Selenium is an essential mineral that we must consume through our diet since our bodies are not able to produce it. It is crucial for many vital body functions such as maintaining a healthy metabolism and keeping the thyroid function intact. It is found in the soil and is thus naturally present in water and some foods such as walnuts, tuna, herring, beef, poultry, and grains. Selenium has amazing antioxidant properties which benefit our bodies in several ways.
Helps Prevent the Risk of Cancer
Owing to the antioxidant property of selenium, scientific investigations reveal that consumption of selenium helps in decreasing the risk of DNA damage from free radicals. Incorporating selenium in our diet helps lower the risk of numerous cancers such as lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancer.[r209] Moreover, evidence also indicates the beneficial impacts of selenium on people who go through radiation therapy.[r210] Consuming selenium proved to be essential in enhancing the quality of life while also reducing certain side-effects of radiation in women receiving treatment for cervical and uterine cancer.
Defends Against Heart Diseases
Selenium is known for reducing inflammation in our body, which is a common precursor of heart disease. This function of selenium is highlighted by a review of 16 studies.[r211] This review, which included more than 400,000 people with heart problems, showed significant evidence of selenium consumption drastically decreasing inflammation. Also, selenium is ascertained to enhance the levels of glutathione peroxidase – an effective antioxidant. Thus, the consumption of selenium in our diets is critical in promoting the health of our heart and in decreasing the risk of heart diseases.
Reduces The Risk of Mental Decline
Alzheimer’s disease is among the top leading causes of deaths in the US. It is a degenerative mental condition characterized by a loss of memory and impaired cognition. Such neurological conditions are significantly attributed to oxidative stress in the body.[r212] In connection with the antioxidant properties of selenium, studies have found out that people with Alzheimer’s show lower levels of selenium in their blood.[r213] As an antioxidant, selenium may also help improve memory in patients with degenerative disorders.
Crucial For Thyroid Health
The thyroid gland performs several important functions in our body, including growth and development. Thyroid tissues store more selenium in them than any other body tissue. It implies that selenium has a vital role to play in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. A deficiency of selenium is related to hypothyroidism – a condition in which the immune system is compromised and adversely affects the thyroid gland and its functioning.[r214]
Daily Selenium Intake
Healthy Foods High In Selenium
|Black Chia Seeds||100%|
|White Sesame Seeds||63%|
- All food nutrient profiles are based on a weight of 100 grams.
- * RDI values are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day (Female, Age 19-30).
- All foods are vegetarian.