You may not know it, but your body needs selenium. Selenium is a mineral found in the soil. As weird as that sounds, selenium naturally appears in water and some foods, too. While people only require a very small amount, selenium plays a key role in the metabolism.
A single nutrient – selenium – has been shown to hold great promise in the war against cancer and because of its antioxidant properties.
Selenium is one of the “necessary” nutrients for humans, meaning that our bodies cannot make it, and so we have to add it from our diet. Without it, the heart, joints, eyes, immune system or reproductive system can suffer.
Selenium is a trace element that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Whole foods are the best sources of selenium. The mineral may be destroyed during processing, just as any other nutrient and mineral.
Selenium deficiencies are uncommon. It’s is rare worldwide, often takes years to develop and is usually only found in regions with severely low selenium content in the soil.
Selenium is able to play such a protective role in the body because it increases antioxidant capabilities and the eminence of blood flow, thus, enhancing the body’s battle against diseases and stress. Here’s a list of its most common benefits:
- Acts as an Antioxidant & Defends Against Oxidative Stress
Selenium benefits include the ability to fight the aging process and help the immune system by reducing free radical damage. Selenium has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants like Vitamin E, enabling the body to battle oxidative stress and to protect against cancers like prostate and colon cancer.
- Helps Defend Against Cancer
Selenium is particularly helpful if you have a weak immune system or a history of cancer in your family. Interventions using selenium treatments at high doses have revealed that selenium benefits anti-cancer abilities within the body.
- Boosts Immunity
According to studies, selenium is needed for the proper functioning of the immune system, and can also be a key nutrient in counteracting the growth of viruses including HIV.
- Improves Blood Flow & Lowers Chance of Heart Disease
Low selenium concentrations are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Selenium supplements or a boost of selenium-rich foods may be able to help put a stop to coronary heart disease.
- Helps Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Observational studies have demonstrated that patients with persistent asthma may have lower levels of selenium. According to studies, when people with asthma took selenium supplements, they experienced less asthma related symptoms.
The health benefits of selenium are great for many conditions. Even in food sources, which will be mentioned soon in another article, the amount of selenium is largely reliant on soil conditions that the food grew in, therefore even within the same food, levels of selenium can vary differently for each one. Selenium benefits are usually found in crops grown in certain locations more-so than others.
Selenium supplements are available, but it’s best to obtain any vitamin or mineral through food. It is not the individual vitamin or mineral alone that make certain foods an important part of our diet, but the combination of those foods and nutrients working together.