Large industries have come up to service the needs of the human population, last estimated at 7.4 billion. To meet our dietary needs, the food industry has focused on serving up carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are the three major nutrients that your body needs. Along with the industries come bucketloads of advocacy groups who have a view on why you should or should not be eating a particular type of food. In this din, it is easy to lose track of the micro-nutrients that your body requires such as minerals and vitamins. One such vital micro nutrient is selenium.

Selenium is a trace element present in varying quantities in many foods. It is an essential nutrient that helps the human body deal with reproduction, thyroid metabolism, and protection from oxidative stress. Selenium in particular is necessary for managing oxidative stress as one of the vital roles it plays is in eliminating free radicals in your body. This leads to a reduced risk of cancer. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that you take 15 mcg of selenium if you are a new born and as you grow older increase this up to 55 mcg for those who are above 50. This is because the number of free radicals in your body increases as you age and are exposed to toxins from your environment.

Selenium is found in soil and in in water and therefore if you live in geographic areas that have selenium naturally, you may be able to ingest enough from just eating. If you do not, some of the foods that are rich in selenium are brazil nuts, tuna, beef, turkey and cottage cheese. Brazil nuts are both calorie rich and rich in selenium so even just one brazil nut is enough to meet your requirements. Remember that too much selenium can be harmful to you and therefore it must be eaten in moderation.

In addition to helping reduce the risk of cancer, selenium has also been linked to reduced cognitive degeneration, thyroid disease and cardiovascular diseases.



Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.