Selenium is an incredibly powerful trace mineral (meaning your body requires less than 100mg of it per day) & is responsible for a humongous number of important functions in your body.
Most adults requires around 55 micrograms of Selenium per day (I’ll show you what that means in terms of actual food in a minute) but this amount can vary across individuals with some people requiring more such as pregnant & breastfeeding mums.
If you aren’t getting enough Selenium (which unfortunately is quite common these days) a few places you’ll likely notice it in is your skin, energy levels & overall health.
THE POWER OF SELENIUM IN YOUR BODY
So what does Selenium do exactly?
It keeps your skin firm & glowing – Selenium works with vitamin E & C to create a team of nutritional superheroes for your skin! Together they rebuild new skin cells, protect your skin from prolonged sun exposure, repair skin wounds & boost collagen production which slows the aging processes of your skin & connective tissue.
It acts as a powerful antioxidant – Selenium protects your body from oxidation & free radical damage that occurs from everyday life. Even things like digesting food & breathing cause damage in your body… & it’s this damage that causes us to age! Antioxidants like Selenium reduce the damage of free radicals & slow the aging process!
It boosts immune system function – Selenium plays an important role in keeping your immune system strong… which is SUPER important for your overall health. Your immune system protects you from viruses, bugs & skin conditions like cold sores! It cases of serious viral infections such as HIV it can stop the virus progressing further into AIDS.
It reduces inflammation – Inflammation is said to be the cause of a huge number of diseases. It’s caused by a constantly activated immune system in response to toxins either from diet or from the environment that can affect the body. Keeping inflammation at bay is absolutely CRUCIAL for long term health & Selenium plays a big part in fighting it!
It maintains healthy thyroid function – The thyroid gland is an incredibly important organ that produces hormones responsible for regulating metabolism, body temperature & energy production. Many health problems occur from a dysfunctional thyroid gland including hair loss, fatigue, weight gain & dry skin. Selenium plays a big role in maintaining healthy thyroid hormone production.
It promotes fertility – Selenium has been shown to actually ‘incorporate into the sperm mitochondria” & so plays a crucial role in sperm health & therefore male fertility. It is also thought to reduce the risk of miscarriage, however more research needs to be done to confirm or deny this.
It fights against cancer – Selenium protects your DNA from damage which over time can lead to cancer. It not only reduces the risk of cancer, but has been shown to also reduce the growth & spread of existing cancer.
Told you Selenium was pretty powerful didn’t I?
ARE YOU DEFICIENT?
So now the question is – are you getting sufficient amounts of Selenium?
Some telltale signs of a Selenium deficiency can include:
- Dry or Aged skin
- Memory issues
- Frequent cold or flu symptoms
- Thyroid gland issues – particularly hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)
- Fertility problems in men
HOW TO AMP UP YOUR SELENIUM NATURALLY
If you want to boost your Selenium levels naturally, there are some great whole food sources you can amp up to make sure your body is getting what it needs!
#1 Brazil nuts – Brazil nuts are absolutely packed to the brim with Selenium… in fact just a few nuts per day is enough to fulfil your daily requirement!
#2 White Button Mushrooms – 1/2 cup gives you 33% of your daily Selenium needs
#3 Sunflower Seeds – 1 cup gives you more than your daily requirements – although you shouldn’t eat an entire cup of sunflower seeds every day!
#4 Chia Seeds – 30 grams can get you 28% of your daily requirement
#5 Green vegetables including spinach, cabbage & broccoli – 1 cup of any of these will get between 4-6% of your daily needs so it’s good to incoporate these with some other sources as well.
You can also get selenium from animal sources such as liver, chicken, salmon, tuna & eggs.
BUT WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONVENTIONAL PRODUCE…
It’s important to remember that when it comes to whole food sources of minerals, the level of nutrients in the food is determined by the level of nutrients in the soil that food is grown in.
Selenium levels in Australian & New Zealand soil are quite low, so the foods conventionally grown in deficient soil WILL NOT CUT IT!
To ensure you aren’t missing on this vital mineral – always try to buy organic!
Or of course – better yet – grow your own!
Remember that growing your own food gives you control over the mineral levels in your soil… which is important these days more than ever!
So there you have it… I hope this post has given you a whole new appreciation for that awesome little mineral… & if it did please feel free to share with someone who you think it’ll benefit!
And of course – any Q’s – just pop them in the comments below or shoot me an email 🙂