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Selenium is a trace mineral, that the body requires in tiny amounts – but its still an essential nutrient. It has antioxidant properties, important for the immune system, and is crucial for normal metabolism, good eyesight and healthy skin and hair.

This mineral plays an important role in the manufacture of proteins and the healthy functioning of the liver and heart. Selenium also plays a role in slowing down the ageing process, reducing the severity of hot flushes during the menopause and in the treatment of arthritis. It’s found in male sperm cells too, so a deficiency could potentially affect a man’s fertility.

Other symptoms of a selenium deficiency include an impaired immune system, leading to repeated infections, falling hair and pains in the chest.

Good food sources of selenium include bran, wholegrain cereals, breads and pasta, tuna, onions, tomatoes and broccoli.