Benefits of a Diet High in Selenium

Updated on January 22nd, 2020
foods high in selenium

Selenium is one of the many important dietary minerals required by our body. Selenium contains small protein packets which are called ‘selenoproteins’. Present in the human tissue, majorly the skeletal muscle, selenium plays an important role in regulating the normal bodily functions and immune system of the human body.

The United States Office of Dietary Supplements states that it is also necessary for stabilizing thyroid metabolism, along with protecting against oxidative damage and infection.

Benefits of Selenium

  1. Protection against cardiovascular diseases
  2. Promoting fertility in both males and females
  3. Reducing the risk of miscarriage in women
  4. Protection against asthma
  5. DNA repair to prevent cancer
  6. Protection from thyroid disorders
  7. Powerful antioxidant for the body
  8. Reducing the risk of cancer
  9. Prevention of mental decline
  10. Boosting the immune system

Did you know?

Selenium plays a role in enzyme production in humans.

Foods High in Selenium

1. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are high in selenium(1) and have many other health benefits that maintain a healthy bodily system. They are packed with nutrients like manganese, zinc, vitamin E, fibre, phosphorus, etc. They also help in reducing inflammation due to thyroid disorders. The high selenium levels in Brazil nuts also lower the blood sugar level and improve brain functioning.

[Also Read: Brazil Nuts Health Benefits]

2. Tuna

Fresh Tuna Fish

Tuna is rich in many essential minerals and vitamins like selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, vitamin B12, B6, etc. Eating tuna has many health benefits like improving the immune system, strengthening bones, improving skin health, preventing the risk of cancer, etc.

[ Read: Health Benefits of Tuna ]

3. Shellfish

Along with being high in selenium, shellfish is also rich in other minerals and vitamins like iron, vitamin C, and Vitamin B12. Its nutrients help in boosting the immunity of the body, along with promoting good heart health.

4. Tofu

Research has confirmed that tofu helps combat cardiovascular diseases and also prevents breast and prostate cancer. It also regulates healthy kidney functions and treats type-2 diabetes. It is also said to treat age-related brain diseases and liver damage.

[ Read: Tofu Benefits ]

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms(2) are high in protein and work as powerful antioxidant agents. They also strengthen the immune system of the body, along with its cells and tissues. The vitamin C present in mushrooms provides protection against cardiovascular diseases.

6. Bananas


Along with being high in selenium, bananas are also rich in potassium and fibre, that are highly effective in the protection against high blood pressure, asthma, digestive problems, etc. Banana is also rich in vitamin B6, C, and A.

7. Spinach

Spinach is a great source of vitamin K which strengthens the bones and muscles. It also repels bacteria and viruses and promotes good heart health. Additionally, spinach keeps you energized as it is rich in folate, which turns food into energy.

8. Lentils

Lentils are rich in polyphenols which help fight against harmful agents in the body. They are also high in protein, which improves the immune system of the body and strengthens the bones.

[ Read: Health Benefits of Lentils ]

9. Broccoli

Along with being high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C, broccoli is also high in fibre and potassium. Daily consumption of broccoli helps in prevention against cancer and other chronic diseases. It is also known to improve digestion and detoxify the body.

10. Pineapple


Pineapple is full of nutrients and also has disease-fighting antioxidants. It is also rich in a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which eases digestion and smoothens the bowel movement. Pineapples are also known to ease the symptoms of arthritis.

11. Cashews

Cashews are low in fibre, high in carbohydrates, and packed with vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients. They are known to reduce high blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels in the body. They are also good for the eyes and fight heart diseases.

[Read: Foods for Energy]

High Selenium Diet – Meal Plan

Mentioned below are some meal plans you can follow to maintain a diet high in selenium.


Whole wheat spaghetti ¾ cup
Red kidney beans 1/2 cup
Boiled broccoli ½ cup
Salted cashew nuts 2 ounces



Ham 3 ounces
Brown rice 1/3 cup
Eggs 1



Spaghetti with scallops 1 bowl
Lentil soup ½ bowl
Coconut macaroons 2



Chicken stroganoff 3 ounces
Mexican pineapple salad ½ cup



Brown rice ½ cup
Lentils ½ cup
Ice cream 1 cup



Bean quesadillas 1
Tahini 2 tsp
Roasted sunflower seeds 1 ounce



Couscous with chicken 1 bowl
Soya bean 1 cup
Lima beans ½ cup

Snack options

Spinach salad 1 cup
Corn crackers 4
Mango smoothie 1 glass
Roasted peanuts 1 ounce
Wheat bagel 1
Brazil nuts 1 ounce
Toasted bread with peanut butter/jam
2 slices with 1 tsp
Soya milk ½ cup
Chopped bananas 1 cup
Flavoured yoghurt ½ cup


Selenium is protective against mercury poisoning.

An average male adult requires 70 mcg of selenium, whereas an adult female requires 55 mcg. Pregnant women should intake around 65 mcg, and children should intake somewhere around 30 mcg. For an infant, the required level goes down to 20 mcg.

Also, it is recommended to take selenium in combination with vitamin E to allow them to assist each other’s absorption. Mentioned below are some more tips you can keep in mind while on a high selenium diet.


  1. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
  2. Do moderate exercise every day to keep your bodily functions normal
  3. Avoid excessive sugar, trans fats, and fried food
  4. Aim at eating a protein-rich food
  5. Try to eat at least two portions of fish every week
  6. Eat organically grown food as it has a high level of selenium
  7. Opt for whole grains instead of white flour
  8. You can take selenium supplements to intake more selenium
  9. Incorporate herbs high in selenium, such as cayenne/red pepper, fenugreek, ginger, mustard seed, coriander, cloves, saffron, cumin, turmeric, etc.


1. What are the symptoms of selenium deficiency?

Some of the symptoms are infertility, mental fog, weakness, hair loss, nausea, etc.

2. Does selenium help in skincare?

Yes, selenium helps in skincare by neutralizing skin-damaging compounds.

3. What are the best forms of selenium?

Some of the best forms of selenium are selenomethionine, selenite, selenate, and selenocysteine.

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