Selenium is a mineral that helps in many of our body functions. It can help in improving heart health, enhancing the immune system, reducing cancer risk, etc. We will get selenium from the food that we eat. However, the amount of selenium in different foods mainly depends on the selenium content in the soil where that plant food was grown. If you are over 14 years, you need around 55 mcg of selenium daily.
Here are some of the benefits of adding selenium-rich foods to your plant-based meals.
Helps In Preventing Heart Disease
According to a recent study, a selenium-rich diet can help in keeping your heart healthy and reducing the risk of developing heart diseases. Many studies conducted over the years have found that there is a 24% reduction in the risk of heart disease when the blood selenium levels are increased by 50%. Studies have also shown that selenium is capable of lowering the markers of inflammation in your body, which is one of the major risk factors of heart disease.
According to researchers, taking selenium supplements regularly may help in lowering the levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker, and help in reducing the risk of heart disease. Selenium can also increase the levels of glutathione peroxide, a powerful antioxidant that will help in reducing oxidative stress effectively and thereby reduces heart disease risk effectively. By adding more selenium-rich foods to your plant-based diet, you can decrease the levels of inflammation and oxidative stress in your body.
Helps In Preventing Mental Decline
As we age, we may suffer from various diseases that could cause a mental decline. One of the diseases that can cause memory loss and also negatively impact your behavior and thinking is Alzheimer’s disease. According to statistics, it affects millions of people in the United States and it is one of the leading causes of death around the world. Many studies have found that oxidative stress is involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and many other forms of degenerative diseases. Therefore, a diet rich in selenium can help in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease because it can act as a powerful antioxidant.
According to several studies, the levels of selenium are lower in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One small study has found that eating foods rich in selenium and other antioxidants can help in improving memory in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study has found that taking one Brazil nut daily can help in improving verbal fluency and cognitive function in people with degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. This is because Brazil nut is an excellent source of selenium.
Helps In Reducing Cancer Risk
We have already discussed that selenium can act as a powerful antioxidant. That means, in addition to reducing oxidative stress, it can also help in lowering cancer risk. It was found that selenium is capable of reducing DNA damage, boost your immune system, and helps in destroying cancer cells. Many studies conducted over the years have found that the risk of developing breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers is lower in people with high levels of selenium in their blood.
It is very important to note that these studies mainly looked at the effects of selenium which was obtained through foods. Researchers are still not sure whether selenium supplements can also provide these benefits. However, some of the recent studies are showing that taking selenium supplements may help in reducing the side effects caused by radiation therapy. Another study has found that oral selenium supplements helped in reducing diarrhea caused by radiation therapy in women suffering from uterine cancer. A selenium-rich diet also helped them to improve their overall quality of life.
Helps In Boosting Your Immune System
Studies have found that selenium plays a major role in boosting your immune system. It can act as a powerful antioxidant and help in lowering the oxidative stress in your body and thereby reduces inflammation levels and boosts your immune function. Many studies have linked increased levels of selenium in your blood with improved immune response. It was also found that a deficiency of selenium could also harm the immune function.
Recent studies have linked selenium deficiency to an increased risk of disease progression and death in people with HIV. However, taking selenium supplements may help in improving the symptoms in people with HIV and lead to fewer hospitalizations. It was also found that taking selenium supplements can help in strengthening the immune system of people suffering from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and influenza.
Plant-Based Foods Rich In Selenium
One of the best sources of selenium is Brazil nuts. You will get around 544 mcg of selenium from just one ounce of Brazil nuts. Just one cup of baked beans and brown rice can provide 13 mcg and 19 mcg of selenium respectively. Sunflower seeds, mushrooms, oatmeal, spinach, etc. are some of the other best plant-based sources of selenium.