Selenium is a trace metal and also an essential mineral for the body. It is required for certain bodily functions and has to be obtained from the diet.
Because it cannot be synthesized in the body. These days attention has turned towards this mineral. Experts are promoting the need of this ingredient in the food for good health and mind.
Selenium, the essential mineral
Body requires various minerals for functions of the body and enzymes. One of these is selenium. It is a trace metal and the body needs it in small amounts.
But often the diet is deficient in this mineral. The mineral is needed for thyroid function and for the important metabolic processes in the body.
The food sources rich in this vital mineral are eggs, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, chicken breast, and seafoods.
But people who are totally vegetarian or vegans or are allergic to seafoods might observe symptoms and signs of deficiency of this mineral in the body.
The mineral is also present in barley, chia seeds, brown rice, broccoli, flax seeds, wheat, and sunflower seeds.
Functions of the mineral in the body
Selenium is a potent antioxidant. Therefore, it removes the harmful free radicals from the body and prevents cell damage.
Stress, pollution, alcohol and smoking give rise to these dangerous chemicals in the body. But a diet adequate in this protective mineral can easily eliminate these harmful substances and keep the body free of them and healthy.
It improves blood flow to vital body organs and fights inflammation. Additionally, it is essential for proper thyroid functions and adequate production of thyroid hormones. It repairs DNA and thus prevents cancerous transformation.
The mineral is good for brain functions and cognition and helps overcome age-related brain deterioration. Moreover, it has a role to preserve sperm health in men and avoid miscarriages in women.
Daily requirements of this mineral is as low as 55 mcg per day. And children need just 20 to 40 mcg per day. On the other hand, pregnant and lactating mothers need more. Their requirements might reach as high as 70 mcg per day.
Health benefits of this mineral
Ensuring adequate quantities of selenium in daily food can help prevent many diseases. These include neurological conditions related to aging, heart diseases, thyroid dysfunction, tiredness, skin problems, and hair loss.
Risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s is lessened. People with low levels of the mineral in blood had higher risk of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Several studies have shown that selenium helps in overcoming chronic inflammatory conditions that play a role in heart diseases, strokes, and neurological decline and dementia.
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The mineral helps in healthy cells and keeps cancer formation risk low. A meta analysis revealed that with sufficient selenium intake the risk of certain cancers including those of breast, lung, colon, and prostate was less.
In people undergoing radiation therapy, the side effects of the treatment is less when the patient uses selenium supplements. Selenium also enhances immunity.