The Best Vegan Selenium Food Sources [Table]

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Selenium is a mineral that is highly linked to cognitive performance.

Research has shown that selenium deficiency is linked to cognitive decline in the elderly, although there may be other aspects involved as well.

Regardless, you need selenium to be healthy, and it’s much harder to get on a vegan diet than one with animal products.

The RDA for selenium for male or female adults is 55 mcg (µg).

The Best Vegan Sources of Selenium

I’ve compiled a fairly comprehensive list of vegan with selenium. You can sort by the amount per 100 grams, or by 100 calories by clicking the headers.

FoodSelenium (µg) per 100 gramsSelenium (µg) per 100 calories
Brazil nut1917.0291.1
Chia seeds55.311.4
Vital wheat gluten39.710.7
Sesame seeds34.46.0
Flaxseed25.24.7
Rye grain13.94.1
Garlic13.310.0
Wheat flour (whole-grain)12.73.8
Cashew11.72.0
Coconut meat10.12.8
Barley8.67.0
Buckwheat groats8.42.4
Rice7.55.8
Peanuts7.31.3
Seaweed (dried)7.12.5
Pistachio nuts7.01.3
Asparagus6.228.5
Amaranth5.55.4
Walnut5.00.8
Almonds4.10.7
Pecans3.80.6
Chickpeas3.72.3
Macadamia nut3.60.5
Navy beans2.92.1
Quinoa2.82.3
Lentils2.82.4
Fava bean2.62.4
Broccoli2.57.4
Cowpeas2.52.6
Mung bean2.52.4
Hazelnut2.40.4
Lima beans2.01.6
Parsnip1.82.4
Peas1.82.2
Lettuce (red leaf)1.511.5
Plantain1.51.2
Brussels sprouts1.54.1
Soybeans1.41.0
Turnip greens1.33.9
Chestnut1.30.5
Black beans1.20.9
Adzuki beans1.21.0
Kidney beans1.20.9
Banana1.01.2
Leek1.01.7
Spinach1.04.4
Kale1.02.7
Rapini0.94.3
Swiss chard0.94.7
Water spinach0.94.5
Mustard greens0.93.3
Watercress0.86.7
Pine nuts0.70.1
Okra0.72.3
Melon0.71.9
Beets0.71.6
Lotus root0.70.9
Cassava0.70.4
Chicory root0.70.9
Corn0.60.7
Lychee0.60.9
Olive0.60.5
Sweet potato0.60.7
Mango0.61.0
Cauliflower0.62.2
Radish0.63.3
Green bean0.51.8
Guava0.50.8
Onion0.51.3
Orange0.51.2
Celery0.53.3
Lime0.41.5
Bok choy0.43.3
Bamboo shoot0.43.5
Blackberry0.41.0
Strawberry0.41.3
Cantaloupe0.41.1
Avocado0.40.2
Napa cabbage0.43.1
Lemon0.31.2
Cabbage0.31.4
Cucumber0.32.2
White potato0.30.4
Eggplant0.31.2
Gourd0.21.1
Fig0.20.3
Squash0.21.2
Zucchini0.21.1
Carrot0.10.3
Red bell pepper0.10.5
Apricot0.10.3
Pineapple0.10.2
Pear0.10.2
Cranberry0.10.2
Tangerine0.10.2
Peach0.10.2

**For some reason, my data for oats didn’t include selenium. According to another source, oats have about 23 micrograms per cup, making them one of the best sources of selenium as well.

Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium of any food, and you shouldn’t actually eat them in a large quantity as it can lead to acute selenium toxicity.

Vegan Foods That Have A Lot of Selenium

Selenium is mainly found in grains and seeds.

  • Vital wheat gluten, barley, rye, buckwheat, whole grains, and quinoa all have significant amounts of selenium.
  • Certain nuts and seeds, like sesame seeds and cashews also have a decent amount of selenium.

Aside from brazil nuts, you’ll need multiple servings of any other foods to reach the RDA.

When looking at it from on a per calorie basis, brazil nuts are still on top, but a few other foods jump up near the top of the list:

  • Asparagus
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress

These foods, on top of the others on this particular list, will help you get as much selenium as you need while keeping your overall calorie intake down.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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