Since we were little children, our teachers were constantly in our ears “eat your vitamins and minerals”.
Turns out, they were onto something, as vitamin and minerals are the healthy nutrients each and every one of us needs.
And while we were little children, it was our parent’s job to keep us healthy. Now as adults, it is our job to keep ourselves healthy, but also, provide our children with a healthy dose of minerals.
When it comes to minerals, zinc is an underrated mineral, and people often overlook it in favor of iron, sodium, calcium and magnesium. But the truth is zinc does wonders for your body.
Why You Need Zinc
I said zinc does wonders for our body, and to start it off, zinc boosts our immune system.
A low zinc diet will show in your immune system as quickly as two to three weeks into the diet.
And when it comes to people prone to a low immune system, elder individuals are always at risk, so if you belong to that group, make sure to get your zinc intake.
The mineral also improves our skin health, which is especially important for you people. Do you want an acne-free face?
Well, dip into zinc-rich foods. If you forget your zinc intake, you can notice skin problems as quick as 10 days.
Zinc also helps with sensory organs and is crucial for male reproductive health. Few people know this, but zinc really improves the quality and quantity of your sperm.
If you are some young adult looking to start a family, don’t forget your zinc. Your wife will be thankful, especially when you will decide to start a family.
Here are some foods high in zinc that will keep you from getting any zinc deficiency symptoms.
Beef and Lamb
On the top of the list, lean meats are always a priority. And when it comes to lean meat, nothing beats lamb and beef for zinc intake.
One serving of lean beef short ribs, for example, contains more than 38mg of zinc, or two and a half times of your daily recommended dose of zinc.
Lamb is also a nice option, with fillets giving you more than 14 mg of zinc per day.
Pork and Chicken
I’ve grouped the main meat sources in two and two, with beef and lamb a better option than pork and chicken.
That doesn’t mean a diet of pork and chicken meat is not good. But, as you and I know, not everyone can afford beef diet.
The best “cheap” alternative is cooked pork, which gives you 50% of the daily dose per steak.
Chicken, on the other hand, provides 15% of the daily dose of zinc. However, the good news is that chicken is rich in protein as well.
Out of the leafy greens family, spinach is the one you want if your goal is to improve your zinc level.
You can rarely find a leafy green on lists of foods high in zinc, but spinach makes it, delivering almost 2 grams per cup.
I’ve mentioned this time and time again, few foods beat pumpkin seeds when it comes to value, price and healthy nutrients.
Not only they are rich in zinc (almost 7 milligrams per cup), but they also deliver a healthy dose of iron and protein as well. Some other seed options include squash and sesame seeds.
Flax seeds deserve their own mention in the list because they are often overlooked.
Flax seeds mostly get their attention to foods high in omega-3 and fiber, but they also deliver a healthy dose of zinc as well.
The best part about flax seeds is their versatility, as you can sprinkle them over almost anything.
One serving of 100 grams gets you around 5 milligrams of zinc, and you can easily add it to smoothies and soups.
Many people focus on almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and other nuts to get their protein and iron levels up.
But when it comes to foods rich in zinc, cashews are the best option in the nuts family.
They provide more than 50% of the daily recommended dose in a single cup, which is three to five times more than popular choices such as almonds and walnuts.
Another food in the nut family, peanuts are a great snack that you can get to keep you full in between meals.
If you do not like the crunchiness of the whole peanut, you can always get some peanut butter.
Combine with some brown rice, and you get a great breakfast for example.
One serving of peanuts gets you more than 3 mg of zinc.
If you need more reasons to eat chocolate, this is one of those. I’ve included dark chocolate in iron-rich foods as well, and as you might see, most foods on this list also contain a healthy dose of iron.
When it comes to dark chocolate (cocoa or cocoa powder), one serving of 100 grams gets you 6 mg of zinc, or more than 40% of the daily value.
If you haven’t noticed the pattern for now, you can see that most of the foods deliver either a healthy dose of protein, or iron, or both.
Mushrooms belong in the protein group. For quite some time now, mushrooms have been considered as a protein alternative for vegetarians, but it is also good to know they provide a healthy dose of zinc as well.
While it is not much, just 10% of the daily value in a cup, it is still more than any other “unhealthy” food on the market.
One of the best options for foods high in zinc are shrimps, due to their low calories intake and high dose of zinc.
Some other benefits of a shrimp diet include: more protein and great source of antioxidants.
Shrimps help with inflammation and pain relief in addition to delivering healthy dose of zinc.
There are not enough words in the English dictionary to describe the health benefits of garlic.
If you can stand the taste and everything that comes with it, one garlic per day is much better than one apple per day to keep the doctor away.
And while you are not getting abundance of zinc from garlic, you are still getting more than 1.5mg per serving. And the best part is, even when you cook your garlic, you are not losing the healthy nutrients like zinc.
So, feel free to add it to soups and stews and everything in between.
I mentioned brown rice combination with peanut butter, but I didn’t want to give you the full details at the beginning.
One serving of brown rice gets you more than 2mg of zinc, which combined with peanut butter, can get you up to 4mg per day.
However, if you do not want a brown rice and peanut butter combination for your breakfast, you can add brown rice to your lunch as side dish or something else.
In addition to being high in zinc, brown rice also delivers healthy dose of potassium, selenium, and magnesium.