Top 11 Selenium Foods: Boost Your Intake of This Essential Nutrient

Learn how eating these selenium foods can help improve your health in numerous ways.

selenium foods

Each day, you should get the recommended daily allowance for selenium, which is 55 mcg (micrograms) per day for adults.

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It’s important to make sure your diet contains sufficient amounts of the selenium, an important trace element that is necessary for healthy brain, immune system, thyroid, reproductive, and lung function. Make sure these selenium foods play a starring role in your regular diet.

11 Foods High in Selenium

Reasons to Boost Your Selenium Intake

Some of the health benefits of eating more selenium foods include:

  • Improving cognitive function. Higher intake of selenium is associated with lower rates of cognitive decline.[1]
  • Boosting immune system activity. Adding more selenium to your daily diet can help promote optimal immune function.[1]
  • Supporting thyroid health. Selenium is helpful in treating autoimmune thyroid disorders.[2]
  • Treating asthma. Selenium can help lung tissues to fight oxidative damage and improve immune responses, which can help treat asthma.[3]
  • Reducing cancer risk. Selenium intake has been associated with reduced risk for several types of cancers.[1,2]
  • Improving fertility. Higher selenium levels may protect against infertility.[2]

How Much Selenium Do You Need?

Each day, you should get the recommended daily allowance for selenium, which is 55 mcg (micrograms) per day for adults.

For an idea of how much selenium is in the above foods, brazil nuts contain 777% of the daily value of selenium, with 544 mcg selenium per serving. Tuna has 92 mcg per serving, halibut has 47 mcg per serving, chicken has 22 mcg per serving, an a large egg has 15 mcg.[4]

The upper tolerable intake level (the most you should consume safely) is 400 mcg per day for adults.[4] There are risks associated with having too much selenium in your diet, so you don’t want to overdo it.[1] Researchers have suspicions that too much selenium can raise the risk for type 2 diabetes.[5] So limit your intake of those foods with a lot of selenium in them, like brazil nuts and tuna.

Work with a doctor who can monitor your levels to make sure they are in the recommended range and don’t get too high.

Share Your Experience

Do you eat any of these selenium foods? Do you have tips for incorporating foods high in selenium into your diet?

This article was originally published in 2016. It is regularly updated. 

[1] Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):254-68.

[2] Thyroid. 2006 May;16(5):455-60.

[3] Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Feb;33(1):98-106. 

[4] National Institutes of Health Fact Sheet. Selenium. 2013.

[5] Nutrients. 2015 Mar 31;7(4):2209-36.

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  • Hi – In this article, you write: “Each day, you should get the recommended daily allowance for selenium, which is 55 mg (milligram) per day for adults.” However, according to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of selenium is 55 mcg (microgram). I wanted to flag the issue as the article could mislead readers into consuming too much selenium.

    • Hi Chris, thank you for pointing out the error. It has been corrected. Thanks again!

  • But I think the whole article refers to milligrams when it should say micrograms. Right? Not just in the first paragraph.

  • What is a serving of Brazil nuts that cause us to over consume your Recomended 400mcg per day max If one “serving “is 577mcg alone

    • Hi Tom, 2 Brazil nuts can be consumed to reach the recommended 400 mcg per day.

  • Need to know seize of one serving of Brazil nuts to give us too too much selenium at 577mcg

  • I’d like to point out that a study has been done on ‘the effects of common cooking heat treatments on selenium content’ (google that exact term to find a paper written on the topic) that concluded that cooking foods that contain selenium results in the selenium being significantly altered, meaning that most of the foods you’ve listed above would be negated from the list on account that the average person isn’t likely to eat uncooked fish, eggs or ham.

  • People, Stop “Correcting” the MG MCG thing!! This guy took his time writing this article to help all of us. Be sure to check your own “spelling”, before you criticize someone else. Also, Just Think before you Comment..Be Nice!!

  • It is not frivolous to point out errors of magnitude. A milligram is one thousandth of a gram while a microgram is one millionth of a gram. So a milligram is one thousand micrograms. A milligram is one thousand micrograms. Needless to say the implications for overdosing is obvious and is very crucial. Thanks to both the original author as well as those who have sought clarification on the dose. We cannot overemphasize the seriousness of this issue. Thanks to you all.


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