The Importance of Selenium in Our Diets

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I wanted to share this article with you all, which explains why selenium is such an important mineral in our diets and how we can get it. The following are 10 of the most selenium-rich foods that we can very easily include in our diets. Although it’s on this list as high in selenium, I would recommend removing pork, ham, bacon and in fact any processed meats from your diet, due to them being highly processed and in particular with bacon, it being high in nitrates.
 
Further pigs are fed high levels of antibiotics and, like all things, unless the food is certified organic, I would recommend avoiding it. It is only on the very rare occasion that I will eat pork, ham or bacon.
 
 

Top 10 Foods Highest in Selenium:

 
Selenium is required by the body for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and may help protect against free radical damage and cancer. A deficiency in selenium can lead to pain in the muscles and joints, unhealthy hair, and white spots on the fingernails. In long-term cases it may even lead to Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid. An excess of selenium can lead to bad breath, diarrhea, and even hair loss. The current DV for Selenium is 70μg (micrograms), below is list of selenium rich foods. It is important to note that the amount of selenium in any product varies greatly by the amount of selenium in the soil in which it was produced/grown/raised. Be sure to check individual labels, and if you have a deficiency in selenium, get tested after changing your diet to be sure you are eating adequate amounts.
 

1. Nuts (Brazil Nuts)

 
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Nuts, especially Brazil nuts, are a great source of selenium. Brazil nuts, which are also rich in magnesium, provide the most selenium with 1917μg (2739% DV) per 100 gram serving, 2550μg (3642% DV) per cup, and 96μg (137% DV) in a single kernel or nut. Mixed nuts by contrast provide about half as much selenium with 422μg (77% DV) per 100 gram serving, 607μg (111% DV) per cup, and 118μg (169% DV) per ounce.
 
 

2. Shellfish (Oysters, Mussels, Whelk)

 
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In addition to selenium oysters and shellfish are also a great source of iron, zinc, copper, and vitamin B12. Pacific oysters provide the most selenium with 154μg (220% DV) per 100 gram serving, or 131μg (52% DV) per ounce, and 38.5μg (55% DV) per oyster. Other shellfish high in selenium include blue mussels and whelk, which provide 90μg (128% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, 76μg (109% DV) per 3 ounce serving.
 
 

3. Liver

 
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The liver of most any animal is packed with nutrients like selenium. Often appearing on the culinary scene as pâté, liver can also be eaten in sausage (liverwurst), and prepared steamed or fried with onions and herbs. Lamb liver provides the most selenium with 116μg per 100g serving or 166% of the DV. That is 99μg (141% DV) of selenium in a 3-ounce serving.
 
 

4. Fish

 
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Fish is a heart healthy food, a good source of protein, and rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12. Canned tuna provides 80μg (115% DV) of selenium per 100 grams, 124μg (177% DV) per cup, and 253μg (362% DV) in one 12.5-ounce can. It is followed by canned anchovies, swordfish, pickled herring, and lastly tilefish, which provide 52μg (74% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, or 44μg (63% DV) per 3 ounce serving.
 
 

5. Sunflower Seeds

 
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Sunflower seeds are great as a snack or as an addition to salads; they are also a great source of vitamin E, iron, vitamin B1 (thiamin), B6, protein, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Sunflower seeds provide 79μg (113% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, 102μg (145% DV) of selenium per cup hulled, and 22.2μg (32% DV) per ounce.
 
 

6. Bran (Wheat, Rice, and Oat)

 
Three rows of rice varieties - brown, wild and white.

Rice, Wheat, and Oat bran are great additions to breads and breakfast cereals like oats, rye, and buckwheat. Wheat bran contains 78μg (111% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, which is 45μg (64% DV) per cup, and 3μg (4% DV) per tablespoon. Oat bran provides 45μg (65% DV) of selenium per 100 grams, and rice bran contains much less selenium with 17μg per 100 gram serving.
 
 

7. Caviar

 
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Caviar is not as expensive as people think and is a great source of iron, protein, and vitamin B12. 100 grams of caviar will provide 65.5μg (94% DV) of selenium, or 18μg (26% DV) per ounce, 10.5μg (15% DV) per tablespoon.
 
 

8. Bacon and Pork Chops

 
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Despite being a high cholesterol food, bacon is a good source of selenium. 100 grams of bacon will provide 65μg (93% DV) of selenium, or 5μg (7% DV) per slice. Lean pork chops provide 43μg (61% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, 31μg (44% DV) per chop.
 
 

9. Lobster and Crab

 
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Lobster is most commonly served baked, steamed, or in bisque. A 100g serving of spiny lobster provides 59.2μg (85% DV) of selenium, that is 96.5μg (138%DV) in a whole lobster, 50.3μg (72% DV) in a 3-ounce serving. Dungeness crab provides 47.6μg (68% DV) per 100 gram serving, 60.5μg (86% DV) per crab, and 40.5μg (58% DV) per 3 ounce serving.
 
 

10. Shrimp (Prawns, Camarones)

 
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Despite being a high cholesterol food, shrimps are rich in iron as well as selenium. Shrimps provide 39.6μg (57% DV) of selenium per 100 gram serving, 34μg (48% DV) per 3 ounce serving, and 8.7μg (12% DV) of selenium in 4 large shrimps.
 
 
Adapted from: Healthaliciousness.com. n.d. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Selenium.” Accessed 3 September 2013. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-selenium.php
 
 
Love,
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by Therese

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