Selenium for Health

Posted by Rene Harwood on

 

Your body requires a multitude of vitamins and minerals to not only perform regular daily functions, but to assure that you live a quality life for as long as possible. So, what does the nutrient selenium do for you, what amount do you require and how can you make sure you get enough to enjoy its benefits?

Selenium’s function

Selenium does three major things for your body. First, it helps protect your cells from the free radicals that may damage them, thereby allowing the formation of serious health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Second, it aids in strengthening your immune system; and third, it keeps your thyroid operating as intended.

How much you need

Even though this mineral is necessary for to many important processes, you don’t need a large quantity of it in your diet. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is only approximately 55 mcg (micrograms) per day for those over the age of fourteen. Younger children need less (20-30 mcg), and pregnant or lactating women need more (60-70 mcg).

If you don’t get enough of this key mineral in your diet, you risk heart disease and hypothyroidism as well as an immune system that can’t properly defend your body from minor illnesses and major sicknesses. Also, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, not enough selenium in your diet can result in three different diseases: Keshan disease (an enlarged heart), Kashin-Beck disease (osteoarthropathy) and Myxedematous endemic cretinism (mental retardation).

However, don’t try to overdo it on a regular basis to protect yourself either. Too much selenium built up in your system can result in hair loss, bad breath (that smells like garlic), fatigue and emotional upset; not to mention that it’s tough on your digestive system and may result in damage to your nerves.

How to get it

So, how do make sure you get the selenium your body needs? Ideally, you want to eat foods that contain a decent amount of this key nutrient.

The best possible source is Brazil nuts. Just one ounce has 544 mcg of selenium, which is over 700% of your daily RDA. Other great food options include tuna (97 mcg), cod (46 mcg) and turkey (39 mcg). You could also take a nutritional supplement that contains selenium in it to assure that you meet your minimum requirements.

Making sure this key mineral is in your diet will result in many positive benefits. Get the amount you need so you can enjoy them today.