10 Selenium-Rich Food Sources You Should be Eating
Selenium is an essential trace mineral required for reproductive function, thyroid hormone metabolism, synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), fighting infections, and protecting from oxidative stress.  Scientific studies indicate that while moderate selenium intake increases the activity of the antioxidants glutathione peroxidases and combats cancer, excessively high doses of this mineral may actually promote cancer. 
A study of 34,000 males found that a high selenium intake protected the body from rather than exacerbated the development of prostate cancer.  Selenium benefits HIV-positive patients by preventing viral load progression and increasing immune cell count but additional evidence suggests that excessive high selenium blood levels negative impact glycemic control. 
Selenium deficiency may cause male infertility, contribute to the development of Kashin-Beck and Keshan diseases, as well as further exacerbate iodine deficiency.  As with most vitamins and minerals, moderate intakes of selenium maximize the trace mineral’s upsides and minimizes any potential drawbacks.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of selenium for males and females 18 years and older is 55 micrograms (mcg/µg) per day but increases to 60mcg for pregnant women and 70mcg for lactating women.1 However 200 to 300mcg per day may maximize the cancer-fighting properties and general health benefits in otherwise healthy individuals. 
The tolerable selenium intake upper limit for males and females 18 years and older is 400mcg so many health professionals argue that the RDA is too low.  The body absorbs 55% to 70% of the organic forms of selenium, selenomethionine and selenocysteine, found in food.  Your skeletal muscles store between 28% and 46% of all selenium in your body. 
The kidneys are responsible for 50% to 60% of all selenium excretion from both inorganic (selenite and selenite) and organic forms.  The body is fairly effective at regulating the absorption and storage of selenium based on your dietary intake.
This article provides a list and brief write-up of 10 selenium-rich food sources. While you may already know that some of these foods are selenium-rich, hopefully this article provides you with a few new foods to incorporate in to your diet.
10 Selenium-Rich Foods
#1 – Brazil Nuts – 544mcg per 1 ounce (28g)
Brazil nuts are the superstars when it comes to selenium-rich food sources. Just 1 ounce (28g) of unblanched brazil nuts contains a whopping 544mcg of selenium, 187 calories, 19 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus fiber), and 4 grams of protein.  While Brazil nuts are slightly higher in fat and lower in protein than other popular nuts like almonds and pistachios, they are a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. 
Those adhering to the principles of volumetrics to lose fat may want to choose a different nut – just six of these kernels comprise a 28 gram serving. When consumed in moderation Brazil nuts are hands-down the best food for dramatically increasing your selenium intake. Brazil nuts are a delicious and portable standalone snack.
To add variety, place these nuts on an ungreased cookie sheet or in a stovetop pan, season with salt, pepper, and garlic, and bake at 350oF or cook over medium heat until they reach the desired roasted consistency.
#2 – Yellowfin Tuna – 123mcg per 4 ounces (113g)
Tuna is an affordable protein-packed food adored by athletes across a multitude of sports. Four ounces (113g) of fresh yellowfin tuna cooked in dry heat contains 123mcg of selenium, just 147 calories, one gram of fat, zero carbohydrates, and a whopping 33 grams of muscle-building protein.  Yellowfin also packs 350mg of heart-healthy anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, just 11mg of Omega-6 fatty acids, and hefty quantities of phosphorus, and B-vitamins thiamin, niacin, and B6. 
The standard American diet (SAD) is extremely low in Omega-3s and high in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. To maximize heart health and muscle recovery aim for one to three grams of Omega-3 fatty acids per day. Yellowfin tuna tastes great when combined with flavors like lemon and garlic, soy sauce, or salt and pepper. After marinating or seasoning you can bake, broil, pan-fry, grill, or even sear this versatile fish.
Do yourself a favor and incorporate yellowfin tuna for its selenium, protein, and Omega-3 content.
#3 – Lamb Kidneys – 186mcg per 3 ounces (85g)
I’m willing to bet most of you rarely if ever eat organ meats, let alone lamb kidneys. Now before you skip past this section hear me out – organ meats are one of the most affordable nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Just 3 ounces (85g) of cooked lamb kidneys contain 186mcg of selenium, 115 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, and just one gram of carbohydrates.  Lamb kidneys contain a 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids as well as provide high amounts of riboflavin, vitamin B12, iron, and phosphorus. 
If you’re looking to increase your selenium and protein intake but are tired of eating the usual animal protein sources then lamb kidneys may be right up your alley. Those on low cholesterol diets should consume organ meats sparingly as just three ounces contains 480mg of cholesterol.  Otherwise healthy individuals need not worry about this cholesterol content; in fact, consuming adequate amounts of dietary cholesterol supports normal hormonal function.
While I’m not expecting you to eat lamb kidneys daily, or even weekly, they impose little to no flavor when tossed in soups stews yet they dramatically improve the nutrient profile. Those looking to experience the texture of kidneys in all their glory should remove the kidney’s fatty core and pan-fry the meat with butter, salt, and pepper.
#4 – Enriched Semolina Flour – 75mcg in ½ cup (84g)
Those of you in to baking and pasta-making know all about semolina flour. Semolina is made from the endosperm of durum wheat used to make Italian-style bread and noodles ranging from lasagna to ravioli.  ½ cup of enriched semolina contains 75mcg of selenium, 300 calories, 10.5 grams of protein, 61 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fat, and 3.5 grams of fiber. 
Although this carbohydrate is relatively low in fiber it is high in B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate as well as a good source of iron manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.  Unfortunately semolina flour is also high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in Omega-3 fatty acids but as long as you consume it alongside a fatty fish the Omega 3 to 6 ratio should end up favorable.
Semolina is relatively inexpensive and can be found at specialty foods and general grocery stores. It’s not always the most popular product on the shelf because most people would rather buy premade pasta and bread so be sure to check the expiration date before purchasing.
#5 – Pacific Rockfish – 114mcg per 1 filet (149g)
The rockfish is a generic term for a number of fish species caught off the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska with a mild and slightly sweet taste.  The most common of which being sold and labeled as Pacific snapper. 1 baked filet (149g) contains 114mcg of selenium, 33 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and zero carbohydrates. 
These fish species also contain an average of 760mg and 57mg of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids respectively as well as moderate amounts of niacin, vitamin B6, B12, phosphorus, and potassium. 
Common seasonings used when baking Pacific rockfish include dill, garlic, lemon pepper, onion powder, salt, pepper combined with oil or butter. Those looking to expand their palate can prepare rockfish with silvered almonds and minced parsley. Add Pacific rockfish to your next shopping list if you want to diversify your fish intake without the breaking the bank.
#6 – Northern Lobster – 106 mcg per 1 cup (145g)
You may notice the recurring theme of seafood being an excellent low-calorie, high-protein non-plant source of selenium. Those looking to financially indulgence in a selenium-rich food that won’t expand your waistline should look no further than Northern lobster cooked in moist heat. 1 cup (145g) of this tender buttery meat contains 106mcg of selenium and 27.5 grams of protein for only 130 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and zero carbohydrates. 
Lobster also has a 17 to 1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids as well as ample amounts of vitamin B12, copper, zinc, and phosphorus.  Like most crustaceans, lobster isn’t the lowest sodium selenium-rich food option, clocking in at 550mg per serving. For otherwise healthy individuals that exercise regularly and consume enough potassium to balance out their sodium intake should not worry about consuming lobster.
The purists out there will tell you there’s only one way to eat lobster – freshly steamed with lemon and clarified butter. You can also incorporate it in to seafood stews, sandwiches, and spreads. Lobster is expensive and not viable for most of us to consume regularly but it’s great if you want treat yourself to an extremely lean source of protein and selenium.
#7 – Flat Iron Steak – 79mcg per 1 steak (179g)
Until this point in the article you have not seen any mention of beef and unfortunately that is with good reason – it’s not exactly the most selenium-rich animal protein source out there but it’s also not the least. 1 cooked flat iron steak (179g) trimmed to 0” fat contains 79mcg of selenium, 315 calories, 48 grams of protein, 12.5 grams of fat, and zero carbohydrates. 
It’s also a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, B12, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. The flat iron steak is an alternative name for the shoulder top and center steaks taken from the beef clod or shoulder of the cattle. This is one of the cheapest and toughest cuts of beef so marinating and not overcooking is key. Marinating flat iron steak will break down the tough muscle fibers, leaving you with a more tender and juicy steak after the grilling process.
Flat iron steak is most commonly used in fajita dishes at Mexican restaurants which is why they serve it to you sizzling hot. If you’ve ever placed leftovers overnight in the refrigerator, then you know what consistency flat iron steak can achieve. However, when prepared correctly, flat iron steak is a delish and affordable cut of beef high in protein and selenium.
#8 – Wheat Germ – 91mcg per 1 cup (115g)
Wheat germ is the second grain to make this list of selenium-rich foods. 1 cup (115g) of crude wheat germ contains 91mcg of selenium, 414 calories, 27 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of fat.  This grain is also a very good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, riboflavin, niacin, iron, and potassium. 
Wheat germ may seem superior to semolina flour because it is much higher in fiber and protein but it’s also much higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. As a result, these two grains have exceptionally different consistencies and are used for very different purposes. Wheat germ’s fat content significantly lowers its shelf life and likelihood of spoiling compared to semolina flour.
For a boost of selenium mix wheat germ in to your yogurt, meal replacement shake, smoothie, or oatmeal. Some bakers will even replace some of the flour in a bread recipe with wheat germ or incorporate it directly in to desserts.
#9 – Cured and Cooked Pork Bacon – 36mcg per 6 slices (55g)
When it comes to discussing bacon as part of a healthy and balanced diet most members of the fitness community tend to take one of two starkly contrasting stances. The first camp’s dogma is, “OMG bacon is amazing. It’s my life. I want to name my firstborn bacon.” The other camp believes bacon is Satan’s reincarnate because it contains high amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and nitrites.
I’m a firm believer that just about any food can be part of a healthy diet… especially bacon. 6 slices of cured bacon cooked in the microwave (55g) contains 36mg of selenium (65% of the RDA), 260 calories, 21 grams of protein, 19 grams of fat, and less than one gram of carbohydrates.  Pork Bacon is also a good source of phosphorus and niacin.  Now I’m not saying you should eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but this savory treat is perfect for those consuming a ketogenic diet (very low carbohydrate diet moderate in protein and fat consumption).
The cholesterol and saturated fat content support testosterone and normal hormonal function in otherwise healthy individuals. The sodium content is on the higher side but balance it out with some potassium rich fruits and vegetables and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Don’t demonize bacon. Don’t worship bacon. Incorporate bacon as a protein, fat, and calorie-rich source of selenium.
#10 – Sunflower Seed Kernels – 23mcg per 1 ounce (28g)
Rounding out the list of selenium-rich food sources is dry roasted sunflower seed kernels. Compared to other foods on this list sunflower seeds may not seem like a great source of selenium but when we consider the RDA is 55mcg per day, just 1 ounce provides 23mcg or nearly 42% of this recommended value.
The same serving contains 165 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5.5 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber.  The majority of this fat is heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Dry roasted sunflower seeds are also a great source of vitamin E, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus. 
If you already consume moderate amounts of selenium than incorporating sunflower seeds may be the perfect snack to provide that slight bump without putting you in the dangerous intake levels. Those are low calorie diets should consume sunflower seeds cautiously – they’re calorically dense, highly addictive, and not as filling as other foods on this list. If you’re looking to increase your selenium, healthy fat, and calorie content then sunflower seeds are an affordable and portable snack to keep on-hand.
If you still find yourself struggling to consume adequate quantities of this vital mineral, then consider using a high quality selenium supplement sold by a reputable retailer. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle Tiger Fitness knows “It’s Not a Game!”
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