What Are The Vegan Sources of Selenium?

Selenium is an essential mineral that takes care of a lot of functions in the body. Food sources of selenium are an important element of any balanced diet. If you want to know all about proper selenium sources, then this is the perfect starting point for you.

Despite being a trace mineral, any dietary reference chart considers selenium to be one of the most important nutrients that you should look out for. This article will talk about the primary sources of selenium- why selenium is an important nutrient and how selenium deficiency can be a dangerous consequence for your overall health.

Some Vegan Selenium Sources For You

#1 Brazil Nuts

brazil nuts

Selenium is present in the soil and is therefore present in most food items in a very small trace amount. However, food items like brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Vegans also need to consume enough selenium, even if they don’t consume meat or fish.

A good way to meet their daily intake and have enough selenium is to consume brazil nuts. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is 254 mcg of selenium per 100 grams of brazil nuts. It is one of the richest natural food sources also. Thus, these nuts are indeed very high in selenium.

In fact, researchers from the University of Otago discovered that consuming 2 brazil nuts per day for a duration of 12 weeks can increase the amounts of selenium in your system by more than 60%. There is absolutely no need for vegans to consume expensive supplements.

You can meet your daily selenium intake just by having a couple of brazil nuts daily. Apart from brazil nuts, grains and pulses also have high selenium levels. This source of selenium has a very high level of vitamin E as well, which will take care of your immune system and protect you from oxidative damage.

#2 Whole Grains

High selenium content can also be found in all kinds of whole grains. The selenium levels in whole grains are actually pretty high – but it depends on the level of selenium in the soil. If you don’t want to invest in expensive selenium supplements, then you should try out all of the cheap and healthy vegan sources.

Normal meals like whole wheat pasta and plant-based beef will allow you to reach your intake target comfortably. You can also try out brown rice as it is a healthy vegan choice that is rich in other nutrients also.

#3 Other Sources of Selenium

sunflower seeds

Apart from brown rice and brazil nuts, you can also find them in normal fruits and veggies. These take the selenium in the soil and will provide you with a healthy way to get the right selenium intake. In fact, another way for you to ingest enough selenium is to have sunflower seeds.

Vegans all over the world love to have sunflower seeds since it provides 60-75 mcg in only 1 cup. Boiled soybeans and raw tofu are also very rich in selenium, with 1 cup of tofu providing 27 mcg of the mineral.

The Function of Selenium In The Human Body

You must be wondering why the right amounts of selenium need to be consumed by the average human. Selenium plays a lot of important roles in the ecosystem of the body and dieticians recommend vegans regulate their intakes and consume the right daily value of the nutrient in their regular diet.


Selenium is something that is recommended daily because it is an important nutrient and anti-oxidant. Free radicals in the body affect DNA synthesis and can cause tissue inflammation and even cancer. A few micrograms of selenium every day will protect you from this kind of oxidative damage.

Thyroid Function

Thyroid hormone metabolism in the human body is taken care of by the selenium mineral. It plays an anti-oxidant role with the thyroid hormone, which is why most medical personnel will often ask you to consume foods that have high levels of selenium. It is therefore a very important nutrient.

DNA Synthesis

As it is a powerful anti-oxidant, selenium is also required for DNA synthesis. Just having a few micrograms of selenium on a daily basis will protect you from thyroid and cancer. Vegan foods rich in selenium can also help the body to repair DNA that’s been damaged.

Reproductive System Health

Low selenium can be very bad news for your reproductive system. Improper selenium intake can have a negative effect on the long-term health of your reproductive system. Thyroid hormone metabolism is also needed to ensure the long-term health and well-being of babies and toddlers.

Selenium is an essential mineral and that is why the right amounts of selenium need to be consumed by adults and children on a regular basis. Before making changes to your nutrition or dietary patterns, you should seek medical advice.

Here is what deficiency selenium can do to your body.

The Most Important Signs of Selenium Deficiency

If you don’t take the right micrograms of selenium per day, then you will be vulnerable to a number of diseases. Here are the most recognizable signs of very low levels of selenium, which can have lasting effects on your immune system also.

Male Infertility

Male infertility is a major problem that you’ll have to contend with if the selenium status of your diet is very low. This selenium deficiency symptom can be easily corrected with 60-75 mcg of the nutrient daily.

Muscle Weakness & Fatigue

Muscle weakness and fatigue is also a clear indicator that your diet has a low amount of selenium. You will need to improve your selenium status. Whole wheat pasta and plant-based selenium sources can be helpful.

Hair Loss & Baldness

Hair loss is one of the biggest indicators of selenium deficiency. If there are low selenium levels in your body, then you will suffer from progressive hair loss. You might need selenium supplements to improve the selenium status of your diet. Plant-based sources are very helpful.

A Weak Immune System

Low selenium content in your diet and body will also cause you to have a weak immune system. You will see that you are suffering from colds and viral infections persistently. Vegans need to improve their intake so that they don’t suffer any large deficiency consequences.

Diseases Caused By Low Selenium

Keshan Disease

This is a type of disease that is triggered by a low level of selenium and some sort of viral infection. The heart muscles are weakened and it is a form of cardiomyopathy.

Kashin-Beck Disease

Low levels of selenium consumption can lead to orthopedic problems also, which is known as Kashin-Beck disease. You will need to eat vegan food that is rich in selenium.

Is There Something Like Too High in Selenium?

Too much selenium may have other effects on you as well. This condition is known as selenium toxicity and it can have lasting consequences on your health.

This is why you need to control your intake. If you have too many brazil nuts 1 day, then you can develop toxicity symptoms. The signs of selenium toxicity are persistent metallic taste, hair fall, brittle nails, nausea, diarrhoea, skin rashes, etc.

Final Thoughts

The risk of too much selenium is definitely there. However, you need to build a diet that will allow you to gain access to the correct amount of nutrients. There are many vegan plant-based options that you can explore. If you consume your selenium in moderation, you will be completely fine.

About Mark Miller

I'm Mark, and I am one of the two faces behind CodeVegan. I co-founded CodeVegan alongside Lila. To give you a little background, my journey here hasn't been an easy one. So, for all of you out there struggling, I've been there. You're not alone! Like many of you, I grew up a meat-eater, but I soon realized the impact this had on the world. I've been a vegan for the last ten years, and life has never been better. It takes time to adjust, but it's worth it in the end. Now, my lifestyle choice is an integral part of who I am. In my early days, there wasn't much in the way of information either, so with this blog, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

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