What if I told you that selenium is SUPER important for your health? What if I told you that selenium might play a role in cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and thyroid disease? Yep… But let’s focus on the thyroid gland.

Selenium is an essential mineral that’s naturally found in some of the foods we eat. It’s also added to foods to fortify them, and can also be taken as a dietary supplement.

A healthy thyroid gland is important because it regulates metabolism and controls growth and development in the body.

Selenium simply helps thyroid function by:

  • Regulating thyroid hormone production
  • Protecting the thyroid against oxidative damage
  •  
    In addition, selenium an extremely powerful antioxidant. So, it may help your body ward off chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

    Being low in selenium is certainly not a good thing and your thyroid can ultimately suffer, which means you suffer! In fact, your thyroid is the organ that has the highest concentration of selenium in the body.

    Being selenium deficient may lead to:

  • An enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • Infertility
  • Weight Gain
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weak immune system
  • Brain fog or the inability to think/concentrate
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Graves’ disease
  • Hypothyroidism (An underactive thyroid)
  • Autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland)

     
    Obviously, you don’t want any of those problems, my friend.

    So here are 5 selenium-rich foods that you should consider incorporating in your diet:
     

    1. Brazil Nuts

     
    Probably the best source of selenium is Brazil nuts. One ounce (about 6 to 8 nuts) contains about 544 mcg of this essential nutrient. Because they are so high in selenium, you should stick to only about a handful a week because it is possible to get too much selenium into your body, which can cause problems.
     


     

    2. Yellowfin Tuna

     
    If you never had Yellowfin tuna, maybe it’s time to add it to your grocery list. 3 ounces of this fish contains about 92 mcg of selenium. Other seafood sources that are selenium-rich include: clams, oysters, shrimp, salmon, halibut, sardines, and crab.
     


     

    3. Grains

     
    What do whole-grain pasta and other products have in common? They are foods rich in selenium. 1 cup of long-grain brown rice contains about 19mcg of selenium.
     


     

    4. Pork Products

     
    Pork also provides a high amount of selenium. A 3oz serving of pork provides about 42 mcg.
     


     

    5. Beef

     
    How much selenium you get from beef depends on the cut. For instance, a serving of ground beef offers 18 mcg while a serving of bottom round steak delivers 38 mcg. That’s a good reminder to cut back on processed foods such as ground beef and stick to whole cuts.

    But don’t just limit yourself to those 5 foods. There are many more selenium-rich foods such as:
     

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Oatmeal
  • Spinach
  • Lentils
  • Cashews
  • Bananas
  • How much selenium do I need per day?

     
    Here’s what the National Institutes of Health say:
     

    Are you taking a selenium supplement?

     
    There are two types of selenium:

    Inorganic selenium (selenate and selenite), found in soil that plants use to convert into organic selium.

    Organic selenium (selenomethionine and selenocysteine), found mostly in animal tissue.

    The best type of selenium supplement is one containing selenomethionine, as research shows that it is better absorbed than other types.

     
     
    Love and Health,

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    Carissa Alinat ARNP

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