Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that works to protect our cells from damage that may cause health problems. It’s an essential mineral that we need for optimal functioning and isn’t produced by the body itself – it’s found in the foods we eat or the supplements we take. Luckily, however, only a small amount of selenium is needed to have a significant effect on our lives and health, improving the function of our immune system and such organs as heart, brain and thyroid.
Since selenium is not exactly a household name, let’s take a look at where it comes from and what it does.
Some common food sources of selenium include nuts (high amounts in Brazil nuts), seafood (oysters and sardines), meats (chicken and lamb), and mushrooms (Shiitake and King Bolete). While there is some variation on selenium levels in food depending on the quality of the soil of the food’s origin, and whilst individual needs and preferences need to be accounted for in consultation with your preferred practitioner, usually a balanced and varied diet rich in preferably organic nuts, vegetables, fruit and seafood, will deliver a physically active person’s daily selenium requirements.
Selenium and exercise are closely linked.
We have known for a long time that physical exercise can optimise brain function, however it’s the 2022 findings from research by the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) that have linked the exercise-induced creation of neurons in the brain to selenium. The team’s research found that the creation of selenium-rich protein came after exercising; and also found that selenium supplements could kickstart the same process of firing brain function for those unable to exercise.
Selenium may improve memory and brain function.
According to the 2022 QBI studies, selenium ‘could reverse the cognitive impact of strokes and boost learning and memory in ageing brains’ by mitigating the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
There is so much more to say about selenium, but in a (Brazil) nutshell: It’s an essential part of a healthy life!