Selenium is a trace mineral that’s found in soil and helps with many of the body’s processes, often working alongside vitamin E.
Believed to have incredible cancer combating properties, medical research is starting to find evidence that selenium could be one of the most important nutrients in the fight against disease.
Although selenium is found everywhere in the body, it is particularly significant in the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas and testes. Selenium promotes good heart health, as it swings the ratio of our cholesterol levels further in favour of the ‘good’ cholesterol, prevents free radicals from forming in the body, improves liver health and pancreatic function, and helps tissues to retain their elasticity. Selenium also offers protection against cataracts and macular degeneration, fights viruses, provides relief for cold sores and shingles, and it may even help to slow down the onset of HIV and AIDS.
Selenium - where can I find it?
If you want to get good levels of selenium then you need to consider incorporating the following things into your healthy diet plan:
- Brazil nuts
- Kidney Beans
- Brewer's yeast
- Brown rice
- Dairy products
- Wheat germ
- Whole grains
How much selenium?
You should aim to intake 75 mcg of selenium as part of your healthy diet if you’re male and 16 mcg for females. Sometimes, selenium may be required in higher doses - up to 200 mcg will offer elevated benefits.
Because selenium is much more effective when working with vitamin E, it's a good idea to incorporate foods that are good sources of both selenium and this essential vitamin into your diet, especially if you're in a high risk group for heart disease.
One easy way of getting enough selenium is to eat Brazil nuts regularly; extremely rich in this vital nutrient, one Brazil nut alone can contain a man’s recommended daily amount of selenium (75 mcg).
What happens if I don't get enough selenium?
Because the soil in the UK tends to have low levels of this essential nutrient, foods grown in this country may consequently have lower levels of selenium than foods sourced from alternative locations.
If you don't have enough selenium in your diet, you could be putting yourself at greater risk of cancers and heart disease.