Selenium, Energy & The Brain
Selenium is one of those powerhouse antioxidants that has wide health benefits. It may help increase energy and cognitive function.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a mineral found widely in the environment. It is also a powerful antioxidant which actually works inside the body to help it produce even more antioxidants. Numerous studies have linked low levels of selenium in the body to poor moods, decreased cognitive function and memory loss. The brain processes selenium differently than other antioxidants, so it's important to maintain steady levels of this powerful nutrient.
Benefits of Selenium
- Improves mood
- Increases energy
- Increases cognitive function and clarity
Importance of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are necessary to the maintenance and well being of the body. Our bodies are assaulted daily with free radicals, or oxidants, which we inhale, ingest and absorb through our bodies. Free radicals damage cells inside the body and cause any number of serious health problems. Antioxidants work inside the body to combat these free radicals and prevent them from doing any further damage. While our bodies make antioxidants, we don't make nearly enough to counter all the free radicals. Therefore it's important to consume as many antioxidants as possible.
Antioxidants and the Brain
Antioxidants are great for the brain as well. Literally, they clear your head! They work to clean out the brain, removing plaque build-up from the fats that may cause high cholesterol. One such form of plaque, called beta-amyloid has been linked to an increased risk of memory loss. By clearing out this plaque you can lower your risk of memory dysfunction as you age. Remember to clean up your diet as well.
How Much Selenium?
It is recommended that we consume as least 55 micrograms of selenium each day, and no more than 400 mcg. Experts say 200 micrograms is a good number to get the full benefits of this antioxidant. Be careful though; too much selenium can be toxic. Warning signs of excess selenium include stomach problems, fatigue, hair loss, nail problems and nerve damage. If you are taking a supplement or trying to increase daily amounts of selenium, be sure to check with your doctor.
Foods For Selenium
Selenium can be found in a wide variety of foods, but amounts may vary slightly due to selenium content in the soil and water. Food processing may also affect selenium levels. Brazil nuts are by far the best source of selenium: one ounce has 96 micrograms, almost double your daily recommendation!. Other common sources include:
- Nuts - Almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds
- Seafood - Shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, sardines, tuna, snapper
- Meat - Chicken, pork chops, lamb
- Grains - Rice, wheat, soy
- Pinto Beans