August 5, 2018

We’re continuing our series on micronutrients. Today we are going to talk about Selenium. Have you heard of selenium before? As I’ve mentioned before kids nutrition is about more than calories — let’s be clear, everyone’s nutrition is about more than calories. This series is meant to give you a sense of appreciation for the big role tiny nutrients play in whole foods and why eating a varied diet (and offering one to your kiddos) will lead to the highest quality diet and the healthiest you!

Selenium, like the other micronutrients is an essential building block for humans. It is an important part to the proteins in your body responsible for any number of functions including fighting oxidative stress, reproducing cells, building an immune system and thyroid hormones among others. There are some instances when our bodies may need more selenium. These include: pregnancy and lactation, kidney failure requiring dialysis, HIV, excessive intestinal losses (especially those with GI conditions like Crohn’s).

Selenium in the diet

Below are foods that typically have higher concentrations of selenium. It’s important to know that the amount of selenium in the food will depend on the amount of selenium in the soil where the foods are grown (or the diet of the animal if an animal product). Brazil nuts are a great option because they consistently have high amounts of selenium and that boils down to the needs of the tree — it will not grow and produce the nuts if there isn’t enough selenium in the soil.

  • Brazil nuts *** if consumed in too high amounts could lead to toxicity, keep your intake <10 per week, but truly one most days per week is a great goal.
  • Fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Cashews

Great recipes that are high in selenium

As mentioned above, the selenium content in foods varies based on the selenium in the soil where the food grew so combining foods is a great idea. A few of these are my recipes and others are from some of my favorite sites and writers who provide me with infinite inspiration.

Quinoa Berry Salad

Roasted Veggie Salad with Chimichurri 

Chicken with Broccoli and Cashews

Sausage & White Beans

Homemade Fish Nuggets

Vegan Breakfast Burritos 

KERF Oatmeal Love

Have you been enjoying the series? Or maybe you’re just checking in and you haven’t seen the post on iron or zinc yet, be sure to check them out!

Please note: this is only presents information on a single nutrient. The information in this post does not replace specific medical advice geared toward your individual child. If you are concerned about your child’s intake, please make an appointment with your pediatrician and a pediatric dietitian.

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