Essential Minerals Zinc & Selenium

Essential Minerals In Our Bodies Part V: Zinc & Selenium

Nutrients are the key to our well being.  Among the collection of nutrients, minerals are one of the chief driving factors of all the chemical reactions in our body and hence facilitate the proper functioning of the machinery within our body. Essential Minerals are categorized as – Macrominerals and Microminerals.

Although in its overall relationship about 60 different minerals have been identified in the body, the 21 essential minerals listed below would make up about five pounds of the total body structure, and are vital requirements in order for the human body to function properly.  Follow the series of articles over the next few weeks to learn just how important Minerals are, especially during the early years of life.


Calcium∙ Phosphorous∙ Calcium Potassium∙ Sulphur∙ Sodium∙ Chlorine and Magnesium


Microminerals or Trace Elements

Iron∙ Iodine∙Zinc∙Selenium∙ Tin∙Manganese∙ Copper∙ Cobalt ∙Molybdenum∙Chromium∙Flourine∙Silicon∙Vanadium∙ and Nickel 


Zinc and Selenium are important to our body but not many of us realize how the lack of these minerals can affect our lives. In series five we look at how vital zinc and selenium is for our health.

Why Zinc and Selenium are important to the function of the body Be it in adult or children, zinc is one of the vital elements needed in our body and we put our life at risk if we’re lack of it. Zinc is one of the key factor in improving fertility for both men and women by protecting the prostate gland, regulating a normal sperm count, and synthesis of testosterone. And for women, zinc is essential for dealing with menstrual problems and issues associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Where the element selenium is concerned, it is necessary to work with vitamin B3, C, and E as well as glutathione as an anti–oxidant combo to protect the cells from free radicals that take part in the oxidative processes and DNA repair. Just like zinc, selenium is also essential for male fertility.

Compared to other minerals, zinc exerts maximum impact on your immune system as they are needed to build and maintain the production of T–cells (responsible for signalling various mechanisms of the immune system) in order to protect your body from infections as well as facilitate in protein and DNA synthesis. Zinc is also needed for cell growth development and repair, predominantly in the case of infant and children, as this particular group needs to grow and develop to sustain normal healthy adult development.

When combined with copper and selenium, zinc is able to protect the cell from free radical damages as the lack of this element can lead to irreversible cell damage. Being an anti–oxidant, zinc is essential to stabilize the proteins, thus preventing them from oxidizing easily during attack of the free radicals.

A special enzyme in our body called selenoproteins and selenium is needed to be used by these enzymes for anti–oxidant purposes and regulating thyroid functions (to regulate your metabolism).

Foods Rich in Zinc & Selenium

Here are some fruits and vegetable that are providers of zinc: green peas, spinach, crimini mushrooms, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, prunes, swiss chard, collard greens, summer squash, kale, and apricots. 

Fish, egg yolks, meats and whole grains are loaded with zinc. Avoiding zinc deficiency is important as it can be fatal to us, especially children. A deficiency in zinc will not only hinder the development (especially to youngsters), but also slows in our healing, causes fatigue, and makes us vulnerable to various viral infections.

Lower level of selenium can cause various immune problems such as thyroid disease and often lead to throat and prostate cancers.

Veggies are high in selenium as well as fish, eggs, and poultry; so don’t pass them up as part of your daily diet to assist your body in its fight against selenium deficiency. Dates, Bananas, rasins, and berries are also sources of selenium

Natural Herbs also contain Zinc and Selenium

Apart from healthy foods, herbs with high content of zinc are definitely beneficial to your body. They are not only endowed with benefits of zinc but also come with other essential herbal attributes which have the potential to look after the overall well-being of your body. Parsley (one tablespoon contain 0.09mg of zinc), rosemary (0.02mg), and sage (0.09mg) are high in zinc content. Mustard seed (and its sauce for that matter), garlic, and ginger are high in selenium so be sure to include them too.

By Liya Das

Read more in the Series:

The importance of potassium & sulphur 

Essential minerals in our body

The importance of sodium, chlorine, & magnesium

The importance of iron & iodine

The importance of manganese, copper, & cobalt



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