What Is Selenium & What Foods Can I Find It In?

Selenium is a trace mineral that is nutritionally essential for humans. It’s a vital nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy.

Selenium has many essential health benefits that we need, but the most vital role of selenium is its antioxidant effect.

Table of Contents

Selenium Is An Essential Mineral

Selenium is a mineral that is essential for life and has an impact on overall health. It is, for instance, crucial for maintaining the immune system. (source )

Almost every cell in our body contains selenium.

The most important role of selenium is its antioxidant effect. (source )

Benefits Of Selenium

Selenium is one of the most effective antioxidants.

It works to protect cells from oxidative damage by acting as a scavenger of free radicals and blocking free radical-induced damage to cell membranes.

It also seems to protect the liver from the effects of alcohol, certain chemicals, and other toxins.

It also seems to help protect the brain from the effects of aging and the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Selenium is essential for proper thyroid function and is needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid.

Selenium has many health benefits but also some side-effects. You can find the researched-backed ones in Selenium, Se: 10 Research-Backed Benefits & 2 Side-Effects .

Selenium Can Be Toxic

Even though selenium is essential, it also has toxic properties.

Overuse of enriched products can result in poisoning. It can lead to hair loss and diarrhea. (source )

However, it is almost impossible to overdose the amount of selenium needed for poisoning with food. (source )

Selenium Deficiency

Selenium is a very important mineral and a deficiency can cause several health problems.

Symptoms of selenium deficiency are similar to the symptoms of pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin deficiency, and are not easy to diagnose.

Symptoms of selenium deficiency are mild and usually include fatigue, lethargy,

constipation, and weight gain.

Deficiency can be treated with selenium supplementation.

Selenium In Foods

Foods that contain selenium are highly varied.

The richest selenium source is found in animal organs and seafood. (source )

Fruits and vegetables only contain a small amount of selenium. (source )

Fertilizers with selenium content are used to increase the selenium content in different plant foods. (source )

Foods You Can Find Selenium In

You find Selenium mostly in nuts and seeds, meat, and seafood products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Selenium, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Selenium.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.