Why Does The Body Need Selenium?

Why Does The Body Need Selenium?

If you mention the word “selenium” to the average person, chances are, they haven’t heard of it. So, what is selenium? Selenium is an essential mineral that the body doesn’t produce itself. Meaning the only way to obtain this nutrient is through eating certain foods. However, keep in mind before you start looking on the store shelves for over-the-counter selenium supplements that selenium is relatively easy to come by in the diet alone.

Where Do You Find Selenium?

Selenium is relatively abundant in the soil in certain parts of the world. Produce grown in the northern United States, parts of South America, Ireland, and China have higher concentrations of selenium in its soil. This means there is a higher concentration of selenium found in the animals that consumed nutrients grown in selenium-rich soil. Selenium can be found in eggs, poultry, dairy products, some seafood, and grain products grown in selenium-rich soil.

Foods rich in selenium
Some foods rich in selenium: poultry, pork liver, eggs, cashew nuts, almond

Why Do You Need Selenium?

While your body only needs a small amount of selenium daily, it still plays an important role in your body’s processes such as boosting immunity, metabolism, cancer-fighting properties, as well as improving cardiovascular and mental health. The antioxidant properties of selenium help prevent damage from free radicals that cause premature aging and oxidative stress. This keeps your cells from degrading to the point where they are susceptible to diseases that could lead to certain cancers. The ability to reduce inflammation also helps control blood pressure and keep the arteries clear which reduces the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. The oxidative stress that the antioxidant properties fight against the decline of cognitive ability in humans.

The neurological disease, Alzheimer’s, has been linked to people who have lower levels of selenium in the body. An increase in selenium in the diet can help your body with its immune response to certain diseases.

Selenium deficiency is hard to accomplish because of how many different types of food actually contain selenium. One would need to have an abnormally imbalanced diet or not getting enough food at all to have a selenium deficiency. On the flipside, too much selenium can actually be very dangerous to the body. The tolerable upper limit of selenium is 400 mcg per day for the average human. Luckily, this is not something you can accomplish through food alone, as you would need to take an excessive number of over-the-counter pills to start suffering from selenium toxicity. Regardless, selenium is necessary for the overall health of the human body and can be found in a wide range of foods to enjoy the health benefits this nutrient has to offer.


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