Selenium, what is it and why is it important


Even though it doesn’t receive a lot of attention the essential mineral selenium is a key nutrient that helps with many vital functions in your body. This mineral is only needed in small amounts but it plays a major role in many important processes in the body including metabolism, immune system response and thyroid function. Your thyroid contains the highest concentration of selenium in your body. The thyroid is part of your endocrine system and works to support many responses in the body including muscle control, hormonal production and heart health.


One of the reasons selenium has received a lot of attention is because it acts as powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds in foods that work to prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals often have a bad rap, but they are normal by-products that occur in your body on a daily basis and are essential for overall health. Free radicals perform important functions including protecting you from disease and assisting with proper immune system response. Problems with free radicals begin to arise when certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use and stress cause an excess of free radicals. When your body has an overabundance of free radicals it leads to oxidative stress, which damages healthy cells. Antioxidants such selenium are important to include in your diet because they help reduce oxidative stress by keeping free radical numbers in check.



Check out this list of foods that contain selenium.


Denise Boyd, BSc, Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RNH) with a specialization in Cognitive and Immune Support.


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