Selenium is an essential trace element that must be obtained through diet. It is a component of enzymes that help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can be caused by free radicals, which can damage cells and cause inflammation. The antioxidant effect of selenium can reduce such damage and lower the risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's.
In addition, selenium is important for the immune system as it is involved in antibody production. Selenium is also crucial for healthy thyroid function. It aids in the conversion of T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3.
Selenium plays a significant role in reproduction by improving sperm quality in males and enhancing fertility in females.
The table above shows the amount of selenium found in nuts, seeds, and kernels. However, we will provide more detailed information about some of them below.
Selenium In Nuts, Seeds And Kernels
Nuts, seeds, and kernels are relatively rich in selenium. However, please note that the selenium content of these foods may vary depending on their origin, soil conditions, and processing. If the soil is low in selenium, the selenium content in the food will also be lower.
Brazil nuts contain a significant amount of selenium. A single Brazil nut can contain up to 90 µg of selenium, which exceeds the daily requirement for adults. Brazil nuts are known for their mild and buttery flavor and originate from the Amazon region in South America. Today, they are also cultivated in other countries such as Bolivia and Peru.
Here is a list of other nuts, seeds, and kernels that are selenium-rich and should be included in a healthy diet:
- Almonds are rich in selenium, as well as vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. Magnesium supports the regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Fiber promotes a healthy digestion.
- Cashews are also a good source of copper, magnesium, and zinc. They strengthen the immune system and promote bone health. Regular consumption of cashew nuts can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Flaxseeds are an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and selenium according to our tables. Regular consumption of flaxseeds can promote digestive health and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids they contain have anti-inflammatory properties and can thus reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases.
- Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health and inflammation reduction. They also contain antioxidants and fiber.
- Hazelnuts have higher levels of vitamin E, manganese, and selenium. Manganese supports bone health by being involved in the formation of bone tissue.
- Chia seeds offer a higher presence of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. They are also an excellent plant-based protein source, especially for vegans.
- Pumpkin seeds should be part of a healthy supplement as they are an excellent source of magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, and selenium. Consuming pumpkin seeds can strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer in men.
- According to the table, sunflower seeds are among the best selenium-rich foods. They also contain a high amount of vitamin E and magnesium.
- Pistachios also have higher selenium content. They are rich in fiber, proteins, and healthy fats. They can be a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium in your vegan diet. Vitamin B6 is important for brain and nerve function and hormone production, while potassium is needed for regulating blood pressure and muscle contractions.
- According to the table, sesame seeds are also selenium-rich and rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium. Iron is an important component of the protein hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth.
Also, incorporate other selenium-rich foods to meet your selenium requirement. Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, grain products like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta, as well as certain vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and garlic, contain relatively higher selenium content.
Getting Selenium From Butter, Paste And Creams
You can also get selenium from processed nuts and seeds such as nut butter, nut paste, and creams. Good examples include:
- Sesame paste (Tahini)
- Cashew paste
- Almond paste
- Hazelnut cream
- Peanut butter (since peanuts are not classified as nuts, it appears in our legume table with selenium)
Some of these products may contain additional ingredients like sugar or salt, which can affect their nutritional value. Check the ingredient list and opt for products made without additional ingredients or with natural ingredients. Alternatively, you can also make them yourself, giving you full control over the ingredients.
Selenium-Rich Nuts And Seeds In Your Diet
There are many ways to incorporate nuts and seeds into your selenium-rich diet. Simply choose your favorite ingredients and experiment a bit. This way, you can find good combinations that work best for you. Here are a few vegan suggestions on the list:
- Nut flour can be used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Use almond or hazelnut flour, for example, to bake cakes, muffins, or bread.
- Add a handful of almonds, cashews, or walnuts to your smoothies. You can also use chia seeds, flaxseeds, or hemp seeds.
- Ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds can be used as ingredients in your breakfast. You can mix them in muesli, yogurt alternatives, or oatmeal.
- Instead of using croutons in salads, you can add roasted nuts instead.
- You can also use almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew cream as ingredients in many different dishes. You can use them as spreads on bread, as ingredients in sauces, or even as toppings for desserts.
- Nuts can serve as a substitute for meat in vegetarian or vegan dishes. Chopped walnuts or almonds work very well in chili sin carne.
- Nuts can also be used in sauces. For example, you can make a sauce using almond butter, soy sauce, and ginger and pour it over the vegetables.
- You can sprinkle chopped walnuts or pistachios on your cakes or cupcakes to enhance them.
- Pine nuts or pumpkin seeds can be used as ingredients in pesto.
- Seeds can also be used as ingredients in sandwiches. Sprinkle sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts on your sandwich.
- Almond butter and peanut butter can be used as dips for vegetable sticks or apple slices.
- Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are ideal as toppings for soups.
- Walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds can be used as ingredients in homemade bread.
- Use nuts as well as chia seeds and flaxseeds as ingredients for energy balls and granola bars.