What you need to know about selenium

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Selenium is a mineral that people need for their entire lives. Animal experiments and clinical practice have both shown that people need to get enough selenium from their food every day to be healthy and to fight off diseases. You should try to eat enough selenium every day, just like you should eat enough starch, protein, and vitamins.

Foods Rich In Selenium

Foods rich in selenium include fish, shrimp, dairy, animal liver, meat, nuts (such as peanuts, and melon seeds). Other foods such as butter, fish meal, lobster, mushrooms, pork kidney, and garlic contain some selenium, but the absorption rate is less than ideal.

Selenium intake is more related to the selenium content of the soil than it is to dietary patterns. Soils in the United States and Canada appear to contain sufficient selenium. Studies of vegetarians and strict vegans in the United States have found that they consume adequate amounts of selenium. Selenium is found in many foods, but Brazil nut, whole grain cereals (whole wheat bread, oatmeal, barley), white rice, and beans are high in selenium.


Eggs contain more selenium than meat, with pork containing 10.6 mcg, eggs 23.3 mcg, duck eggs 30.7 mcg, goose eggs 33.6 mcg, ginseng 15 mcg, and peanuts 13.7 mcg of selenium per 100 grams of the food.

The selenium content of plant food is determined by the selenium content of local soil and water and could have a difference of up to 1000 times between two agricultural areas.

Fish, shrimp, and other seafood products have the highest levels of selenium. After that, another significant source of selenium is the heart, kidney, and liver of animals. Selenium is also found in vegetables. The highest levels of selenium are found in goldenrod, capers, garlic, mushrooms, and peas. Cabbage, pumpkin, radish, leek, onion, and tomato all have high levels of selenium as well.

The survey data showed that the natural selenium content in food follows this order: seafood, animal offal, fish, eggs, meat, grain, milk (powder), vegetables, fruits. 

The organic selenium content in plants is higher for human consumption and can reach up to 70%-90%. However, the utilization rate of selenium in animal products is lower and only about 50%.

Problem with Selenium

Organic selenium can be found in seafood and animal organs, but these may not be the best sources of selenium. Seafood contains methyl mercury, which can combine with selenium and make it inactive. This means you won’t get as much benefit from the selenium. Animal organs also contain more cholesterol, which is not ideal for older people or those with cardiovascular disease.


You can help improve your absorption of selenium by eating more fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E.

Nutritionists advocate supplementing organic selenium, such as selenium yeast, selenium-enriched eggs, selenium-rich mushrooms, selenium-rich malt, selenium-rich tea, selenium-rich rice, etc.

In summary

Selenium is an essential element that has various important functions in the human body. Selenium can help improve immunity, and it has a significant inhibitory and protective effect on colon cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and many other cancers. Selenium also has the effect of reducing and easing heavy metal toxicity and free radicals. However, the human body cannot synthesize it, so selenium must be absorbed from food. The recommended daily selenium intake of selenium is 50μg.