Selenium is an amazing mineral that is so important for our health, and this tasty smoothie features it. Win-win!
It occurs naturally in the soil. For this reason, foods grown in selenium-rich areas provide great sources of selenium. The amount of this mineral in the foods we eat is entirely dependent upon the amount of selenium present in the soil from which it is grown.
Another reason to purchase organic fruits and veggies when you can - the soils in which organic produce is grown tend not to be depleted of natural minerals.
Health Benefits of Selenium
Selenium most notably acts in conjunction with other ingredients in our foods to provide protection against oxidative stress on the body - a major cause of aging - and is thus considered a powerful antioxidant.
It is particularly important for the health of our thyroid gland, and diets low in selenium lead to hypothyroidism.
This mineral also may well fight certain types of cancer, most notably prostate cancer. Studies conducted by Cornell University and the University of Arizona demonstrated that prostate cancer risk was lowered by as much as 63% by selenium supplementation.
Other cancers that were reduced significantly in selenium studies include lung cancer and colorectal cancer. In additional studies, other cancers showed diminished risk, such as pancreatic cancer, cancer of the liver and esophagus, as well as cancers of the rectum and cervix.
It is important to note that science does not consider any of these studies to be definitive until further study has replicated these promising results. Studies that have definitively duplicated selenium results indicate that it helps lower bad, or LDL cholesterol and raise good, or HDL cholesterol, making it especially helpful for maintaining a healthy heart.
Fruits and Vegetables High in Selenium
The Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) of selenium is 55 micrograms.
Mushrooms are among the richest vegetable sources with 19 micrograms in 1 cup of shiitake or white button mushrooms. A cup of lima or pinto beans averages 9 to 11 micrograms, and 1 cup of spinach provides 10 micrograms. 1 oz. of Brazil nuts contain a whopping 544 micrograms.
Other sources but with only 2-4 micrograms of selenium per cup are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, and asparagus.