The Top 20 Foods High In Selenium

Last Updated on July 27, 2020 by Michael Joseph

Selenium is an essential mineral that has numerous important functions.

Among these functions, selenium activates various ‘selenoenzymes’ that play a crucial role in the antioxidant system (1).

Although selenium deficiency is rare in the developed world, it has been estimated that close to a billion people around the world have an insufficient intake of this mineral (2).

For reference, the current recommended daily value for adults is 55 mcg (3).

This article provides a list of foods high in selenium alongside the total amount they provide per serving and per 100 grams.

All nutritional data is sourced from the USDA’s FoodData Central database.

The daily values have been calculated using the FDA’s published daily values.

1) Brazil Nuts

A Pile of Selenium-Rich Brazil Nuts.

Brazil nuts offer more selenium than any other food.

With one single nut containing around 68-96 mcg (more than 100% of the daily value), the amount these nuts provide can quickly add up (4).

On this note, the National Institutes of Health warns consumers that too much Brazil nuts can cause the upper limit for selenium to be exceeded (5).

A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of Brazil nuts provides 976% of the daily value for selenium (6).

Per 100 grams Per 1 oz (28g) serving
1917 mcg (3485% DV) 537 mcg (976% DV)

2) Oysters

Most shellfish offers a substantial source of selenium, and oysters are the very best choice among them.

In addition to this, oysters are one of the best sources of zinc.

These popular shellfish are also a good source of copper, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

A three-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked Pacific oysters provides 238% of the daily value for selenium (7).

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
154 mcg (280% DV) 131 mcg (238% DV)

3) Liver

Organ meats are one of the most nutrient-dense food options, and liver provides a broad range of vitamins and minerals.

This food is extremely high in B vitamins, copper, vitamins A and D, and many other essential nutrients.

All types of liver provide a good amount of selenium, but lamb liver appears to be the most concentrated source (8, 9, 10, 11).

Cooked lamb liver offers 172% of the daily value for selenium per three-ounce (85-gram) serving (8).

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
111 mcg (202% DV) 95 mcg (172% DV)

4) Tuna (Yellowfin)

Pieces of Raw Yellowfin Tuna.

All species of tuna contain large amounts of selenium, but yellowfin is the most significant source.

Per 3 oz (85g) serving, yellowfin tuna supplies 167% of the recommended selenium intake (12).

In addition to its mineral profile, yellowfin tuna is also an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
108 mcg (196% DV) 92 mcg (167% DV)

5) Mussels

If oysters are the best shellfish source of selenium, then mussels are not far behind.

Mussels provide an abundant supply of selenium, with a cup serving of cooked mussels offering 60% of the daily value (13).

In addition, mussels are also a great source of manganese and vitamin B12.

Per 100 grams Per cup (150g) serving
89 mcg (162% DV) 134 mcg (167% DV)

6) Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are nutrient-dense edible seeds, and they contain a wide variety of important minerals.

These seeds are full of selenium too, and an ounce (28-gram) serving supplies more than 41% of the recommended intake (14).

Sunflower seeds have a mild nutty flavor, and they can work well as a snack or as an ingredient in a range of different dishes.

Per 100 grams Per oz (28g) serving
79 mcg (144% DV) 22.5 mcg (41% DV)

7) Salmon (Sockeye)

Slices of Smoked Red Sockeye Salmon.

Salmon is a popular and nutritious type of fish.

For the very best source of selenium, sockeye salmon offers the most concentrated supply.

A half fillet (155-gram) serving of cooked sockeye salmon offers 100% of the daily value for selenium (15).

Like other types of oily fish, sockeye salmon is also very rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Per 100 grams Per 1/2 fillet (155g) serving
35.5 mcg (65% DV) 55 mcg (100% DV)

8) Octopus

While octopus isn’t a common food in much of the Western world, it provides an assortment of nutrients in high concentrations.

Notably, these nutrients include a large amount of selenium equivalent to 139% of the daily value per three ounces (85 grams) of cooked octopus (16).

Octopus also provides significant amounts of iron, vitamin B12, omega-3, and protein.

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
89.6 mcg (163% DV) 76.2 mcg (139% DV)

9) Anchovies

Anchovies are nutritious little fish that are packed with selenium.

It can be difficult to find fresh anchovies in some areas of the world, but canned anchovies are available just about everywhere.

On this note, a small 45-gram can of anchovies offers 56% of the daily value (17).

Since (salted) anchovies are the whole fish, they still contain small but edible bones, which makes them a great source of calcium too.

Per 100 grams Per 45g can
68.1 mcg (124% DV) 30.6 mcg (56% DV)

10) Kidney

Sliced Raw Lamb Kidney.

Kidneys contain more selenium than any other type of organ meat.

In this regard, just a three-ounce (85-gram) serving of pork kidney contains 482% of the daily value for selenium (18).

Similar to other organ meats, kidney is extremely nutrient-dense, and it offers substantial amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g)
312 mcg (567% DV) 265 mcg (482% DV)

11) Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish is a marine mollusk that shares a resemblance (and belongs to the same family) to squid.

The taste of this seafood falls somewhere between squid and octopus, and it is a good source of protein and various nutrients.

Cooked cuttlefish provides 139% of the recommended daily value for selenium per three-ounce (85 g) serving (19).

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g)
89.6 mcg (163% DV) 76.2 mcg (139% DV)

12) Lobster

Lobster is popular as a fine-dining option around the world, and it is also fairly nutritious.

For instance, lobsters are very rich in protein, B vitamins, copper, zinc, and more.

Lobsters are also very high in selenium, and a small cooked lobster offers 156% of the daily value (20).

Per 100 grams Per small lobster (118g)
72.6 mcg (132% DV) 85.7 mcg (156% DV)

13) Pasta (Whole-Wheat)

Dried Whole Wheat Italian Farfalle Pasta.

Wheat is a naturally rich source of selenium, but most wheat products are overly processed and stripped of their mineral content.

In the case of true whole-wheat products, they can be an excellent source of the mineral.

A cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti provides 77% of the daily value for selenium (21).

Per 100 grams Per cup (117g)
36.3 mcg (66% DV) 42.5 mcg (77% DV)

14) Whelk

While it is one of the lesser-known types of seafood, whelk is certainly one of the most nutritious.

Whelk is a collective name for a variety of different sea snail species, and this seafood offers a good source of many nutrients.

Regarding its selenium content, cooked whelk provides 139% of the recommended daily value per three-ounce (85-gram) serving (22).

However, this is far from all that whelk offers, and it is also a significant source of protein, copper, and vitamin B12.

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g)
89.6 mcg (163% DV) 76.2 mcg (139% DV)

15) Pork Chop

Pork chops are one of the most popular cuts of pork.

Among the range of nutrients they offer, a large-sized cooked pork chop offers 120% of the daily value for selenium (23).

Per 100 grams Per large pork chop (129g)
51 mcg (93% DV) 65.8 mcg (120% DV)

16) Mackerel (Atlantic)

A Smoked Fillet of Mackerel.

Mackerel is full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and a broad range of nutrients.

This oily fish also offers a good amount of selenium, containing approximately 83% of the recommended intake per cooked fillet (24).

However, it is worth noting that there are several different species of mackerel. Among these various species, only Atlantic mackerel is considered to be low in mercury (25).

Per 100 grams Per fillet (88g)
51.6 mcg (94% DV) 45.4 mcg (83% DV)

17) Liverwurst

Liverwurst is an extremely nutrient-dense liver sausage.

Since plain liver can be an acquired taste, this delicious food can be a great way of incorporating it into one’s diet.

This sausage product includes ingredients such as liver, meat, fat, herbs, and spices. Since the primary ingredient is liver, liverwurst is full of beneficial nutrients.

Liverwurst offers an excellent supply of selenium, and a two-ounce (56-gram) serving provides 59% of the daily value (26).

Per 100 grams Per serving (56g)
58 mcg (105% DV) 32.5 mcg (59% DV)

18) Swordfish

Swordfish is a nutritious seafood option, and this fish offers good amounts of protein, omega-3, and various essential vitamins and minerals.

Among these nutrients, the selenium content of swordfish stands at 132% of the daily value per typical serving (27).

On the downside, swordfish has one of the highest levels of mercury contamination. On this note, the EPA advises limiting swordfish consumption to no more than once per month (28).

Per 100 grams Per piece (106g)
68.5 mcg (125% DV) 72.6 mcg (132% DV)

19) Chia Seeds

A Pile of Selenium-Rich Chia Seeds.

All seeds contain selenium, but some provide more of the mineral than others. Among the different edible seeds, chia seeds offer one of the highest amounts.

Per ounce (28-gram) serving, chia seeds supply 28% of the recommended selenium daily value (29).

Per 100 grams Per oz (28g)
55.2 mcg (100% DV) 15.6 mcg (28% DV)

20) Shrimp

Shrimp is another popular kind of shellfish that provides a rich source of selenium.

A three-ounce (85-gram) serving of cooked shrimp offers 51% of the daily value (30).

Aside from selenium, shrimp offers a diverse range of nutrients, and its vitamin B12, protein, omega-3, and iodine content are particularly notable.

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g)
32.7 mcg (59% DV) 27.8 mcg (51% DV)

Highest Sources of Selenium Per 100 Grams

For convenience, here is the overall ranking of these foods in order of their selenium content per 100 grams.

Rank Food Selenium % Daily value
1. Brazil Nuts 3485%
2. Pork Kidney 567%
3. Oysters 280%
4. Lamb Liver 202%
5. Yellowfin tuna 196%
6. Octopus 163%
7. Cuttlefish 163%
8. Whelk 163%
9. Mussels 162%
10. Sunflower seeds 144%
11. Lobster 132%
12. Swordfish 125%
13. Anchovies 124%
14. Liverwurst 105%
15. Chia seeds 100%
16. Atlantic mackerel 94%
17. Pork chop 93%
18. Whole-wheat pasta 66%
19. Salmon (sockeye) 65%
20. Shrimp 59%

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