Boost Your Health with These Top 20 Selenium Rich Foods

Selenium is a powerful mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. Selenium rich foods should be one of your main goals to providing a healthy, balanced diet. From supporting a healthy immune system to promoting thyroid function (to boost your metabolism) and aiding in antioxidant defense, selenium is a nutrient you don’t want to miss out on. Originally, this post was to be the Top 10 Selenium Rich Foods. To help you make the most of this essential mineral, I’ve extended the search and scoured the web to compile a list of the Top 20 selenium rich foods that are wheat free, primarily low-carb and commonly available in a variety of countries (not all sources are widely available), complete with their respective selenium content. Including these delicious options in your diet can lead to a more vibrant and balanced life.

Individual nutritional values may vary. This depends on the geographic location and environmental conditions of the food source and cannot be 100% consistent. Scientific analysis / detection of nutrients in food sources may also have slight variances in the nutritional values.

Additionally, I have categorised the Sources of Selenium into the following groups :

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Meat
  • Additional Sources

Selenium Rich Foods : Nuts and Seeds

1. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are the reigning champions of selenium. Just 1 Brazil Nut provides your recommended daily intake of 55mcg selenium [1]. 100g of Brazil nuts provide 1920mcg Selenium / 100g. This equates to : 3491% Daily Value

selenium-rich foods: brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium.

A small-scale 2014 study looked at the health effects of eating one Brazil nut per day in people with chronic kidney disease. After 3 months, the researchers noticed a reduction
in inflammation and markers of oxidative stress.
” [1]

A study in the European Journal of Nutrition reported that eating one Brazil nut per day for 8 weeks lowered total cholesterol and fasting glucose levels in healthy adults.

The findings of another 8-week-long study showed that taking a 200-mcg selenium supplement reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. The researchers also reported increased antioxidant capacity in the body. Enjoy them as a snack or sprinkle them on salads for a delicious and nutritious boost.

2. Sunflower Seeds

Not just delicious, sunflower seeds are also rich in selenium. 1 oz Sunflower seeds provide 32% of the RDI [3]. 100g Sunflower seeds provide 80.4mcg Selenium (146% Daily Value)

selenium rich foods include sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are also rich in Vitamin E providing 37% of the RDI. Sunflower seeds also provide [3]:

Zinc: 10% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
Copper: 26% of the RDI
Manganese: 30% of the RDI
Folate: 17% of the RDI
Pantothenic acid: 20% of the RDI

Additionally, sunflower seeds are a good source of beneficial plant compounds, including phenolic acids and flavonoids — which also function as antioxidants.

Sunflower seeds can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or sprinkle them onto yogurt, in smoothies, or over your morning cereal. Interestingly, when sunflower seeds are sprouted, their plant compounds increase. Sprouting also reduces factors that can interfere with mineral absorption. You can buy sprouted, dried sunflower seeds online or in some stores. [3]

Selenium Rich Foods : Fish and Shellfish

3. Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna is another excellent source of selenium providing approx 92mcg Selenium per 3oz serving. Yellowfin tuna is a valuable addition to any healthy eating / weight loss diet. Its high protein content supports muscle preservation and satiety – crucial for effective weight management. This fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in metabolic health and reducing inflammation which helps with fat loss. Yellowfin tuna is a source of essential vitamins like B12, (helps boost energy metabolism) and minerals like selenium – beneficial for thyroid function.

selenium rich foods include yellowfin tuna

Yellowfin tuna’s selenium content (77 mcg) is 110 percent of the daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Yellowfin tuna also provides 24 percent of the DV for phosphorus — 236 mg and 375 mg of potassium which contributes 11 percent to the recommended daily intake for Potassium [2].

Not only a fantastic protein source, yellowfin tuna is a selenium rich food also brimming with proteins and essential fats. Grill or sear this fish for a delightful addition to your weekly menu.

Yellowfin Tuna is an excellent source of healthy nutrition and can be grilled, fried, served in a salad or with a variety of nutritious low carb vegetables for a very healthy meal. By incorporating yellowfin tuna into a balanced eating plan, you can support your weight loss goals while benefiting from its valuable nutrients.

[Note of Caution : Due to their long lives, Tuna can be higher in levels of Mercury absorbed from the ocean and the fish they eat. Enjoy tuna but be cautious of this Mercury which can cause brain damage.]

4. Mackerel (Atlantic)

Atlantic mackerel is a nutrient-rich fish that offers excellent benefits for health and weight loss. It’s an exceptional source of high-quality protein – essential for
muscle maintenance and preservation. Mackerel can also aid in appetite control, aiding in weight management. Its omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, promote metabolic health and reduce inflammation (one of the primary causes of weight gain). Additionally, mackerel provides crucial vitamins like B12 for energy metabolism and selenium for thyroid function. Incorporating mackerel into a balanced diet can support weight loss goals while providing essential nutrients.

Selenium rich foods include atlantic mackerel

Mackerel (Atlantic) provides 51.6mcg Selenium per 100g [12].

Additionally, Mackerel also provide a wide variety of nutrients including 23.8 g Protein, Og carbohydrate, 401mg Potassium, 97mg Magnesium, 278mg Phosphorous, 18 amino acids and essential fatty acids including Omega 3.

Atlantic Mackerel also provide 18 Amino acids – essential for a variety of physiological processes.

Incorporating mackerel into a balanced diet can support weight loss goals while providing essential nutrients for healthy living and weight management. Mackerel, one of my personal favourites is delicious when simply filleted fresh and pan-fried in butter with a little lemon juice.

5. Herring (Atlantic)

Herring is an excellent source of selenium -1OO-grams of fillet provides 46.8 mcg (85% DV). A 143-gram fillet provides 122% of the daily value of Selenium (supporting thyroid health). Abundant in protein, herring aids in muscle generation and maintenance while also curbing hunger (vital for successful weight management).

herring are also a selenium rich food

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, Herring can foster a healthy metabolism and help to reduce inflammation.

Herring also provides essential vitamins like B12, essential for energy metabolism.

While herring is not a personal favourite, herring is a fantastic choice for those seeking weight loss or for weight management. Embracing herring in your well-rounded diet can effectively bolster your overall health while contributing to any weight loss endeavors.

6. Salmon (Atlantic Farmed and Wild)

Atlantic salmon is a nutritional powerhouse, offering an array of health benefits. Rich in high-quality protein, it supports muscle development and aids in satiety, beneficial for weight management. Atlantic Salmon provides 75-85%* DV Selenium depending on source (farmed or wild). Consuming this fish provides a balance of essential proteins, healthy fats, and essential nutrients, making it an exceptional choice for overall well-being.

selenium rich foods include atlantic salmon

*Farmed Atlantic Salmon provides 41.4 mcg (75% DV) Selenium.

Wild Atlantic Salmon provides 46.8 mcg (85% DV).

The significant omega-3 fatty acid content, particularly EPA and DHA, promotes cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation, and supports brain function.

Salmon is a powerhouse of beneficial nutrition including anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants like Selenium. Salmon can be enjoyed in many ways – pan fried, smoked and baked to name but a few. Whole salmon cooked and presented on a platter is a delight to see.

7. Swordfish

Swordfish is exceptional for its selenium content providing 68.5 mcg (125% DV) per 100g portion and is a remarkable addition to a healthy diet, offering a variety of health benefits.

swordfish are another selenium rich food

In addition to the substantial selenium content, Swordfish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically, EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and support cognitive function.

Its generous protein content supports muscle growth and appetite control, which is advantageous for weight management. Incorporating swordfish into your diet provides essential proteins, healthy fats, and crucial nutrients, making it a valuable choice for overall wellness. The flesh in swordfish is white, firm and arranged in a circle within the fillet. My first encounter of eating Swordfish was on holiday in Malta. Swordfish is excellent barbecued but equally pan fried in butter.

8. Snapper

Snapper is a valuable inclusion in a balanced diet, presenting an array of health advantages. Snapper also boasts significant selenium levels providing 49 mcg (89% DV) per 100g portion. Selenium rich, Snapper (with its delicious white flaky flesh), could be a pivotal fish in your healthy eating / weight loss endeavours. Its Selenium content is recognised recognized for its antioxidants, bolstering immune function and thyroid well-being.

snapper are another selenium rich food

With its notable protein content, it aids in muscle upkeep and appetite regulation, promoting effective weight management. The considerable presence of omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, contributes to heart health, inflammation reduction, and cognitive support.

Integrating snapper into your dietary choices delivers essential proteins, beneficial fats, and vital nutrients, making it a smart choice for overall health enhancement. My first introduction to Snapper was in a Chinese dish with it being steamed whole with a small variety of vegetables.

9. Oysters

Oysters (like them or not) are another superfood rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked wild eastern oysters provides 56% Daily Value for Selenium [6].

selenium rich foods include oysters.

Oysters also provide a MASSIVE 555% of the Daily Value intake of ZINC ( a potent antioxidant),  538% of the DV of Vitamin B12, and 493% of the DV of Copper!

These tasty mollusks are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, a family of polyunsaturated fats that play important roles in your body, including regulating inflammation, supporting heart and brain health, and protecting against type 2 diabetes [6].

Not sure about fresh oysters? Smoked Oysters are also available and are delicious – I know! So next time you’re out for a nice meal at the seaside or your favourite seafood restaurant, try sharing a plate of oysters or a seafood platter with Lobster, Languistine, Scallops and Oysters for a true seafood treat bursting in proteins, vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

10. Clams

Clams are a fantastic addition to any healthy eating / weight loss-focused diet due to their low calorie and fat content, making them a great source of high-quality protein. What truly sets them apart is their impressive selenium content – Clams provide 64 mcg (116% DV) Selenium per 100g. Just 3oz (85-gram) serving provides 99% of the daily value of selenium.

selenium rich foods include clams.

With their delicious flavour and dense nutrient profile (including the powerful antioxidant selenium which helps maintain the thyroid and fuel metabolism) clams could be a prime mover for your health and any weight loss endeavours.

Selenium, a vital trace mineral, plays a pivotal role in supporting a healthy metabolism and thyroid function. Furthermore, it acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect cells from oxidative stress.

Incorporating clams into your meals not only provides a delicious and satisfying option but also ensures you’re benefiting from this essential nutrient. Make clams a regular part of your weight loss journey to promote overall health and vitality. Clams can be eaten in a variety of ways. A popular choice for many is Clam Chowder (a rich and hearty white stew made with clams). Alternatively, the can be pan-fried in butter with a little lemon juice or garlic butter.

11. Lobster

Lobster is an excellent choice for individuals focusing on weight loss, as it offers a delectable, low-calorie protein source. This nutrient-packed seafood is not only satisfying but also a great addition to a balanced diet.

Lobster : another selenium rich food

Rich in vital nutrients with that delicious and exotic appearance and delicate flesh, Lobster should form part of your healthy eating diet. Lobster provides numerous essential vitamins and minerals including a Whopping 73.1 mcg (133% DV) per 100g Selenium.

Including lobster in your weight loss plan not only enhances the flavor of your meals but also ensures you’re reaping the benefits of this essential nutrient. Prioritize lobster for a delicious and nutritious approach to weight management.

My personal favourite is the tail – delicious cooked in a variety of meals – steamed, pan fried, or baked (Lobster Thermidor is a delicious dish as is Lobster Mornay, albeit somewhat outdated).

12. Octopus

Surprisingly, Octopus is also rich in selenium (amongst other vital nutrients) and provides 89.6 mcg (163% DV) Selenium per 100g. Octopus is a superb choice for those seeking weight loss, offering a lean and flavorful protein source. It’s a nutrient-rich seafood that’s not only delicious but also highly nutritious.

octopus are yet another selenium rich food

Just 3oz of Octopus (85-gram) offers 139% of the daily value of Selenium.

Incorporating octopus into your weight loss regimen not only adds variety to your meals but also ensures you’re benefiting from this essential nutrient.

My first try of octopus was on holiday in Malta. I asked the waiter for something local – he offered a pasta bake with tomatoes and a variety of locally sourced seafood. I can honestly say it was delicious! The octopus was soft and delicate – not chewy as I imagined. Pleasantly surprised is an understatement!

As an alternative, try a refreshing octopus salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a zesty vinaigrette for a satisfying and nutritious meal that supports your weight loss goals.

Selenium Rich Foods : Meat

13. Turkey

Turkey, as with most poultry (especially free range / pasture fed) are healthy sources of many nutrients – not just protein. Turkey also provides a healthy dose of 17mcg Selenium per 100g roasted with skin on [4]. Turkey also provides 31.9g protein per 100g serving (roast with skin on). Roast, grill, or include it a fried rice dish or chow-mein for a versatile and nourishing option.

selenium rich foods include turkey.

Tip: When roasting any poultry, place in roasting tin resting on the breast fro 30 – 40 minutes. This allows the fats in the back to soften and run down through the meat into the breast with other juices. Rotate the bird onto its back after 45 minutes (30-40% total cooking time) and continue cooking until the juices run colourless form the thickest part of the joint / breast and the skin is brown and crispy. Cooking the bird this way creates a succulent moist breast full of flavour and prevents food poisoning from raw white meat.

Deliciously festive roast turkey with redcurrants and blueberries. A festive favourite that can be enjoyed as a healthy meal with a selection of low carb root vegetables, greens and carrots for a truly healthy meal.

14. Chicken

Chicken is an extremely flexible meat that can be used in a wide variety of dishes including the traditional roast. In 1x 3oz (85g) portion, Chicken provides 36% of the DV of Selenium in addition to the protein, vitamins and other minerals. For the same size portion, Chicken also provides a health boosting 51% of the Daily Value Niacin [7].

selenium rich foods include chicken which also provide a healthy source of protein.

Chicken, a lean and protein-rich meat, is also a selenium rich food. Roast, pan-fry, grill, or add it to soups for a versatile culinary choice.

Chicken is also rich in B vitamins like niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, which play central roles in energy production, DNA synthesis, and brain health [7].

15. Ham

Ham (roast or boiled) is now an excellent meat addition to your healthy eating / weight loss endeavours. Ham used to considered as a “none-lean” source of protein due to the content of saturated fats. However fats have been re-evaluated and are now an essential nutrient for any healthy eating / weight loss diet. Ham also provides a rich source of selenium for thyroid and metabolic health. A three-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked lean ham leg supplies 77% of the daily value for selenium.

ham is also a selenium rich food

Roast ham can be a valuable addition to a weight loss-focused diet, providing a flavorful and protein-rich choice that’s relatively moderate in calories. This savory meat option offers essential nutrients and versatility in meal preparation. Ham is a great source of proteins and also provides 49.9 mcg (91% DV) Selenium for metabolic health aswell as an immunity boost.

Tip : To incorporate roast ham into your weight loss regimen, explore creative ways to enjoy it, such as roast ham with a fresh salad or fresh vegetables.

16. Pork Chop

Pork chops can be a beneficial inclusion in a weight loss-oriented diet, offering a satisfying and protein-rich option that’s relatively moderate in calories. Pork chops are also rich in Selenium and provide 45.7 mcg (83% DV) Selenium per 100g.

pork chops are a selenium rich food

These meat cuts provide essential nutrients while being versatile and flavorful. Pork also introduces saturated fats into your diet that can improve overall health aswell as boost our weight loss endeavours.

These meat cuts provide essential nutrients (esp protein and selenium) while being versatile and flavorful.

Tip : To integrate pork chops into your weight loss plan, consider grilling or baking them with a selection of vibrant vegetables for a balanced and delicious meal. Pork chops can also served as part of a Mixed Grill with steak, lamb chops and eggs (or any other combination you prefer). Best with a low carb side of salad or green vegetables to reduce the overall carb intake.

17. Kidney (Pork)

Pig’s kidneys can be a valuable addition to a weight loss-oriented diet, offering a unique protein source that’s relatively low in calories. Pork Kidneys provide a Massive 312 mcg (567% DV) Selenium.

pigs kidneys are a selenium rich food that can be used in a multitude of dishes

These nutrient-rich organ meats are not only distinctive in flavor but also hold nutritional benefits.

Notably, pig’s kidneys contain selenium, a vital trace mineral that supports metabolic health and thyroid function, playing a key role in overall vitality.

Pigs Kidneys can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes – from grilled, stir fried, added to stews, meatloafs etc.

To include pig’s kidneys in your weight loss journey, try a kidney stir-fry with colorful bell peppers, onions, and a dash of savory seasoning. This meal offers a balanced blend of flavors while providing essential nutrients to support your goals.

18. Liver (Lamb)

Rich in Selenium, Lambs Liver provides 111 mcg (202% DV of Selenium and can be a valuable asset to any healthy eating / weight loss-focused diet, offering a distinctive and nutrient-rich protein source that’s also relatively low in calories.

lambs liver is a selenium rich food - try stir fried lambs liver

This organ meat is not only known for its unique flavor but also for its nutritional advantages. Notably, lamb’s liver contains selenium, a crucial trace mineral that supports metabolic health and thyroid function, playing a pivotal role in overall wellness.

TIP : To incorporate lamb’s liver into your weight loss journey, consider preparing a flavorful liver and onions dish with a side of steamed vegetables. This meal provides a flavorful and nutrient-dense option to support your weight loss goals. Alternatively, for a softer, more delicate texture, try stir-frying with spring onions for a couple of minutes. Liver is a great food but can be tough if overcooked – hence my suggestion for a quick stir fry as this dramatically reducing the cooking time and results in a delicious, soft and juicy meat.

19. Eggs

Eggs, a nutritional powerhouse, contain selenium too. While not in the higher leagues of selenium rich foods, eggs are still an important and nutritious source of healthy nutrients. 1 Medium egg contains 12mcg (22% NRV) Selenium [5]. 1 Large egg provides 15mcg Selenium. Scramble, boil, or poach them for a delightful addition to your meals.

selenium rich foods include eggs which contain a high volume of other beneficial nutrients

Eggs provide a valuable source of other nutrients too:

Eggs contain 56% NRV for Vitamin B12. Just 2 medium eggs will provide 112% of your Daily Nutritional Value for Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 boosts the function of Folate (12% from 1 med egg) in cells for energy.

Eggs also provide a valuable source of Biotin (10mcg / 20% NRV) : Biotin contributes to normal energy metabolism and to the maintenance of normal skin, hair, and nervous system function [5].

Scramble, boil, or poach them for a delightful addition to your meals. Alternatively, try a delicious French styled cheese omelette. Delicious and with a gooey centre of molten cheese and soft, lightly cooked egg!!

20. Cottage Cheese (1 cup – 20 mcg)

Cottage cheese is soft, white, and creamy. Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese – it does not undergo an aging or ripening process to develop flavor. While many regard it as “food for old women“, cottage cheese is a very useful addition to the kitchen pantry and your diet. Made from cows milk, Cottage cheese is also offered in different curd sizes, including small, medium, or large, and is available in creamed, whipped, lactose-free, reduced sodium, or sodium-free varieties [8].

selenium rich foods include cottage cheese - delicious and nutritious served with strawberries

Creamy and protein-packed cottage cheese is another dairy option rich in selenium. Enjoy it as a snack, in smoothies, or paired with fresh fruits. Strawberries make an excellent choice to pair with cottage cheese and can even be blended together with a natural Greek yogurt and a dash of vanilla extract for a delicious, summery smoothie!

A half-cup, or 113-gram (g), serving of low fat (1% milk fat) cottage cheese provides 19% Daily Value of Selenium [8] and 29% of the Daily Value (DV) Vitamin B12 [8].

Creamy and protein-packed cottage cheese is a dairy option rich in selenium. Enjoy it as a snack, in smoothies, or paired with fresh fruits.

TIP: Try 4 fresh strawberries with 1 cup of cottage cheese as a delicious and nutritious snack. In a rush? Blend the strawberries and cottage cheese together with~50g Natural Greek Yoghurt and a level teaspoon of Vanilla extract for a quick and delicious healthy smoothie.

Additional Selenium Rich Foods

While the above list represents 20 top sources of selenium, there are additional sources we must also consider. While these may have reduced selenium content, they can provide additional nutrients and so are included in this additional list of selenium rich foods.


Tofu is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness: silken, soft, firm, extra (or super) firm. Tofu is also known as bean curd in English [11].

selenium rich foods : tofu cubes in bowl

When prepared with calcium sulfate, Tofu provides 17.4 mcg Selenium per 100g equating to 32% DV.

However, while rich in selenium and being vegetarian, Tofu is made with soy milk. Soy milk (as with many soy based products) is not good for weight loss.

Scramble, boil, or poach them for a delightful addition to your meals. Alternatively, try a delicious French styled cheese omelette. Delicious and with a gooey centre of molten cheese and soft, lightly cooked egg!!

Brown Rice (1 cup cooked – 19 mcg)

Whilst many of us are used to seeing and consuming the refined and polished white rice, brown rice is a whole grain. It contains more overall nutrition than its paler counterpart. Due to the varying processes through different manufacturers, the levels of nutrition in brown rice vary more than in other foods. White rice typically provides 14% of the DV Selenium vs 27.3% of the DV for selenium in 1cup of Brown Rice [10].

selenium rich foods include brown rice

A nutritious whole grain, brown rice is a valuable source of selenium. Use it as a base for stir-fries, salads, or as a side dish to complement your meals.

However, caution needs to be taken as brown rice is also rich in complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates in all forms contribute to weight gain unless strictly regulated.

“Nuts, seeds, and whole grains like brown rice also contain phytic acid, a substance that can bind to the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc. Some whole grains contain enough phytase, the enzyme required to break down phytic acid, while others like oats, brown rice, and legumes don’t” [9].

Research has also shown phytic acid to have health benefits like antioxidant activity, and cancer and kidney stone prevention, so it’s not necessarily something to completely avoid. 

Selenium in Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a noteworthy inclusion in a weight loss-centered diet, offering a versatile and nutrient-dense option that’s particularly rich in fiber and healthy fats. These tiny seeds provide a feeling of fullness and sustained energy, making them an excellent addition to support weight management. Chia seeds provide 16mcg of selenium per oz, or about 28% for adults [13].

selenium rich foods include chia seeds

Chia seeds, a healthful alternative to bread, are also a good source of selenium. These tiny powerhouses can be added to smoothies, yogurt, or used as a topping for oatmeal.

To incorporate chia seeds into your weight loss plan, try creating a nutritious chia pudding by soaking them in almond milk overnight and topping with fresh berries. This approach delivers a satisfying and nourishing choice that aligns well with your weight loss objectives.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Incorporating these selenium-rich foods into your daily intake can help you meet your selenium needs, fostering a strong immune system, healthy thyroid function, and overall well-being. Shiitake mushrooms are a popular mushroom variety that offers a good source of selenium providing 65% of the daily value per 145-gram cup serving.

selenium rich foods include shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms can incorporated into many dishes and provide 24.8 mcg (45% DV) per 100g serving for Selenium.

Remember to seek a diverse range of nutrient-dense foods to ensure a balanced diet that covers all essential vitamins and minerals.

Individual selenium requirements may vary based on factors such as age, gender, and activity level. Consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to determine the ideal selenium intake for your specific needs. Relish these delicious foods while prioritizing your health and vitality!

References and Citations

[1] . Medical News Today : Nutrition in Brazil Nuts

[2] Live Strong : Nutrition in Yellowfin Tuna

[3] Healthline : Nutrition in Sunflower Seeds

[4] BBC Good Food : Top 5 Health Benefits of Turkey

[5] Egg Info : Nutrition in Eggs

[6] Healthline : Nutrition in Oysters

[7] Healthline : Nutrition in Chicken

[8] Healthline : Nutrition in Cottage Cheese

[9] Healthline : Nutrition in Brown Rice

[10] Growing Naturals : 11 Reasons Why Brown Rice is Considered a Superfood

[11] Wikipedia : Tofu

[12] US. Department of Agriculture : Nutrition in Mackerel

[13] Super Sage : Selenium in Chia Seeds

9 Essential Amino Acids

The human body needs a constant supply of fresh, beneficial nutrients in order to survive and thrive. Amino acids form an essential component of our daily nutritional intake for a variety of reasons and benefits. There are 9 essential amino acids the body needs from our diet, but what amino acids and how do we benefits from them?

amino acids sources
Sample Sources of foods rich in amino acids.

What are Amino Acids?

Before we go into listing the various essential amino acids, let’s just take a moment to understand what they are and the functions they perform. Amino acids play numerous important roles in the body including

  • protein synthesis,
  • energy creation,
  • digestion,
  • creation of hormones
  • hemoglobin production
  • creation / synthesis of Elastin and Collagen for connective tissue (i.e taught healthy looking skin)
  • immune system health and function,
  • neurotransmitters for sleep cycles and appetite control.

The Science bit! Amino acids are compounds that contain amine (-NH2) and Carboxyl (-COOH) functional groups. The key elements of amino acids are : Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. While there are about 500 naturally occurring amino acids, only 20 appear in the genetic code. The genetic code is a set of rules used by living cells to translate information coded with genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) into protein. It is the genetic coding which defines how sequences are defined in the creation of proteins and which amino acid will be added next during this protein synthesis. These acids include the 22 protein building amino acids.

Amino acids can be used by the body to create various strains of proteins for use within the body as required by our various physiological systems including muscle building, tissue maintenance, the creation of collagen for healthy skin structure and many other functions. Part of these amino acid groups are the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) bodybuilders use to increase muscle mass – which we will discuss in another article.

In the form of protein, amino acids form the 2nd largest component (of which water is the largest) of human muscles and tissues. Beyond this role they participate in a number of processes such as neurotransmitters and bio-synthesis.

Of the 21 amino acids common to all life forms, there are 9 humans cannot create within the various physiological processes within the human body….

Here are the 9 Essential Amino Acids..

Phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is converted by your body into neurotransmitters Tyrosine, Dopamine, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine. Phenylalanine also plays an important role in the function and structure of protein, enzymes and the production of other amino acids.

Valine. Valine is one of 3 Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and helps stimulate muscle growth and regeneration. It is also involved in energy production.

amino acids (esp branched chain amino acids are needed to support muscle growth and maintenance

Valine, a vital amino acid, holds a pivotal role in promoting overall health and well-being. As a branch-chain amino acid (BCAA), valine aids in muscle repair, growth, and maintenance, making it crucial for active individuals and athletes.

Moreover, valine contributes to balanced nitrogen levels in the body, supporting immune function and tissue regeneration. Research suggests its potential in reducing fatigue and enhancing endurance during exercise [1].

Dietary sources like meat, dairy, and legumes provide this essential amino acid. Incorporating valine-rich foods can contribute to muscle health, immunity, and sustained physical performance.

Valine works with Leucine (below) in the creation and repair of muscles and Isoleucine (also below) in the metabolism of muscle tissue.

Physical fitness and health are highly attractive qualities in humans. Qualities that stem from our ancestors. Our “primal urge” and motivation to check out the opposite sex for partnering / mating. Just 1 of 12 reasons to lose weight.

Threonine. Threonine is the main component of the structural proteins Collagen and Elastin.

amino acids build collagen and elastin for healthy

Threonine is a critical contributor to the creation of collagen and elastin – the fundamental proteins responsible for maintaining skin integrity and elasticity [2].

Collagen provides structural support, while elastin imparts skin’s flexibility and resilience [3].

Threonine’s involvement in protein biosynthesis is vital for the formation of these connective tissues, which play a significant role in skin health. Studies highlight the importance of amino acids like threonine in collagen and elastin production, underscoring their impact on skin’s appearance and texture [4].

Lysine (below) also contributes to the creation of collagen and elastin.

A diet rich in threonine-rich sources such as meats, dairy, legumes, and nuts can contribute to sustaining youthful skin by supporting these crucial protein formations. Collagen and Elastin are very important for skin and connective tissue. Threonine also plays an important role in fat metabolism and immune system function.

Tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to Serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep and mood) that offers several health benefits:

  • Mood Enhancement: Tryptophan helps in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Adequate levels of tryptophan can contribute to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety[12].
  • Better Sleep: Tryptophan is known for its sleep-inducing properties. It helps in the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Consuming tryptophan-rich foods or supplements may aid in improving sleep quality[13].
  • Appetite Regulation: Tryptophan plays a role in appetite regulation. It can help reduce cravings and promote satiety, which may contribute to weight loss or weight maintenance[12][13]
  • Mental Health Support: Tryptophan has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. It may help alleviate symptoms of depression, irritability, and anxiety[12][13].
  • Nutrient Absorption: Tryptophan helps maintain the body’s correct nitrogen balance and supports the absorption of other nutrients[14]

Methionine. Methionine is an essential amino acid that offers several health benefits. Methionine plays an important role in metabolism and detoxification (cleansing) of your body. Methionine is also necessary for tissue growth and aids absorption of essential minerals Zinc and Selenium. Here are some key points to highlight about the health benefits of methionine.

  • Antioxidant: Methionine is an antioxidant that may help protect the body from damage caused by ionizing radiation and detoxify harmful substances in the body[15].
  • Memory Recall: One trial found that methionine may improve memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration[16]
  • Metabolism and Growth: Methionine supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. It is needed to make protein and other compounds in the body[16][17].
  • Liver Health: Methionine may help improve liver damage, especially when used alongside other treatments[18]. It also belongs to a group of compounds called lipotropics, or chemicals that help the liver process fats (lipids) [16].
  • Bone Strength: Methionine may help athletic performance and even weight loss due to its effects on bones. It may also help build bone strength[19].

It’s important to note that most healthy adults consume enough methionine through their regular diet. However, if you notice signs of liver damage, poor bone health, or other health issues, increasing your methionine intake may be beneficial. Incorporating methionine-rich foods such as eggs, fish, and some meats into your diet can help ensure an adequate supply of this essential amino acid[20][19].

Leucine. Another Branched Chain Amino Acid, Leucine is crucial for protein creation and muscle repair. Leucine also helps regulate blood sugar levels, stimulates wound healing and produces growth hormones.

Isoleucine. The 3rd BCAA on this list, Isoleucine is used in the metabolism of muscle in which it is heavily concentrated. Isoleucine is also important for the immune system, hemoglobin production and energy creation.

Lysine. Lysine holds a myriad of health benefits and plays major roles in protein creation and supports muscle growth and repair [5]. Lysine also aids in the absorption of Calcium for bone strength [7] and the production of hormones and enzymes. It is also important for the creation of energy, immune system functioning and the production of elastin and collagen. Lysine’s role in collagen synthesis is vital for skin, bone, and connective tissue health [6].

Furthermore, Lysine facilitates calcium absorption, contributing to bone strength [7]. Lysine’s antiviral properties are valuable in managing herpes simplex virus outbreaks[8]. Additionally, lysine supports immune function [9], aids enzyme and hormone production[10], and participates in energy metabolism[11].

Cucumbers are high in amino acids.

Incorporating lysine-rich foods such as meats, dairy, legumes, and beans can harness these advantages for overall well-being.

Cucumber is surprisingly rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids yet very low in carbs and calories. A delicious and easy healthy addition to any diet that brings many health benefits.

Hystidine. Histidine is used by the body to create Histamine – a neurotransmitter that is vital to immune system response, digestion, sexual function and sleeping cycles. Hystidine is also essential for maintaining the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects your nerve cells.

6 Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

In addition to the above list, there are an additional 11 amino acids we actually need. The following 6 amino acids are considered “conditionally essential amino acids“. That is to say their synthesis within the human body is dependant upon other pathophysiological conditions.

These 6 Conditionally Essential Amino Acids are : –

  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Glycine
  • Glatamine
  • Proline
  • and Tyrosine

6 Non Essential Amino Acids

None-essential amino acids are the amino acids we can create within the human body by metabolising other nutrients. Non-essential amino acids, including alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid, serine, and selenocysteine, provide a range of benefits for overall health. Here are the 6 non-essential amino acids.

  • Alanine is used in glucose metabolism and supports energy production during intense exercise.
  • Aspartic Acid. Aspartic acid aids in detoxification processes, neurotransmitter production, and immune system function.
  • Asparagine. Asparagine contributes to brain health, aiding in neurotransmitter synthesis.
  • Glutamic Acid. Glutamic acid is a vital neurotransmitter and is important for cognitive function and learning.
  • Serine. Serine participates in the synthesis of important molecules like proteins, phospholipids, and nucleic acids, supporting cell structure and growth.
  • and Selenocysteine. Selenocysteine, although considered “non-essential,” is only found in specific proteins involved in antioxidant defense systems, regulating thyroid hormone metabolism, and supporting immune function

While these amino acids are deemed non-essential because the body can synthesize them, their availability from dietary sources or supplementation can enhance their functional roles. Foods rich in protein, such as meats, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds, provide ample amounts of these amino acids. Incorporating a diverse range of these amino acids through a balanced diet can contribute to various physiological processes, promoting overall well-being and optimal functioning of the body’s systems.

References and Citations

[1]Blomstrand, E., Hassmén, P., Ekblom, B., & Newsholme, E. A. (1991). Administration of branched-chain amino acids during sustained exercise—effects on performance and on plasma concentration of some amino acids. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 63(2), 83-88.

[2] Proksch, E., Schunck, M., Zague, V., Segger, D., Degwert, J., & Oesser, S. (2014). Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 27(3), 113-119.

[3] Uitto, J. (1997). The role of elastin and collagen in cutaneous aging: intrinsic aging versus photoexposure. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 32-37.

[4] Solomon, M. (2007). Nutritional factors in skin health. Clinics in Dermatology, 25(6), 535-543

[5] Antonio, J., & Gonyea, W. J. (1993). Role of muscle fiber types in muscle hypertrophy: implications for muscle-building athletes. Sports Medicine, 16(6), 381-397

[6] Bae, J. H., Jo, C., Kwon, I. K., & Lee, H. G. (2012). Influence of dietary lysine restriction and environmental temperature on muscle protein turnover and heat production in growing pigs. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 25(5), 668-674.

[7] Heaney, R. P., & Nordin, B. E. (2002). Calcium effects on phosphorus absorption: implications for the prevention and co-therapy of osteoporosis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 21(3), 239-244.

[8] Griffith, R. S., Walsh, D. E., Myrmel, K. H., & Thompson, R. W. (1987). Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Dermatology, 175(4), 183-190.

[9] Li, Y., Li, X., Hussain, T., & Jiang, Y. (2018). Lysine: A review of its physiology and role in nutrition. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 9(1), 44

[10] Elango, R., Ball, R. O., & Pencharz, P. B. (2008). Lysine requirements of healthy adult Indian subjects receiving long-term feeding. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(2), 462-469.

[11] Holeček, M. (2018). Branched-chain amino acids in health and disease: metabolism, alterations in blood plasma, and as supplements. Nutrition & Metabolism, 15(1), 33.

[12] : 8 Tryptophan Benefits + Foods, Dosage & Side Effects

[13] : Tryptophan Benefits for Better Sleep & Moods

[14] Cleveland Clinic : Amino Acids

[15] University of Rochester Medical Centre : Methionine

[16] PeaceHealth : Methionine

[17] Swolverine : 3 Unique Benefits of Methionine

[18] Verywell Health : What is Methionine

[19] DrAxe : What is Methionine: Benefits and Food Sources

[20] Healthline : Methionine – Functions, Food Sources and Side Effects

Selenium Benefits

Selenium Benefits for Health, Fertility and Weight loss

Selenium benefits the human body in a number of ways. Health and nutrition are intertwined with each dependant on each other for true health. Selenium is an understated factor in this complex equation of healthy eating, nutrition and the healthy lifestyle all the benefits these factors bring together. Consequently, the health benefits of selenium are an essential component of good health – in many ways. Good nutritional balance is essential for health and healthy weight loss. While many focus on the macros (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) we cannot ignore the micro-nutrients – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids etc. Selenium is one of those micronutrients that plays numerous essential roles in weight loss and in our overall health. Here, we take a delve into the selenium benefits and explain why it (amongst the other micronutrients) is essential for our health. Firstly, we’ll take a quick overview of Selenium to introduce it’s many benefits.

What is Selenium and What Does Selenium Do for the Body?

Selenium is one of the essential trace minerals that plays numerous important roles in the body. One of the primary functions of selenium is its role as a cofactor for selenoproteins, which are enzymes that protect cells from oxidative damage. These selenoproteins help neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Selenium is also essential for proper thyroid function, as it is a key component of the enzymes involved in the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones. Adequate selenium levels support a healthy metabolism and contribute to maintaining energy levels and body temperature.

Furthermore, selenium is essential for a robust immune system. It helps to enhance immune response by promoting the production of cytokines and supporting
the function of white blood cells, which are crucial in defending the body against infections and illnesses. Some of these roles played by selenium include (and not limited to) :-

  • Cognitive Function.
  • Supporting a Healthy Immune System
  • Thyroid Hormone Metabolism
  • DNA Synthesis
  • Protects against Oxidative Damage and Infections
  • and Fertility (in both men and women)

Now, lets take a closer look into the individual benefits selenium has for the human body…

Selenium Benefits : Thyroid Gland Health

Selenium plays an important role in the proper functioning of the Thyroid Gland. Thyroid tissue contains more Selenium than any other organ in the human body. This powerful mineral helps protect the thyroid gland from oxidative damage and plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid gland is important because it regulates metabolism and also controls growth and development. Inadequate levels of selenium has been linked to thyroid conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a type of hypothyroidism in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland).

selenium benefits for thyroid - improve thyroid health with selenium

Thyroid health stands as a cornerstone of overall well-being, exerting a profound influence on numerous bodily functions. This unassuming butterfly-shaped gland, situated at the base of the neck, orchestrates a symphony of essential roles that extend far beyond its size. The thyroid gland primarily produces thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones act as metabolic regulators, dictating the pace at which cells convert nutrients into energy. This metabolic control impacts weight management, energy levels, and body temperature. Moreover, the thyroid plays a pivotal role in cardiovascular health, influencing heart rate and rhythm.

Beyond its immediate physiological effects, thyroid hormones also influence mental health, mood stability, and cognitive function. A harmonious thyroid function is crucial for growth and development, particularly in children and adolescents.

Extract from Selenium Benefits for Thyroid

The thyroid gland is surprisingly important – its health even more so. Poor thyroid health can result in many physical and mental health issues. Conversely, good thyroid health can give our lives the boost it needs for socialising, physical activity, fertility, mental acuity and cognitive abilities, metabolism, weight loss, heart health and many more.

Selenium Benefits for Weight Loss

Selenium’s benefits do not stop at the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to control metabolism of food into energy – energy we need to perform our daily tasks and lifestyle. Selenium also plays a role in weight management for both men and women. While not a direct weight loss solution, selenium contributes to the process through its influence on metabolism, heart health and energy levels.

selenium benefits for weight loss - a healthy thyroid gland helps us to improve metabolism and to lose weight

Selenium benefits weight loss through its support in the creation of selenoproteins, which in turn improves the health and performance of the thyroid gland (which helps regulate metabolism through various processes) help support thyroid function. An optimal metabolic rate can enhance the body’s ability to burn calories efficiently, aiding in weight management for both men and women.

Furthermore, selenium is involved in the production of cellular energy. As a component of selenoproteins, it contributes to the efficient functioning of the mitochondria, the cellular powerhouse responsible for generating energy. An increase in energy levels can lead to better physical activity performance and motivation to engage in regular exercise, which is essential for weight loss and maintenance.

Selenium Benefits for Men

While Selenium plays a crucial role in various physiological functions within the human body, both men and women benefit from selenium. Men, in particular, can experience specific advantages related to reproductive health. Selenium is known to have a positive impact on testosterone and sperm health, making it a vital nutrient for male fertility.

Selenium benefits for men include weight loss aswell as improved reproductive health.

Selenium Benefits for Men : Increased testosterone levels, sperm health, hair growth and DNA integrity….

One of the primary benefits of selenium for men is its ability to enhance sperm quality. Research shows that selenium is an essential component of selenoproteins. Selenoproteins act as antioxidants, protecting sperm cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress can impair sperm DNA integrity and motility, leading to reduced fertility. Adequate selenium intake can help mitigate this damage and maintain healthy sperm function.

Additionally, selenium has been associated with improved testosterone production. Testosterone is a key male sex hormone that influences sperm production and overall reproductive health. Studies have indicated that selenium supplementation can lead to increased testosterone levels, potentially enhancing fertility in men. [1][2][3]

As part of a healthy diet, selenium can boost weight loss which also improves male (and female) reproduction.

Selenium Benefits for Women

Selenium benefits for women are equally significant as they are for men. This essential trace mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being in females. From supporting the immune system to promoting reproductive health, selenium offers a myriad of advantages specific to women.

One of the key selenium benefits for women is its role as an antioxidant. Selenium works alongside other antioxidants to combat oxidative stress and reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals. This can help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular issues, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions, supporting women’s long-term health. [6]

Selenium benefits for women extend to reproductive health as well. Adequate selenium levels have been linked to improved fertility and a healthier pregnancy. Research has shown that selenium can protect against certain pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia, and contribute to better birth outcomes. [6]

Moreover, selenium plays a significant role in thyroid function, which is crucial for women’s hormonal health and metabolism. It aids in the production of thyroid hormones and supports the thyroid gland’s overall functioning, ensuring proper hormonal balance. [5]

The immune system also benefits from selenium, as it assists in the production of selenoproteins that regulate immune responses and help protect against infections and diseases.

Selenium Benefits : Fertility

As mentioned previously, selenium offers numerous benefits for both men and women, particularly concerning reproductive health and fertility [4]. Its role as a potent antioxidant contributes to protecting the body’s cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals, supporting overall well-being. However, its impact on fertility is especially noteworthy.

Selenium Benefits include increased fertility

Selenium Benefits : Fertility

Adequate selenium intake is particularly important for reproductive health as it is involved in the production of sperm and supports healthy fertility in both men [2] and women [3],[4].

Selenium can be sourced from : Pork, beef, turkey, chicken, fish, shellfish, and eggs. Certain beans and nuts, especially Brazil nuts, contain selenium.

For men, selenium benefits extend to improved sperm health. As a component of selenoproteins, selenium acts as an antioxidant that shields sperm cells from oxidative damage, ensuring better sperm quality, DNA integrity, and motility. Additionally, selenium has been associated with increased testosterone production, a hormone critical for sperm production and reproductive function. [2],[4]

Similarly, selenium benefits for women are significant, encompassing antioxidant protection, support for reproductive health, and a positive impact on the immune system and thyroid function. Adequate selenium levels have been linked to enhanced fertility and better pregnancy outcomes. Selenium’s role in thyroid function is particularly relevant, as a well-functioning thyroid gland is essential for hormonal balance and overall reproductive health in women.[

While selenium supplements are available, obtaining this essential mineral through a healthy diet is recommended. A balanced diet incorporating these selenium sources can ensure a steady intake of this essential mineral without the risk of excessive consumption, which could lead to selenium toxicity.

Research has shown that selenium intake through dietary sources is linked to better health outcomes. Studies have indicated that a diet rich in selenium can positively impact sperm health and increase fertility rates in men, as well as protect against certain pregnancy complications and promote better birth outcomes in women.

Selenium Benefits for the Heart

Selenium is an essential element for human health and has many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and other cardiovascular and
muscle disorders[10][12]. Here are some ways in which selenium benefits the heart:

  • Improves heart function: Selenium has been shown to improve heart function by increasing the activity of certain enzymes and reducing inflammation[13].
  • Lowers risk of heart disease: Studies have found that people with higher levels of selenium in their blood have a lower risk of heart disease[11]. This may be due to selenium’s ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as its role in regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels[10].
  • Prevents blood clots: Selenium may help to prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes[10].

Selenium reduces oxidative stress. Selenium has antioxidant properties that help to reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can damage cells and contribute to the development of heart disease[13]

selenium benefits include reduced heart disease risk

Protect Against Heart Disease. A high selenium diet can help you maintain heart health. Low levels of Selenium are associated with the increased risk of heart disease. In addition to this, selenium can reduce inflammation in your body – cellular inflammation is another cause of heart disease. Selenium can also increase the levels of glutathione peroxidase – a potent antioxidant. It’s important to note that while selenium can be beneficial for heart health, too much selenium can be harmful.

Selenium Benefits as an Antioxidant – The Antioxidant Properties of Selenium

In addition (and as part of the aforementioned benefits), selenium has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are essential compounds which are found in foods. They are known for the crucial role they play in preventing cell damage which occurs as a result of free radicals and excess fat deposits causing excess growth and weakening the cell walls.

Free radicals are natural by-products of processes that occur on a daily basis in the body. Metabolism is just one example of these free radical generating processes within the body. Whilst they may have a bad reputation and need controlling, free radicals play an important role in our health. Some of the functions free radicals perform include providing some protection to the body from disease.

Selenium benefits us by reducing the oxidative stress caused by excess alcohol.
Excess Beer and Alcohol Cause Many Health Problems including Obesity, Heart Disease and Liver Disease

However, unhealthy habits we do on a daily basis such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating charred food from a barbecue and stress can result in excess free radicals. Oxidative stress can occur as a result of this which causes damage to healthy cells in the body.

Studies have revealed a strong relationship between oxidative stress and chronic conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimers Disease, Cancer and premature aging and an increased stroke risk.

Antioxidants like selenium help reduce oxidative stress. Selenium achieves this by controlling the number of free radicals, protecting the cells from oxidative stress.

Seleniums’ Antioxidant Properties as a Guard Against Cancer

Reduce the Risk of Certain Cancers. As part of Selenium’s ability to guard against and reduce oxidative stress, Selenium has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. This is attributed to the ability of Selenium to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress, strengthen the immune system and destroy cancer cells. While there are supplements available to boost your intake of selenium, the best benefits are obtained through our natural dietary intake. We will discuss selenium rich foods an a separate post.

Selenium Benefits : Mental Health and Cognitive Function

Selenium plays an important role in many functions of the human body – including the brain. Research reveals definitive correlations between higher selenium intake and mental health.

selenium benefits - increased cognitive function

In one study conducted on elderly Americans, higher blood selenium concentration is associated with higher cognitive ability[7]. However, the study notes that the association between whole blood selenium concentration and cognitive function remains controversial.

Another study found that engagement in a choral intervention may attenuate cognitive decline for persons with dementia via a reduction of negative affect, relative to one’s personal average, which is linked to corresponding improvements in cognitive function[8].

Additionally, a study on older rural Chinese adults found that intergenerational financial transfers, perceived availability of future support, and pension income are associated with higher levels of cognitive function, while living with others, perceived availability of future support, medical insurance coverage, and pension income are associated with a slower risk of cognitive decline[9].

While scientists debate the specific benefits of selenium for the brain, it has also been noted through scientific research that a healthy diet rich in essential macro and micronutrients has a positive impact on brain health and cognitive ability. A healthy diet can prevent / reduce the onset of age related mental decline and mental health disorders. The ketogenic diet being just one example of how diet can influence mental health (the keto diet developed from studies of patients with mental health disorders).

Selenium Benefits : DNA Synthesis

Selenium plays a crucial role in various biological processes, including DNA synthesis. DNA synthesis is a fundamental cellular process required for growth, repair, and reproduction. Selenium’s benefits for DNA synthesis have been extensively studied, highlighting its role in maintaining genomic stability and cellular health.

Selenium serves as a cofactor for selenoproteins, a group of proteins that are essential for various cellular functions, including DNA synthesis and repair. These selenoproteins, such as thioredoxin reductases and glutathione peroxidases, play critical roles in protecting DNA from oxidative damage, a key factor in mutations and genomic instability. Additionally, selenium is involved in the regulation of cell cycle progression, further influencing DNA synthesis and cell division.

selenium benefits : DNA health

Furthermore, selenium’s impact on DNA synthesis extends to its interaction with other nutrients and antioxidants. It works in synergy with vitamins E and C (also antioxidants), enhancing their antioxidant effects and safeguarding DNA from damage induced by reactive oxygen species.

This collaborative action supports efficient DNA replication and repair mechanisms. Several studies have underscored selenium’s significance in preventing DNA damage and mutations, ultimately contributing to reduced cancer risk and overall cellular health. However, maintaining an optimal selenium balance is crucial, as both deficiency and excess can have adverse effects on DNA synthesis and cellular function

Selenium’s benefits for DNA synthesis are multifaceted, encompassing its role as a coworker for selenoproteins, its participation in antioxidant defense systems, and its influence on cell cycle regulation. These mechanisms collectively contribute to maintaining genomic stability and preventing DNA damage, highlighting the essential nature of selenium in cellular processes.

Summary: Selenium Benefits for Body

Selenium, an essential trace mineral, offers a multitude of benefits for the human body, impacting health, fertility, and weight loss. Its pivotal role in various bodily functions makes it a crucial component of overall well-being. As a cofactor for selenoproteins, selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders.

The mineral’s significance extends to thyroid function, where it aids in the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones. This support ensures healthy metabolism, energy levels, and body temperature regulation. Selenium also bolsters the immune system by promoting cytokine production and enhancing white blood cell function, crucial for defending against infections.

For men, selenium positively influences testosterone levels and sperm health, essential for reproductive health. In women, selenium’s antioxidant properties contribute to overall well-being, including reproductive health, immune system support, and thyroid function.

In the context of weight loss, selenium indirectly aids the process by supporting metabolism and energy levels through its role in thyroid function and selenoprotein creation. Additionally, selenium contributes to cellular energy production and mitochondrial efficiency, encouraging physical activity and exercise engagement, vital for weight management.

Research highlights selenium’s role in DNA synthesis and repair, safeguarding DNA from oxidative damage. By collaborating with antioxidants like vitamins E and C, selenium ensures efficient replication and repair mechanisms, reducing the risk of mutations and promoting cellular health.

However, maintaining a balance is crucial, as both selenium deficiency and excess can have adverse effects. Incorporating selenium-rich foods like pork, beef, turkey, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, beans, and nuts into a balanced diet is recommended for reaping its full benefits.

In conclusion, selenium’s diverse benefits for health, fertility, and weight loss underscore its essential role in maintaining cellular and metabolic well-being. Its contributions to antioxidant defense, DNA synthesis, and hormone regulation make selenium a valuable micronutrient in promoting overall health and vitality.

For more information on the benefits of selenium, read Selenium Benefits for Thyroid which goes into deeper insights into how selenium can improve your thyroid health which, in turn, improves many other physiological functions and processes with your body including weight loss.

Related Selenium Content….

sources of selenium

Sources of Selenium

Selenium is a powerful mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. Selenium rich foods should be one of your main goals to providing a healthy, balanced diet.

Selenium is available in many food sources including poultry, seafood, cattle, dairy products and certain vegetarian (plant based) sources.

Chick Out these Top 20 Sources of Selenium.

References and Citations

[1] Rayman, M. P. (2012). Selenium and human health. The Lancet, 379(9822), 1256-1268

[2] The association of semen quality in infertile men with urinary concentrations of seven trace elements: a cross-sectional study. BJU International, 109(4), 592-601. Safarinejad, M. R., Safarinejad, S., & Shafiei, N. (2012).

[3] Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate. International Journal of General Medicine, 4, 99-104. Ghasemi, A., Zahediasl, S., & Hosseini, R. (2011).

[4] Rayman, M. P. (2012). Selenium and human health. The Lancet, 379(9822), 1256-1268.

[5] Nat Library of Medicine: Low Population Selenium Status is Associated with Increased Prevalence of Thyroid Disease. Wu, Q., Rayman, M. P., Lv, H., Schomburg, L., Cui, B., Gao, C., … & Zhang, Z. (2015). The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 100(11), 4037-4047.

[6] The influence of selenium supplementation on postpartum thyroid status in pregnant women with thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92(4), 1263-1268. Negro, R., Greco, G., Mangieri, T., Pezzarossa, A., Dazzi, D., & Hassan, H. (2007).

[7] A cross-sectional study of blood selenium concentration and cognitive function in elderly Americans

[8] Exploring the impact of community-based choral participation on cognitive function and well-being for persons with dementia: evidence from the Voices in Motion project

[9] Cognitive function and cognitive decline among older rural Chinese adults: the roles of social support, pension benefits, and medical insurance

[10] National Library of Medicine: How selenium has altered our understanding of the genetic code.

[11] National Library of Medicine : Historical Roles of Selenium and Selenoproteins in Health and Development: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

[12] National Library of Medicine : Selenoproteins: the key factor in selenium essentiality

[13] Semantic Scholar : Biofortification of Fruit and Vegetables with Selenium

How Brussel Sprouts Can Turbocharge Your Weight Loss, Boost Your Health and Make You Look Younger!

Autumn and winter are typically the seasons our minds turns to the likes of Brussels Sprouts and other wintery veg. Good old mother nature has a pleasant boost for our health just waiting to be picked, prepared and enjoyed through autumn, winter and spring. But what are Brussel Sprouts and how can they help us in our quest for healthy life boosting nutrition and potentially -weight loss? In this healthy eating article we take a close look at brussel sprouts and provide you with Brussel Sprouts Benefits, Brussel Sprouts Nutrition Facts (including carbs and calories), Brussel Sprouts recipes including Brussel Sprouts with bacon recipe, roasted brussel sprouts, and a downloadable pdf for you to read and absorb at your leisure.

Brussel sprouts. Brussel sprouts with bacon.
Seasonal Favourite – Brussels Sprouts with bacon. Image : Adobe / grinchh

Those little veggies that look like mini-cabbages are packed with vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals that work wonders for your body – in both weight loss and health. Not only are they highly nutritious, but they’re also extremely versatile and can be prepared in a number of different ways (see brussel sprouts recipes and downloadable free pdf below).

You may remember Brussels sprouts as those small, round peculiar veggies that ended up on your plate as a child. Like most children, you probably didn’t want to eat them or cringed at the way they smelled while cooking.

Young Girl Viewing Brussel Sprouts on Fork

Despite these little drawbacks, they were put on your plate for good reason: they’re actually one of the world’s healthiest foods, making them a diet necessity.

Not just for Christmas or special occasions, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, proteins and anti-oxidants for overall well-being. They are especially beneficial for both short term and permanent weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy eating diet.

Our overall health requires us to consume a variety of fat burning vegetables – especially green and cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals that help in the cleansing of the body’s various systems.

Cruciferous veggies are a diverse group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress and radishes”

Source : Academy of Nutrition and Dietectics

Not only are they highly nutritious, but they’re also extremely versatile and can be prepared in a number of different ways – as you will soon learn.

What Are Brussels Sprouts?

Brussels sprouts don’t just look like mini-cabbages; they’re actually members of the Gemmifera group of cabbages.

Brussel sprouts cleaned and ready to eat
Brussels Sprouts (Raw). Image : Adobe / Norman Chan

Ancestors of the modern Brussels sprout were probably cultivated in ancient Rome. The sprouts we know and love today were probably originated from 13th Century Belgium. A small, leafy vegetable, Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamins:-

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Folate (B9)
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

And then there are the minerals – Calcium, Copper, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium Manganese, Selenium, Sodium and Zinc.

There are many more nutrients in the humble Brussels Sprout including :

  • Antioxidants for cellular cleansing and preventing / curing inflammation,
  • Amino acids and their numerous benefits (boosting metabolism, energy creation, boosts neuro transmitters to improve immunity and brain function),
  • Choline for sleep, absorption of fat and choline helps to reduce inflammation
  • Phytosterols. These have also been shown to reduce inflammation and lower LDL Cholesterol.

Brussel Sprouts Nutrition Facts

No matter how they come, Brussels sprouts can offer you an excellent source of nutrients. Packed with good things from nature, these vegetables are perfectly crafted for maintaining good health and wellness. But did you know sprouts can not only improve your health, wellness, and weight loss but they can also improve your fertility?

Rich in vitamin C and K, sprouts also contain good amounts of B vitamins – B1(Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Vit B9 (folic acid).

Did you know..

100g Brussel Sprouts (raw) provides 94% Daily Value for Vitamin C?

As you already know Vitamin C is vital for your immune system, but did you know that Vit C is necessary for the protection of cells from damage and inflammation?

Inflammation is the main issue behind weight gain and obesity and many other health problems.

Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen for firm, young looking skin … (saving money on expensive topical creams).

The supporting minerals and amino acids support the creation and repair of collagen and elastin for firmer, younger looking skin.

Image : Adobe / transurfer

Brussel sprouts can improve skin condition.

Brussels sprouts are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre and contain absolutely no cholesterol.

Vitamins in Brussels Sprouts (per 100g raw)

AmountDaily Value
Vitamin A754 IU15.00%
Vitamin A (RAE)38:00mcg——–
Thiamin (B1)0.139mg12.00%
Riboflavin (B2)0.090mg7.00%
Niacin (B3) 0.754mg5.00%
Pantothenic Acid (B5) 0.309mg6.00%
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.219mg17.00%
Folate (B9)61mcg——–
Vitamin C85mg94.00%
Vitamin E0.88mg4.00%
Vitamin K177mcg148%
Table Shows Vitamins per 100g Raw Brussels Sprouts. Daily Values US Gov. recommended minimum

Foods rich with vitamin A have been known to offer protection against some cancers such as oral cavity and lung cancer. The extent of cancer protection in Brussels sprouts is still widely researched. Promising findings hint that sprouts help fight cancer-causing agents and cleanse the body of many toxins. Vitamin A also helps improve the skin and improves eye health.

Brussels sprouts are one of the best sources of vitamin K. Vitamin K is known to improve bone health. Vit K has also been shown to prevent diseases and disorders of the bones such as osteoporosis.

Minerals in Brussel Sprouts

In addition to these nutrients, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of the following minerals:-

  • iron
  • manganese
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • copper
  • phosphorous

Brussel Sprouts Benefits

Being rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, Brussels sprouts help to treat many health problems. They are simply a highly nutritious addition to any diet.

As already mentioned, Brussels sprouts help with a number of health problems – they provide the body with the support it needs to build strong bones, remove toxins (cleansing or detoxing) and cancer-causing radicals and agents.

The nutrients in Brussel Sprouts also regulate metabolism, promote strong muscles, oxygenate the blood, and do much, much more.

Love them or loathe them, Brussel Sprouts are a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable. Scientific research has discovered a multitude of health benefits to eating Brussel Sprouts. These superfoods are a do-it-all veggie that promotes optimal health and well-being.

Brussels sprouts are also a great source of vitamin A – an antioxidant required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes….

Like cabbages, they may cause an overactive bowel if eaten to excess. Eaten 2 or 3 times per week Brussels Sprouts will provide a highly beneficial source of essential nutrients.

Sprouts for Weight Loss

You may (or may not) be aware that green leafy vegetables are an excellent aid to fat loss and many aspects of your health. Being a type of cabbage, Brussel sprouts are also highly beneficial in weight loss.

Brussel sprouts should be eaten as part of a healthy diet.
Brussels Sprouts should be included as part of any Healthy Weight Loss plan. Image : Adobe / Kurhan

With Vitamins A and C being antioxidants, Brussels sprouts also help to increase your metabolism. As the antioxidants cleanse and repair the cells, they also remove the toxins in your fat cells.

With cleaner, healthier fat cells, the transfer of energy becomes more efficient resulting in improved metabolism. This cleansing also reduces cellular inflammation – one of the primary results of an unbalanced diet and causes of obesity.

Brussel Sprouts are a rich source of amino acids which in themselves contain many benefits including :

  • Promote Muscle Building (Muscles are a high energy consuming tissue and require substantial volumes of fat / energy to build and maintain)
  • Energy Production
  • Boosts Collagen and Elastin for skin condition and elasticity and returning to ‘normal’ after weight loss
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Metabolism of Fats
  • Detoxification / Cleansing
  • Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
  • Improves Sleep – Wake Cycles
  • Enhance Exercise Performance

And those are just the benefits of the amino acids inside sprouts. The Vitamins (esp Folate (B9) and Vitamin C also contribute to the burning of fat and weight reduction. Folate contributes to energy production as well as maintaining RNA and DNA quality and cell growth. Folates have also been shown to fight depression, confusion, and anemia.

Thinking Clearly – Cognitive Benefits of Brussel Sprouts

During the natural process of metabolism and catabolism of amino acids ( source : Ammonia is deposited within the brain. Ammonia (NH3) is a highly toxic colourless gas composed of Nitrogen and Hydrogen and is produced naturally in our environment and ecosystems including the human body.

Excess levels of ammonia in the brain can cause confusion and loss of cognitive abilities (focus).This is in addition to other serious health complications around the body including coma….

Brussel sprouts can protect against hyperammonemia

Ammonia Toxicity.

Ammonia is highly toxic. Normally blood ammonium concentration is < 50 µmol /L, and an increase to only 100 µmol /L can lead to disturbance of consciousness. A blood ammonium concentration of 200 µmol /L is associated with coma and convulsions.”

Source :

An additional benefit of eating greens (and sprouts) is in their ability to cleanse the brain of this toxin allowing the brain to function clearly.

This clarity of thought goes hand in hand with the clearer vision you will gain from the Vitamin A.

Now, I know this is a lot to take in and you may not even believe that just one veggie can be this beneficial to your overall health and well being, so here’s a list of the whole body health benefits for you…

Whole Body Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

As you may understand by now, consuming Brussels sprouts on a regular basis can improve many of the body’s functions :

  • Improved Cognitive Abilities
  • Increase Energy
  • Boosts Weight Loss
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Joint Pain reduction
  • Improved Appetite Control
  • Hormone Regulation
  • Improved Skin and Hair Condition
  • Increased Eye Health
  • Increases Fertility
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Reduces LDL Cholesterol
  • & Prevent Coronary Heart Disease

Brussel Sprouts : Created By Nature, Made for You!

Though Brussel sprouts may have gained a bad reputation when you were a child, you can now look at them with new eyes. These little vegetables are wholly good for you with benefits for your whole body and well-being.

When eaten in moderation, these beauties will keep you regular, have you feeling great, with increased energy and vitality and inspire you to create a healthy diet around them and their health benefits.

Sprouting Fat Loss ebook

Sprouting Fat Loss (Updated Version Coming Very Soon)

Mom always said “Eat Your Sprouts” and she was right. The humble Brussel Sprout is filled to the brim with beneficial nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, Choline and Phytochemicals.

Choline aids in the absorption of fat, maintains the structure of cellular membranes and reduces chronic inflammation (one of the primary causes of weight gain and obesity)

Phytochemicals. Brussel Sprouts (having NO Cholesterol) are a rich source of Phytochemicals which which reduce LDL Cholesterol levels. Phytosterols have also been shown to reduce inflammation.

Proteins and Amino Acids. Whilst providing 7% Daily Value of Protein, Brussel Sprouts are also a rich source of 11 amino acids each with their own health benefits including stimulation of muscle growth, production of serotonin, construction and maintenance of collagen and elastin, boosting metabolism, regulation of blood sugar levels, detoxing / cleansing, stimulate wound healing, builds white blood cell activity and many, many more benefits.

How To Cook Brussel Sprouts

Adding Brussels sprouts to your diet is incredibly easy because they can be cooked in many tasty ways – boiled, baked / roasted, sauteed, grated / shredded, stir fried. Cooked sprouts can also be served with Chestnuts, Almonds, Cashew Nuts and Bacon (see ebook for more recipes).

Boiled Brussels Sprouts

  1. Bring a 2 pint saucepan with 1pint water to the boil and season with sea salt.
  2. Prepare sprouts by removing outer leaves and base stem
  3. Place in boiling & simmer for 20 mins
  4. Drain and serve with freshly cracked black pepper and 20g of butter (optional but delicious)!
Brussel sprouts recipe - brussel sprouts with cashew nuts.
Brussels Sprouts with Cashews. Image Source : Adobe / nata_vkusidey

For More information on the nutrition, health benefits and 7 Delicious ways to Cook Brussel Sprouts…..

Download Your FREE pdf Guide: “Sprouting Fat Loss” and Discover

More Brussel Sprouts Benefits and Recipes to Try

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Sprouting Fat Loss Reveals :

  • Brussel Sprouts Nutrition
  • How Sprouts Can Make You Look Younger
  • How Sprouts Can Increase Your Fertility
  • Brussel Sprouts Benefits (including Cancer prevention)
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Brussel Sprouts
  • Weight Loss Benefits
  • 7 Different Brussel Sprouts Recipes

Sprouting Fat Loss is currently being updated with new, up-to-date nutritional information and nutritional benefits. Please bookmark this page and come back soon.