Silicon is found in foods that are whole and unprocessed. Although there is no official research recommending a daily amount of silicon, it is important that silicon be taken into the body on a daily basis. A daily intake of 25 to 50 mg is suggested. Some foods contain high levels of silicon, while other foods contain lower levels.
What is Silicon?
Silicon is a nonmetallic element with the atomic weight of 28. Silicon protects the body against arteriosclerosis and aluminum. Silica refers to natural materials of silicon dioxide, and silicone refers to man-made materials. The highest amounts of silicon are found in plants, mostly grains such as oats, barley and rice; low levels of silicon are found in animal products. Beer is a high source of silica, containing anywhere from 33 to 60 mg. Water also yields silicon, but as orthosilicic acid. Drinking 2 liters of water a day will allow an intake of 10 mg of silicon.
The Need for Silicon
Silicon is important for healthy bones and teeth. It also maintains cartilage, skin, hair and the nails. Silicon also provides needed calcium absorption for bones in the beginning stages of their formation. Silicon aids in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. Silicon is also used as a treatment for osteoporosis. The elderly need silicon in larger amounts because of the natural depletion of silicon in the body that comes with age.
Vegetables Containing Silicon
Many vegetables contain silicon since they are plant-based foods. Levels of silicon vary in each vegetable. Some examples of vegetables that contain silicon are asparagus, cabbage, cucumbers, dandelion greens (edible weeds with an intense hearty taste and bitter tinge), lettuce, mustard greens, olives, parsnips, radishes, white onions, corn, sugar beets, bell peppers, horsetail grass (herb), soybeans, alfalfa and stems of leafy vegetables.
Other Food Sources of Silicon
Very high amounts of silicon are also found in whole-grain foods, such as rice and oats, as well as millet and flaxseeds. Since silicon is mainly found in natural sources of food, it only makes sense that these foods in their natural make-up contain an abundant amount of silicon. High amounts of silicon are also found in mother's milk.
Silicon as a Food Additive
Silicon is also used as a food additive in some countries, including the U.K. Amorphous silica is used as an anticaking agent, an antifoaming agent and a dough modifier. It is also used to make beverages clearer. It can be used in the preparation of pharmaceutical drugs and vitamins as an anti-caking agent and as an excipient (an inactive substance to dilute the drug or vitamin).