Selenium Rich Foods: Key Ingredients for Nutritious Meals

Selenium rich foods are essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being.

This powerful trace mineral plays a crucial role in boosting immunity, supporting thyroid function, and protecting against oxidative stress. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of delicious recipes featuring selenium rich foods that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet.

From savoury dishes to sweet treats, these nutrient-dense recipes will enhance your meals and provide the health benefits you need to thrive.

High Selenium Foods (Per Serving)

If you find yourself falling short of the recommended selenium intake, it’s time to focus on foods high in selenium that pack in more selenium per serving, like:

  • Brazil nuts
  • oyster
  • turkey breast
  • ribeye filet
  • pork chops
  • pork steak
  • salmon
  • mussels
  • T-Bone steak
  • cod
  • lamb chops
  • sirloin steak

To help you get started, the infographic below showcases popular foods with high selenium content in the average serving sizes consumed by our Optimisers.  Understanding the amount of selenium in food can help you meet your nutritional goals.

high selenium foods

Once you’re ready to revitalise your selenium-rich diet with a wider variety of high-selenium foods, download our printable list of foods with more selenium per serving here.

Selenium Rich Foods (Per Calorie)

Once you know you’re getting the minimum amount of selenium your body needs, you can zero in on selenium-rich foods that deliver more selenium per calorie to increase your satiety and nutrient density, like:

  • Brazil nuts
  • oyster
  • mussels
  • liver
  • shrimp/prawns
  • egg whites
  • spinach (100%)
  • cod
  • salmon
  • asparagus
  • pork loin (lean)
  • tuna

The infographic below shows popular foods rich in selenium that provide more selenium per calorie.

selenium rich foods (per calorie)

For more variety, check out our printable list of selenium-rich foods per calorie.  

Selenium Rich Food Chart

Curious about how your favourite foods stack up in the selenium game?  Dive into our dynamic chart showcasing popular selenium-containing foods, comparing selenium content per calorie and per serving.  For an immersive experience, explore the interactive Tableau version of this chart(on your computer).

Fortunately, selenium is usually found readily within most soils, so plants and animals can get enough selenium-rich foods for human consumption.  As a result, selenium foods are scattered throughout the plant and animal kingdoms, although they’re most abundant in foods from the sea, where it’s usually found alongside its synergist, iodine.

Although selenium is found consistently in seafood, it is found in its highest concentration in Brazil nuts, which makes it easy to get selenium if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet. 

How Much Selenium Do You Need? 

Our satiety analysis reveals that your body craves at least 90 mcg of selenium per 2000 calories, more than the Dietary Reference Intake of 55 mcg for men.  However, achieving the Optimal Nutrient Intake of 180 mg per 2000 calories from food aligns with an impressive 24% reduction in energy intake.

Selenium-Rich Recipes

Elevate your culinary game with our chart, showcasing over 1750 NutriBooster recipes used in our Micros Masterclass.  We’ve plotted these recipes based on selenium content versus protein percentage.  The further right you go, the more selenium you can enjoy with fewer calories.

Dive into the details with our interactive Tableau chart on your computer.  Click on each recipe to uncover the magic behind it and even feast your eyes on mouthwatering pictures!

photos of Selenium-Rich Recipes

Benefits of Selenium

  • Antioxidant: Selenium is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.  Oxidative stress is linked to various chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Immune function: Selenium plays a critical role in the immune system, helping fight infections and diseases.  It does this by stimulating the production of white blood cells and antibodies, which help to identify and destroy harmful pathogens.
  • Thyroid function: Selenium is necessary for producing thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and are essential for growth and development.  Low selenium levels have been linked to an increased risk of thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism and goitre.
  • Reproductive health: Selenium is important for both male and female reproductive health.  In men, it is necessary for the production of healthy sperm, while in women, it may help to reduce the risk of miscarriage and improve fertility.
  • Cognitive function: There is some evidence to suggest that selenium may help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

Various selenium sources include seafood, nuts, and meats, which contribute to these health benefits.

What Does Selenium Do in Your Body?

  • We need selenium to convert T4 thyroid hormone into its active form known as T3.  Lower selenium levels have been associated with autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
  • Selenium is thought to be protective against cancers.  Studies have shown an inverse relationship between selenium levels and someone’s risk for colon, prostate, lung, bladder, gastric, skin, and oesophageal cancers.

Because of its role as an antioxidant, selenium has been shown to prevent heart disease and cognitive decline, minimise asthma symptoms, and support the immune system

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

A lack of selenium is associated with:

Factors That Increase Demand for Selenium

You may need more selenium if you’re:

Selenium Toxicity

Although selenium is required for health, high doses of selenium can be toxic and even fatal.  To avoid toxicity, an Upper Intake Level of supplemental selenium has been set at 400 mcg/day

If you’re getting too much selenium in your diet, you might experience GI upset, hair loss, nausea, breath that smells like garlic, a metallic taste, skin rashes, lesions, fatigue, irritability, and muscle tenderness.

Although selenium toxicity is often achieved by taking supplemental selenium, eating too many selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts too frequently can result in toxicity, too.  More is not always better!

Availability of Selenium in the Food System

Selenium content depends on the selenium content of the soil in which the food is grown. 

In certain parts of China, where large proportions of the population are vegetarian and soil selenium levels are low, inhabitants have one of the most inadequate intakes.  These selenium-deficient areas correspond to a 69% higher risk of thyroid disease.  Average selenium intakes are also low in some European countries.  The risk for deficiency increases significantly in populations following a vegan diet.

As the chart below shows, selenium content in our food system declined over the past century until selenium fortification ramped up in the mid-1970s (data from the USDA Economic Research Service).   

Synergistic Nutrients with Selenium

Selenium is not a one-person show.  Instead, it works synergistically (or together) with vitamins B3, C, and E, cysteine, glutathione, methionine, zinc, and iodine.

For this reason, it’s best to eat foods containing selenium, which often has a complete vitamin and mineral profile. In contrast, supplements are usually in isolated form.

Selenium Bioavailability

Little is known about the bioavailability and absorption of selenium.

How Can I Calculate if I’m Getting Enough Selenium?

Curious about your selenium intake?  Take our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge and discover if you’re hitting the selenium sweet spot in your diet.

After just one week of tracking your daily meals with Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will unveil a personalised roadmap, your guide to a healthier, more nutrient-rich lifestyle. 

You’ll receive a curated list of foods and tantalising NutriBooster recipes that not only fill your magnesium gaps but also ensure you’re not missing out on critical nutrients.

Ready to unlock your nutrient potential?  Join the challenge and journey towards a brighter, healthier you!

Nutrient Density Starter Pack

Ready to supercharge your nutrition?  Get our Nutrient Density Starter Pack – your all-access pass to a healthier, more vibrant you!

In our quest to make Nutritional Optimization a breeze, we’re thrilled to offer you this treasure trove of tools and resources when you join our vibrant Optimising Nutrition Community:

  • Food Lists: Discover our carefully crafted lists optimised for each essential nutrient, tailored to your goals, preferences, and unique conditions.
  • The Healthiest Meal Plan in the World: Peek into a week of mouthwatering, nutrient-dense meals that’ll leave you satisfied and energised.
  • Recipes: Download delectable samples from our NutriBooster recipe books, designed to elevate your nutrition while tantalising your taste buds.
  • 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge: Unearth your priority nutrients and pinpoint the foods and meals that pack a nutrient punch so you can kickstart your journey to better health.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to transform your nutrition effortlessly.  Join our community and unlock your path to a healthier, more vibrant you!

Nutrient Series

Minerals

Vitamins

Fatty acids