Shopping for more selenium

Many New Zealanders aren’t getting enough of the antioxidant selenium. Make these changes to boost your intake.

Instead ofChooseAdds
1 crumpet (1mcg selenium) and 1 tablespoon golden syrup (0mcg selenium)1 English muffin (22mcg selenium) and 1 scrambled egg (10mcg selenium)31mcg
1 small blade steak (about 120g) with 7mcg selenium1 snapper fillet (about 120g) with 144mcg selenium137mcg
10 pistachio nuts (1mcg selenium)2 Brazil nuts (97mcg selenium)96mcg
4 fish fingers (41mcg selenium)1 fillet hoki (about 120g) with 84mcg selenium43mcg
Small can of salmon in springwater (28mcg selenium)Small can of tuna in sprinwater (47mcg selenium)19mcg

In context

Selenium is an antioxidant that plays many important roles in the body, from immune function to fertility. Research has shown that a diet rich in antioxidants keeps our cells healthy and reduces our risk of developing cancer.

The Ministry of Health recommends that women get 60mcg selenium per day, and men 70mcg. According to the 2008/2009 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey, 32 per cent men and 58 per cent women are estimated to have inadequate selenium intakes. Low levels of selenium in New Zealand soils contributes to our low selenium intakes. The upper limit for selenium is 400mcg per day, and if exceeded can have side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, so don’t go overboard on the Brazil nuts.

First published: Mar 2012

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