eggs, cheese is pretty versatile and can be squeezed into so many different types of meals. And like eggs, it’s also rich in selenium, with a 100gm serving of cheese providing 20% of your daily recommended amount of selenium. Cheese also contains calcium, protein, phosphorus, as well as vitamins A and B12.
If you don’t fancy having eggs for breakfast, you could have oats instead. A bowl of oatmeal contains around 34 mcg of selenium, which is pretty good. Oatmeal also contains phosphorus, manganese and magnesium, as well as lots of fibre. They’re a great way to kick start the day, especially if you add quinoa, mixed berries and fresh fruit to your bow.
Seeds are super healthy for you and they’re also really easy to get into your diet. Whether you add them to your bowl of oatmeal in the morning, your smoothie, your yogurt or eat them directly out of your hand, seeds are really versatile. Sunflower seeds are among the best when it comes to their health benefits, and they’re also the winners when it comes to their selenium content. A 100g serving contains around 78mcg of selenium, which is awesome. “But aren’t sunflower seeds also high in fat?” We hear you. Sunflower seeds are high in fat, but it’s the good types of fat – mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. They do contain saturated fat too, but only around 4%.
Not everyone likes mushrooms, whether it’s down to their taste, appearance of the fact that they’re fungi! But if you happen to love mushrooms in some form or other (there are SO many different varieties), you’ll be pleased to read that mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium. Whether you cook them, boil them, roast them or fry ‘em, mushrooms deliver around 17% of your daily recommended amount of selenium per 100 grams. As well as selenium, mushrooms are also rich in vitamin C and D, niacin, riboflavin, copper, potassium and iron. As a bonus, they’re low in calories and fat. Win!
Pasta in general is a good source of selenium, but spaghetti is our clear winner, containing 26mcg of selenium per a 100g serving.
Provided you eat meat, pork is a good source of selenium. 100 gram of pork contains around 71% of your daily recommended amount of selenium, which is pretty massive. The problem with pork, however, it that it’s also high on calories. As such, if you’re on a low calorie diet at the moment, you might want to skip this one. On the other hand, pork contains plenty of vitamin B12, zinc, protein, phosphorous and iron. So if you do consume pork, try not to overdo things. It’s definitely not the healthiest meat on the planet, it doesn’t contain much protein and it’s pretty high in fat too.
Continuing with the unhealthy foods, bacon is easily the unhealthiest one on this list. It’s rich in saturated fat (the bad kind of fat), as well as a massive dollop cholesterol. That said, bacon is also a good source of selenium, which means it isn’t all bad. If you already eat bacon and don’t want to give it up, the fact that it contains a key mineral is a silver lining. If you don’t eat bacon, we recommend that you try other foods in this list first. They’re healthier overall.
Much healthier than both pork and bacon, spinach is the dark leafy green your mom tried to get you to eat more of when you were a kid. If you shook your head back then, it’s now time to get onboard with spinach as it’s an excellent (and tasty) source of selenium.
One of the most affordable and yet also tastiest fish available (especially when combined with mayonnaise, heaven!) tuna is rich in good fats and protein. It also contains a good amount of selenium, which is why it’s on this list. In fact, you can get over 100% of your daily recommended amount of selenium by eating 100 gram of tuna. Nice. As well as selenium, tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide lots of health benefits of their own. It also contains B-vitamins, and it’s low on calories and carbs. Tuna sandwich, anyone? We think so!
Slightly more of a left-field source of selenium, if you love seafood you probably love cabs. If you love seafood but still haven’t tried crabs, now is a good a time as any to give them a shot. Crabs aren’t quite as rich in selenium as tuna, but a 100 gram serving still gets you around 63% of your daily recommended amount. That’s still very good. Like tuna, crabs are also a good source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain a good amount of protein too, as well as zinc, vitamin B12 and copper.
Octopus and Squid
An even more left field source of selenium than crab is octopus and squid. Neither of these are hugely popular in the Western world (at least compared with nations like Japan), but they’re both good sources of selenium. If you can get hold of them, you should add them to your diet. One of the problems people have with both octopus and squid is that they can feel a bit chewy, if they haven’t been cooked properly. This is easily remedied of course by cooking the meat properly. Alternatively, why not treat yourself to a meal at a restaurant and order some octopus? Lovely!
Whole Wheat Bread
Another good source of selenium is whole wheat bread in its various forms, including medium dinner roll, English muffin, pita bread and oat bran bagel.
Often heralded as a superfood (and rightly so), salmon is rich in an abundance of good fats, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It also contains a decent amount of selenium. Numerous health experts and nutritionists recommend that we eat salmon a few times per week, because it really is that beneficial. It’s great when paired up with scrambled eggs, and doing so means that you’re getting even more selenium into your diet. Salmon can also be paired up with mushrooms or added to a cream cheese bagel. And, of course, both mushrooms and cheese are other good sources of selenium. Among other things, salmon can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and cancer.
The good thing about chicken is that it’s so easy to get hold of. It’s here, there and everywhere! It’s available in your local grocery store, in your fast food joint and in most restaurants. It’s also really affordable and a good source of selenium. To make the most of chicken, we recommend that you go for organic chicken breasts, as they’re especially rich in protein. They also don’t contain the nasty growth hormones and antibiotics that are typically pumped into cheaper chickens. If you buy skinless chicken, you’ll also benefit from less fats, while a 100g serving contains around 25mcg of selenium.
Like chicken, beef is really easy to get hold of. The local supermarkets and butchers will stock it, and provided you already eat meat, beef can be added to your list of selenium rich foods. In fact, while Americans have a lot of health issues going on, one of the things they’re not generally short of is selenium. This is because the likes of chicken and beef contain good amounts of the key mineral, both of which are popular with Americans. The only question you really have to answer is, chicken or beef burger?! For every 100g serving, beef contains around 19mcg of selenium. The problem is that beef is high on calories. A low calorie substitute would be…
If you’re on a low-fat, low calorie diet at the moment, shrimp is a better option than chicken right now. It tastes great, is well-stocked up on selenium, and contains a lot less calories. It also contains less calories and has more selenium than beef. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should go totally nuts for shrimp and eat loads of it. It should still be eaten in moderation because, of course, you don’t want to end up with too much selenium in your system. 100g of shrimp contains as much as 52mcg of selenium and just 44 calories. Not bad, huh?!
Oysters were really popular and affordable in Britain before the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war, they became an expensive delicacy. Before and after the war, oysters have always been known as a bit of an aphrodisiac, and they’re also rich in selenium. There might even be a link between their selenium content and them being an aphrodisiac. Selenium helps to regulate your thyroid, which in turn regulates your sexual function. Interesting! Oysters are a good source of protein too, and a 100g serving contains around 79mcg of selenium.
Lastly, whole grains – which include quinoa and brown rice – are a fab source of selenium that should definitely be included on your grocery list from now on.
Stay happy and healthy!