Foods to boost selenium

Selenium intakes in New Zealand are generally lower than the recommended amounts.

How much?

The daily recommended dietary intake (RDI) is:

  • Women: 60 micrograms (mcg)
  • Men: 70mcg

Why we need it

There is growing evidence that higher intakes than the RDIs could boost immune function and help reduce chronic disease.

How to get it

Brazil nuts are an exceptionally good source of selenium and fish and other seafood are very good sources. Other foods containing selenium include meat, poultry, eggs and bread.

Each of these will provide around 25 micrograms  of selenium

  • 150g chicken, grilled
  • 40g canned tuna, in brine, drained
  • 2 steamed mussels (33g meat)
  • 1/2 a Brazil nut, raw
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 70g cooked tarakihi

Did you know? Researchers at Otago investigated the bioavailability of selenium in Brazil nuts and found eating just two Brazil nuts each day to be just as effective as taking 100mcg in supplements. They caution that no more than a few Brazil nuts should be eaten daily so as to avoid excess selenium and the possibility of high intakes of barium and radium which are also found in the nuts.

First published: May 2010

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