Does your food contain sufficient zinc? While most of us think about vitamin and mineral deficiencies we rarely think about zinc. But do you know that zinc is a very important mineral for our body to function? Yes, it is true. Well, this post will help you know more about zinc.
Eating a diet rich in zinc foods is considered a necessary part of maintaining your dietary health. So what can high-zinc foods do for you? Or what events can indicate a need for more high-zinc foods? Want to know these answers? Then read on!!
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral, required for various enzymatic and biochemical reactions during the process of metabolism. It acts as a neurotransmitter to maintain the sense of smell, strengthens immune system, and is imperative for DNA synthesis. Zinc helps in the production of about 100 types of enzymes in our body. It acts as an antioxidant to neutralize the effects of free radicals, preventing cancer. It also stimulates the production of blood in the body. Zinc promotes the synthesis of collagen, which is a necessary element in wound healing. (Image 1)
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 milligrams per day for an adult man and 8 milligrams for an adult woman. Lactating and pregnant woman require a little more than the stipulated quantity, approximately, 12 milligrams per day. 5 milligrams per day is the RDA for 4 to 8 year old children and 8 milligrams for children aged between 9-13 years. The RDA of zinc for infants is about 3 mg.
Sources of zinc rich foods:
As our body cannot produce this mineral on its own, it is important that you consistently consume zinc rich foods to meet your daily zinc intake. Below is the list of 25 foods rich in zinc which you can incorporate in your diet. Learn which food has the most Zinc and is the healthiest for you.
Shellfish such as crab, clams, oysters and mussels are some of the best, natural sources of zinc. Crab can help you meet your daily zinc need with just a single serving. It is also a good source of protein and doesn’t weigh down with a lot of calories. The amount of zinc in oysters varies from 16-180 mg of zinc per serving. This accounts for 110% to 1200% of the daily required amount of zinc. The benefit of eating food high in zinc is that the body can easily process excess levels of minerals that come from natural sources. So do not worry about the excess amount of zinc in oysters, as the body will simply expel what is doesn’t need.
Beef and mutton liver are packed with several vitamins and minerals and contain around 5 mg of zinc per 100 grams. This will account for 60% of your daily required zinc. Liver ranks above meat in several categories, the most important is having higher levels of zinc. It outdoes meat, as well as many other foods, in many things like potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.
3. Red meat:
Meat, especially red meat, is a good source of zinc. Mutton provides between 5 to 8 milligrams of zinc per serving, accounting for 30 to 50 percent of daily value. Beef is also a great food for pumping up your zinc levels, as it has more zinc than many other foods. Include lean beef or mutton shanks in your diet to get about 30-60% of the daily zinc content.
Seafood like fishes and shrimps are well known for being good sources of zinc. Seafood also provides other benefits, like being rich in high quality protein and low in calories. Tuna is another amazing source of zinc. Shrimp is also a surprising source of antioxidant, which helps to fight inflammation in the body and provides protection against various age related diseases. 100 grams serving of shrimp provide 1.34 mg of zinc and 84 calories. Salmon is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and several essential nutrients, making it one of the healthiest foods in the world. Salmon may not be a zinc powerhouse like other foods mentioned here, but it can surely serve to pump up your daily zinc intake. A single serving of salmon provides 0.7 milligrams and 208 calories. But you need to watch out for sodium levels in seafood, which can run rather high, leading to water retention and increase in blood pressure.
5. Nuts & seeds:
Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pine nuts, cashew nuts and sunflower seeds are viable options for keeping the zinc levels high, especially for vegetarians. Nuts and seeds are less in fat and cholesterol than most of the meats available. We can’t miss out on this when we speak of Zinc rich vegetarian food!
Chocolate is yet another yet zinc rich food source. You can consume chocolate in the form of unsweetened baking chocolate or cocoa powder, hot chocolate powder or chocolate bar to increase your zinc levels in the body. Opt for dark chocolates, instead of milk chocolates, as it contains antioxidants and a relatively low amount of sugar. 100 grams of chocolate will provide you with 10 milligrams, approximately, 90% of your daily zinc requirement. But eat chocolate in moderation as it is pretty high in calories.
How can miss out on spinach when we are speaking off food rich in zinc. Spinach may not be the best source of zinc, but holds its own value, considering that it’s a plant source. Having a salad with spinach as the base, is an easy way to get more zinc to your diet. 100 grams of spinach provides 0.60 milligram and just 23 calories.
8. Kidney Beans:
Beans are a great non-meat source of zinc, making it perfect for vegans and vegetarians. Beans are also helpful for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, providing energy and keeping you full for longer time. Kidney beans can be eaten as a side dish, or can be added with other vegetables to boost fiber and protein levels in the body. 100 grams of kidney beans provide 3 milligrams of zinc and 127 calories.
9. Flax Seeds:
Besides being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, flax seeds are also a good source of zinc. It is a versatile seed, and you can sprinkle it on just about anything for added nutrition. 100 grams of flax seeds contain 5 milligrams of zinc and 534 calories. But flax seeds should be eaten in moderation as they are very high in calories.
10. Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds have one of the highest concentrations of zinc available in a non-meat food. Pumpkin seed is also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and helps to keep the blood sugar level in control. It is also considered as an anti-inflammatory food. It contains 8 milligrams of zinc and 560 calories.
[Read:25 Calcium Rich Foods]
Garlic is a spice that is known for its zinc content and anti-fungal properties. 100 grams serving of garlic contain around 2 mg of zinc.
12. Lima Beans:
Lima bean is a low calorie food and helps the body in a number of ways, which include providing zinc, fiber, protein, folate, iron and magnesium in the body. Lima beans contain 3 mg of zinc and 126 calories per serving.
Munch a handful of peanuts between your meals to satiate your hunger and increase zinc level in your body. You can also eat peanut butter if you don’t like the crunchiness of whole peanuts. It provides 4 mg of zinc and 318 calories per 100 grams.
14. Egg Yolks:
The yolk of an egg is a very good source of zinc. Egg yolk provides all the essential nutrients required for the proper functioning of body like, vitamins A, E, D and K, as well as additional amounts of minerals.1 egg will provide you with around 2 mg of zinc. So do not skip egg yolks while preparing your omelet.
100 grams of turkey per day will provide you around 4 mg of zinc per serving, without piling on extra fats and calories. Consume roasted turkey breast and avoid cold cuts which contain extra sodium and nitrates.
Lobsters can provide you a big boost of zinc, without adding a lot of calories. Lobster gets dunked in melted butter, so always prepare lobster in clarified butter or ghee, which is a healthier form of butter. A single serving will provide 7 milligram of zinc, equaling around 80% of your daily zinc requirement.
Garbanzo beans, better known as chickpeas, are a good source of many important minerals, zinc being one of them. It provides a decent 4 milligrams of zinc per serving, while keeping the calories down. It is also a good source of protein and fiber, making it a perfect diet food.
18. Brown Rice:
Brown rice is a good substitute for white rice, as it has more potassium, magnesium, selenium and has a lower glycemic index score. Brown rice will make a great side for any meat dish. You can also cook brown rice with vegetables rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, to enhance the nutrient levels in the body. A mere 100 grams of brown rice serving will provide you with 3 mg of zinc.
Peas are quintessential side dishes. They taste amazing and provide health benefits like, protection from cancer and help in regulating blood glucose levels. While they don’t provide a big chunk of zinc like other sources mentioned here, they are not even too shabby in their zinc content. 100 grams of peas provide 1.5 milligrams of zinc.
20. Sesame Seeds:
Sesame seeds are one of the healthiest seeds, rich in many minerals including zinc and calcium. Not only are sesame seeds high in zinc, but they are also loaded with healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are good fats, which are required to burn off excess fat. 100 grams of sesame seeds provide 6 milligrams of zinc and 573 calories.
[Read:Foods Rich In Folic Acid]
Lamb meat is often overlooked because of its high fat and calorie content. But the high amount of zinc is a reason good enough, to add lamb meat to your meal. Opt for cut of lamb, as they are a bit leaner than other parts of lamb. Lamb contains 9 milligrams of zinc per serving.
Almost every variety of mushrooms contains a considerably good amount of zinc in them. Mushrooms are a great add-on, and can flavor up a pizza and pasta, or can be cooked as a side dish. They have a healthy assortment of vitamins and minerals, and are also known to have anti-cancer benefits. 100 grams of shiitake mushrooms contain around 8 milligrams of zinc.
23. Dairy products:
Vegetarians should include adequate amounts of dairy products in their diet for deriving ample amount of this mineral. Yoghurt is the best source of zinc, and both 250 ml of yoghurt and ½ cup of ricotta cheese contain 15% of the required zinc amount. Milk and cream also contain traces of zinc.
Fortified, ready to eat cereals are an excellent source of zinc. Opt for bran, multi-grain and whole grain cereals for high doses of zinc. But cereals also contain phytate, a compound which binds with the zinc in cereals and inhibits absorption. So do not count on cereals for your only source of daily zinc.
Cashews are often avoided because of the high amount of fat in it. But they contain, monounsaturated fats, which is a healthy far. Cashews can be used to enhance the flavor of your dishes or can be munched as a snack. It contains 6 mg of zinc per 100 grams.
Important points to remember:
The dietary fibres and phytic acid in the brain prevent excess absorption of this mineral, especially when it comes from a non- meat source. But an increased intake of vitamin B6 C and E, along with minerals like magnesium, will enhance zinc absorption of the body.
And that is all you need to know about zinc rich foods! Include these 25 zinc rich foods in your diet and make the most of it. Do leave us a comment.