The Top Selenium-Rich Foods That Are Vegan

T

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 Per Serving

I’ve compiled a list of the top 30 vegan foods in terms of selenium per serving.

Food Serving Energy (kcal) Selenium (µg)
Brazil nut 0.5 cup 438 1274.8
Vital wheat gluten 100 g 370 39.7
Sesame seeds 0.5 cup 413 24.8
Rye grain 1 cup 571 23.5
Chia seeds 3 tbsp 146 16.6
Buckwheat groats 1 cup 567 13.8
Amaranth 1 cup 251 13.5
Barley 1 cup 193 13.5
Wheat flour (whole-grain) 100 g 332 12.7
Rice 1 cup 205 11.8
Coconut meat 0.25 coconut 351 10
Cashew 0.5 cup 393 8
Chickpeas 1 cup 269 6.1
Lentils 1 cup 230 5.5
Navy beans 1 cup 255 5.3
Peanuts 0.5 cup 414 5.3
Flaxseed 2 tbsp 110 5.2
Quinoa 1 cup 222 5.2
Mung bean 1 cup 212 5
Fava bean 1 cup 187 4.4
Pistachio nuts 0.5 cup 344 4.3
Swiss chard 10 leafs 91 4.3
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 4.1
Plantain 1 plantain 329 4
Asparagus 4 spears 13 3.7
Melon 0.5 melon 180 3.5
Lima beans 1 cup 209 3.4
Spinach 1 bunch 78 3.4
Walnut 0.5 cup 383 2.9
Adzuki beans 1 cup 294 2.8

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.

**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.

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 to reach the RDA.

The Best Vegan Sources of Selenium Per 100 Calories

Brazil nuts are hands down the best sources of selenium.

But for the rest, you may want to prioritize certain sources over others if you’re counting calories.

Instead of looking at how much selenium is in a single serving, let’s look at how much you get per 100 calories of each food.

Food Serving Energy (kcal)
Selenium (µg) per 100 calories
Brazil nut 0.5 cup 438 291.1
Asparagus 4 spears 13 28.5
Lettuce (red leaf) 0.5 head 20 11.5
Chia seeds 3 tbsp 146 11.4
Vital wheat gluten 100 g 370 10.7
Garlic 1 clove 4 10.0
Broccoli 1 cup 31 7.4
Barley 1 cup 193 7.0
Watercress 10 sprigs 3 6.7
Sesame seeds 0.5 cup 413 6.0
Rice 1 cup 205 5.8
Amaranth 1 cup 251 5.4
Flaxseed 2 tbsp 110 4.7
Swiss chard 10 leafs 91 4.7
Water spinach 1 cup 11 4.5
Spinach 1 bunch 78 4.4
Rapini 5 stalks 21 4.3
Rye grain 1 cup 571 4.1
Brussels sprouts 1 cup 56 4.1
Turnip greens 1 cup 18 3.9
Wheat flour (whole-grain) 100 g 332 3.8
Bamboo shoot 1 shoot 17 3.5
Mustard greens 1 cup 15 3.3
Bok choy 1 cup 9 3.3
Celery 1 stalk 9 3.3
Radish 2 large 3 3.3
Napa cabbage 1 cup 13 3.1
Coconut meat 0.25 coconut 351 2.8
Kale 2 cup 15 2.7
Cowpeas 1 cup 160 2.6

Brazil nuts are still at the top, even though they’re quite caloric dense.

But aside from that, a few other sources 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 C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

Add comment