A truly healthy lifestyle includes a wide variety of foods that provide a host of nutrients that are essential to life. I don’t like to value one nutrient above the other, what is important is variety and balance, but I do want to give you some more information on a few specific nutrients that many of us simply don’t get enough of. I also want to explain why they are important and how we can incorporate them into our healthy eating regimen easily. Let’s dive into nutrient #2: Selenium.
Selenium is a chemical element that is commercially produced as a byproduct in refining metal ores, often for making glass and pigments. You may be thinking, why would I need something like that in my diet? As a mineral it can be toxic in very large amounts, but small amounts are necessary for cellular functions: it protects cells against oxidative damage, repairs damaged cells, and are involved in thyroid hormone regulation.
I will continue to discuss the importance of these nutrients on the adrenal glands because, again, this time of year can be very stressful and these glands can get overworked and eventually become exhausted if we are not careful. Selenium protects the adrenals from free radical damage (the reactive intermediates that are released when our body attempts to detoxify itself) and helps with the formation and elimination of cortisol.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to gnaw on metal to get the benefits of this essential mineral. The richest food source of selenium is Brazil nuts and you only need 1 per day to meet your daily requirement of 200-400mcgs. Remember it can be toxic in large amounts, so take care not to exceed this recommended amount and avoid having any more than 10 Brazil nuts in one week. Some selenium can also be found in brown rice, chia seeds, and mushrooms.