Selenium for vegans

Selenium is an essential trace mineral (needed in very small amounts).

Selenium has various functions within the human body, including protection from oxidative stress damage, reproduction health, DNA synthesis, as well as thyroid hormone metabolism.

The amount of selenium that you’ll find in plant foods is dependant on the selenium content of the soil in which the plant is grown.

Table of contents

In this post, we are going to have a look at the following information regarding selenium:

> A few of the roles that selenium has in the human body (covered in the opening paragraph)

> Things that might cause a selenium deficiency

> Signs of selenium deficiency

> 8 sources of selenium for vegans


a post about selenium foods for vegans

Things that could contribute towards a selenium deficiency:


The selenium content of various foods depends largely on the amount of selenium in the soil where the food was grown.

There are a number of things that could cause a reduction of selenium content such as rain, pesticides, evaporation, and pH levels can all affect the levels that are present in the soil. (1)

Selenium deficiency is extremely rare in most countries, though there are a few countries that are “prone” to selenium-deficient soil, for example, some parts of the following countries:

> China <

> Australia <

> Western USA <

> India <

Please see this PDF document for more information on areas that are prone to selenium-deficient soil.

Regardless of where you live, there are other factors that can make it more difficult for your body to absorb selenium.

For example, you may have difficulty absorbing selenium if you:

> Are receiving dialysis.

> Have Crohn’s disease (a gastrointestinal condition).

> Are living with HIV/AIDS.

> Suffer from thyroid problems such as Graves’ disease or hypothyroidism.

Signs of selenium deficiency:


> Infertility in both men and women

> Excessive hair loss

> Constant fatigue

> Mental fog

> Muscle weakness

> Weakened immune system


a graph showing the RDI for selenium

8 Sources Of Selenium For Vegans:

1) Brown Rice


One cup of cooked long-grain brown rice offers you approximately 19 mcg of selenium which is or 27% of the RDI.

The process that produces brown rice removes only the outermost layer, the hull, of the rice kernel. This is the least damaging to its nutritional value of the rice grain.

The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroy a large portion of the nutrient value.

Brown rice also has the following nutrients:

Manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins B3, B1, B6, copper, as well as many other nutrients and minerals.

For more info on the health benefits of brown rice, look at this article.

brown rice is a good source of selenium

2) Mushrooms


Mushrooms are a great source of a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamin D, iron, and of course selenium.

100g of mushrooms will give you approximately 12mcg of selenium.

If you want to see my absolute favourite vegan mushroom sauce, check this recipe.


almonds are a good source of vitamin e

3) Spinach


You’ll get approximately 11mcg of selenium from a cup of cooked spinach. Apart from the selenium content, spinach is also full of many other essential nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, folic acid, fiber, protein, and more. 

Check this recipe which I used spinach in a vegan-friendly mac dish.

spinach is a good source of selenium for vegans

4) Bananas

One cup of chopped banana offers 2 mcg of selenium, which is just 3% of your RDI.

This might not seem like much, but most fruits only offer minimal traces of selenium and in most cases none at all.

Add bananas to a smoothie with your favourite vegan yogurt for more selenium.

bananas are a source of selenium

5) Cashews


1 cup of raw cashew nuts offers approximately 3 mcg of selenium.

As with the bananas, that amount of selenium might sound ridiculous but for people that follow the vegan lifestyle, every little bit helps.

When you start feeling a bit peckish during the day, instead of reaching for a packet of chips or something unhealthy, rather grab a handful of roasted cashews.

Check my vegan alfredo recipe where I use cashew nuts as the base, to create the creamiest, yummiest pasta dish.

cashew nuts are a good source of selenium for vegans

6) Oatmeal


One cup of regular cooked oatmeal will give you a “dose” of approximately 13 mcg of selenium.

Add your favourite vegan yoghurt to increase the amount of selenium, or add it to your breakfast smoothie with chopped banana.

My favourite vegan yoghurt is the coconut yoghurt from woolies.

Buy it online here.

oatmeal is a good source of selenium for vegans

7) Lentils

One cup of cooked lentils provides approximately 6 mcg of selenium, plus a healthy dose of protein and fiber.

Add them to your favourite vegetable soup and chuck in a few mushrooms for a vegan-friendly meal full of selenium.

lentils are a great source of selenium

8) Baked Beans

Last up on today’s list of my best sources of selenium for vegans is something that I have at least 3 times a week… Baked beans!

For every cup full of baked beans you’ll get approximately 13 mcg of selenium.

Another health benefit from baked beans is thanks to the high fiber content…so if you are wanting to increase your selenium intake, add a cup of your favourite baked beans to your breakfast place. 

Below is a picture of my favourite breakfast. Avo on toast with mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomato, and asparagus.

Follow me on Instagram to check some of my other recipes.

my favourite vegan breakfast

7 Sources Of Selenium For Vegans

> Brown rice <

> Mushrooms <

> Spinach <

> Bananas <

> Cashews <

> Oatmeal <

> Lentils <

> Baked beans

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Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading today’s post on 7 sources of selenium for vegans. I hope you’ve learned something new.

Have a look at some of my other blog posts for more nutritional tips for people following the vegan lifestyle.

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