Foods high in selenium / Selenium ( Se )

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Selenium is found in many structures on the planet. For the human body, this trace element is very important, especially for the thyroid gland. It helps prevent problems with veins, prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases.

What are the benefits of selenium to the body

In the human body, selenium is present in small amounts, from 10 to 14 mg. Most of all it is in the kidneys, thyroid gland, liver, heart and spleen. It is found in minimal amounts in the testes and in the cell nucleus. Without the participation of a trace element, metabolic, redox processes in the body are impossible.

Selenium has the following functions in the body:

  • protective, that is, it helps to strengthen the immune system;
  • antioxidant, reduces the risk of developing cancer;
  • construction, in other words, is involved in the production of leukocytes and erythrocytes, some enzymes and hormones;
  • metabolic, accelerates the process of cell renewal and improves the elasticity of blood vessels;
  • anti-inflammatory, that is, it helps the body to cope with disease-causing bacteria.

For the thyroid gland, selenium is the second most important substance after iodine. With a lack of selenium in the gland, an excess of iodine often occurs.

Most of all, the lack of selenium is felt by people living far from the sea. In this case, the body receives no more than 80% of the trace element. To compensate for this deficiency, adults are advised to include dietary supplements, which are best drunk in the morning. Selenium is consumed in courses, the frequency of which should be prescribed by a doctor. In childhood, it is best to compensate for the deficiency by increasing the amount of seafood in the diet.

After 40-45 years, selenium deficiency increases, hence frequent heart attacks and strokes occur. An interesting practice has been introduced in Finland. Selenium subsidies have been introduced at the state level. It is prescribed to everyone who is at risk. In just 10 years, the country has managed to significantly reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes, and reduce the number of patients with cancer. But even in the absence of such concern for its citizens in the country, having entered the Balzac age, take care of yourself on your own.

The daily requirement is strong

A person needs from 10 to 100 mcg of selenium per day, depending on age, weight and health. On average, for an adult, this amount should be 70 mcg. This amount of micronutrient can be obtained from food without resorting to dietary supplements. But you can get it only if you follow the rules of a rational and balanced diet.

The amount of selenium required in childhood:

agecategorymcg per day
0-6 monthsregardless of genderten
6-12 monthsregardless of gender15
1-6 years oldregardless of gender20
7-10 years oldregardless of genderthirty
11-14 years oldguys40
11-14 years oldgirls45
15-18young menfifty

For athletes, during the period of intense training, the daily dose can be up to 200 mcg.

Selenium deficiency

The lack of selenium begins to appear if no more than 5 μg of the substance enters the body daily. This condition occurs against the background of an unbalanced diet, or with a large consumption of fast carbohydrates by a person. And this is not only sweets and bakery products, but also carbonated drinks, sweets and chocolate.

A diet high in high-carbohydrate diets slows down the absorption of selenium by the body.

There are a number of signs that characterize the lack of selenium in the human body:

  • the skin becomes thinner;
  • frequent skin irritations appear;
  • minor injuries and abrasions heal for a long time, to the point that after them scars and scars remain;
  • decreased renal function;
  • have trouble sleeping;
  • a person is tormented by a breakdown;
  • decreased sexual function, which is associated with the impossibility of conceiving a child;
  • regular colds;
  • vision problems.

The lack of selenium in the body should in no case be underestimated, as it leads to dire consequences in the future. The risk of developing diseases associated with the thyroid gland, heart and blood vessels is increased. Also, a lack of selenium in the body, together with other factors, can lead to the appearance of cancer.

Excess selenium

From the excessive intake of selenium in the human body, problems also begin. Although, if you do not use food additives, then at the expense of food, there can be no excess of selenium.

Symptoms include:

  • constant mood swings, up to a depressive or vice versa, an aggressive state;
  • problems with hair and skin;
  • delamination of the nail plate.

In severe cases, irreversible changes in the liver and kidneys are possible.

Selenium Compatibility with Other Minerals and Vitamins

Selenium is best absorbed by the body along with vitamins C, E, B2 and B6. The latter vitamin prevents the loss of a trace element by the body, and vitamin B2 increases its bioavailability.

If a trace element is combined with vitamin A, then it will enhance its positive effect on the retina.

Do not take selenium and vitamin B9 (folic acid) at the same time. Together, they form into an insoluble complex and impair each other’s digestibility.

Selenium-rich foods

In fact, selenium is found in many foods. But, its quantity always directly depends on the condition of the soil from which the fruits and berries are removed.

Most of the trace element is found in the following foods:

  • Nuts. The leader on this list is the Brazil nut. Only from 100 g of nuts, you can get 1917 mcg of the trace element. A number of other fruits are also high in selenium: macadamia nuts, black walnuts and cashews.
  • Brewer’s yeast, which contains 650 mcg.
  • Fish. First on the list is tuna, 100 g of fish contains 108 mcg. It is also abundant in swordfish, sea bass, tilapia, halibut and mackerel.
  • Seafood. Oysters contain the most selenium – 154 mcg per 100 g of product. Also, to replenish selenium reserves in the body, it is recommended to use: mussels, shellfish, octopus, squid and lobster.
  • Bread. We are talking exclusively about whole grains and made from wheat flour. Oat bran also contains a lot of selenium.
  • Cereals. Most of the trace element in brown rice, barley porridge and oatmeal.
  • Seeds. Most of all selenium in sunflower seeds – 70 mcg. You can also get a trace element from chia , sesame and flax seeds, but in small quantities.
  • Meat. The leader is pork, 100 g of the product contains 51 mcg, beef about 44 mcg, and poultry meat only 40 mcg.
  • Cottage cheese. Depending on the milk, the curd contains between 10 and 30 mcg of selenium.
  • Eggs. The average egg size contains 13.9 mcg of the trace element.
  • Mushrooms. Most of all selenium is in mushrooms, although it all depends on the soil in which the mushrooms grew. On average, this figure is 26 mcg.
  • Pasta. In whole grains – 26 mcg.

It is useful to eat greens, although there is not much selenium in them:

amount of trace element, μgname
3Bay leaf
0.5green onions

Fruits and berries are also not the leaders on this list. In 100 g of bananas, only 1 mcg of selenium. And in gooseberries, currants, mulberries and watermelon from 0.4 to 0.6 μg.

Many pharmaceutical companies claim that getting the right amount of selenium from food is nearly impossible. This is partly true. At the same time, it is not worth choosing a food supplement containing selenium and other macro- and microelements on your own. This is due not only to the irresponsibility of consumers themselves, but also of pharmaceutical companies. 

Not so long ago, a serious scandal erupted in the US food supplement market. The manufacturer released a supplement with selenium, the amount of which exceeded 1000 times. That is, the microelement was put into capsules at the rate not per μg, but per gr. Such an overdose is extremely dangerous for the human body.

Remember that every human organ requires an adequate amount of selenium. Its most basic positive property is that it prevents the development of cancerous growths. It is selenium that activates the p53 gene, which prevents the appearance of oncology.

Selenium helps to quickly cope with viral and bacterial infections. Has a pronounced immunostimulating effect. Scientific research has even been able to establish that he maintains a latent state of HIV infection. It is clear that selenium will not save you from AIDS, but it is able to maintain a sick body in a normal state. However, it should be remembered that you should not overdo it, an excess of this with trace elements leads to serious consequences. Therefore, try to consume more foods high in selenium, and not lean on food supplements, which, by the way, are not recommended to prescribe to yourself.

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