The lesser-known selenium might not seem like much at first glance, but rest assured, selenium is extremely vital to the health. Additionally, it functions as an essential mineral that can only be obtained through food. Although it is only needed in small amounts, selenium is responsible for several critical functions such as thyroid function and metabolism. Apart from that, the mineral acts as a powerful antioxidant has been shown to lower the risk of certain cancers and prevent other health conditions. Let’s delve deeper into the various benefits of selenium for the overall health of the body.

 

Benefits of Selenium

Potent Antioxidant

Selenium acts as a potent antioxidant in the body. It combats the harmful effects of free radicals in the body and it also prevents oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an accumulation of free radicals. Oxidative stress is noted for increasing the risk of certain chronic conditions including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Moreover, oxidative stress has been linked to premature ageing, which causes a number of skin issues such as wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin. Although an excessive production of free radicals can potentially harm the body, it is important to note that free radicals are essentially naturally occurring byproducts of metabolism. They are crucial for performing critical functions such as protecting the body from disease. Factors such as lifestyle and environment play a large role in affecting the production of free radicals in the body. For instance, if you smoke or drink heavily, you could be susceptible to free radical damage. The antioxidant properties in selenium work to lower oxidative stress by suppressing the production of free radicals in the body. Additionally, it also neutralises excess free radicals and protects cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.

Lowers the Risk of Certain Cancers

Besides preventing oxidative stress in the body, selenium has been proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, selenium has the ability to reduce DNA damage and oxidative stress. This, in turn, keeps cells healthy and more resistant to diseases, infections and viruses. Apart from improving the immune system and eliminating cancer cells, studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between high selenium and a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, lung, breast and prostate cancers. In fact, a review consisting of 69 studies with over 350,000 participants has shown that people with a high level of selenium in their blood were more immune to specific cancers. If you are undergoing radiation therapy, taking selenium will go a long way to alleviate the symptoms and side effects of the therapy.

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

If you are looking to boost the health of your heart, look no further! A diet of selenium will improve your cardiovascular health and maintain the overall health of your heart. In addition to that, studies have shown that an increase in selenium in the blood has been linked to a significant reduction in coronary artery disease. Selenium also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds that remove toxins in the body and further decreases the risk factors for heart disease. More specifically, selenium reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Apart from that, oxidative stress and inflammation have been strongly associated with atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries. As you may be aware, the buildup in the arteries restricts blood flow to the heart and increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and even stroke. Include more selenium-rich foods into your diet to ensure that both oxidative stress and inflammation in the body remains low.

Boosts the Immune System

Being responsible for fighting off potential threats such as bacteria, viruses and parasites, it’s no surprise that the upkeep of our immune system is crucial for the peak performance of our mind and body. According to studies, there is a strong link between increased high levels of selenium in the blood and improved levels of the immune response in the body. A deficiency in selenium has been shown to decrease the overall health of cells and lead to a slower immune response. Other studies have proved that a deficiency in selenium increases the risk of death and the speeds up the progression of HIV. Moreover, taking selenium supplements might strengthen the immune system in patients with tuberculosis, influenza and hepatitis C.

 

Best Sources of Selenium

One of the major plus points of the mineral selenium is that it can be found in several healthy foods including Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, sunflower seeds, eggs, oysters, sardines and shiitake mushrooms. It is important to note that, that amount of selenium found in plant-based foods is highly depended on the soil in which these foods are grown in. For instance, if the selenium content in the soil is high, the plants grown in that plot of soil will inadvertently contain a higher concentration of selenium.