Zinc boosts the immune system, deficiency of zinc can slow down your metabolism and fat loss. In this post, I am going to share zinc rich foods so you can boost your zinc levels naturally.
The Best of Zinc Rich Foods
Few people are aware of the importance of zinc in the body. Zinc is imperative to DNA and protein creation. It helps to protect our body from harmful bacteria and viruses. The average amount of zinc that a healthy adult should intake every day ranges from 8 – 11 mg. Pregnant women especially have to keep a close eye on taking in the proper amount of zinc. Zinc also affects your testosterone levels and hence muscle growth. Here are the top zinc rich foods.
Foods high in zinc
Zinc is found in a lot of food items. The daily requirement of zinc is relatively low when compared to, say, the protein requirement. So it can be fulfilled by eating zinc-rich food items. Let’s have a look at some of the foods that are high in zinc.
There is a lot of variety in shellfish. All these are rich in zinc, low in calories and altogether, healthy food items.
The best source of zinc among shellfish is from oysters. They’re a tasty, decadent food item. 6 medium-sized oysters can have up to 32 mg of zinc in them.Oysters are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, iron and protein, thus making it a complete meal in itself.
Other shellfish options like crab, shrimp and lobster are some foods that contain zinc. Crabs are rich in other vitamins and manganese as well. Seafood items should be a part of your regular diet as they contain a lot of health benefits. Pregnant women are advised to eat shellfish only after thoroughly cooking it to prevent food poisoning.
Seeds like sesame, flax and that of pumpkins are foods high in zinc! Another great seed that you can try out is hemp! All these are a healthy addition to the diet. 100 grams of sesame seeds contain 8 grams of zinc in it. They also contain compounds that reduce cholesterol and balance hormones in the body. Flax seeds, on the other hand, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids along with zinc. These help in boosting our heart health! Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants which are always important for a healthy body. Hemp has extremely high quantities of zinc. Even 30 grams can account for 30-40% of the recommended intake levels. The best way to have them is with salads or smoothies.
Meat, especially red meat are great food items rich in zinc. Adequate amounts of zinc can be found from different types of meats, like a lamb, beef and pork. 100 grams of ground beef can contain up to 5 milligrams of zinc in it. Considering that the daily intake is close to 10 grams for an adult male, it accounts for almost 50% of the daily needs.
Lamb contains a little less amount of zinc – nearly 3.9 mg of it. But it is high in proteins and amino acids. Including lamb in your diet is a healthy option. Pork Chops are a tasty option to try out too.
Chicken is another meat variety rich in protein, selenium and vitamins B6 and B3. Not to mention that it is among the staples in every kitchen.
When choosing red meat, go for the unprocessed meat as they are a healthier alternative. Lean meat with less fat on them are the best to choose.
The most common legumes are peas, chickpeas, beans, lentils and hummus. They’re eaten by people all over the world and provide a good way to add zinc to the meal.
Chickpeas contain almost 1.2 mg of zinc per half-cup. Kidney beans contain 0.9 mg in half a cup. All these are foods high in zinc, protein and healthy fats. It helps to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Legumes are rich in fibres and also have a low caloric value. This makes them a great food for people who’re following a weight loss diet too.
Whole grains are yet another zinc rich foods
Too many multi-vitamins are packaged as one size fits all, but you should be more specific about what you need. When I was competing as a dancer, I took zinc for healthy skin and immune system.~Anton du Beke
Whole grains are those that contain the germ and bran along with the endosperm. These are generally taken to be healthier than processed grains. Oats, quinoa, whole wheat and other whole grains are good sources of zinc.
Whole grains are also high in many vitamins and minerals which makes them even healthier! Eating whole grains will also have other benefits. These include reduced heart risks, less chance of obesity and diabetes.
Milk and dairy products
Milk and associated dairy products like cheese and Yogurt are sources of zinc too. They are high in calcium as well. A cup of milk can contain 1 mg of zinc while a cup of Yogurt can give up to 2.2 mg of zinc. Add that to other foods rich in zinc and you can meet your daily zinc needs.
Different varieties of cheese also contain bio available zinc. It can be easily absorbed by the body. For example, 100 grams of cheddar cheese can provide almost 28% of the dietary value. Swiss cheese has 6 mg of zinc in it, along with a good amount of protein and amino acid. But it is high in fat as well, so do not consume it in large amounts.
Eggs are one of the most wholesome food items on the entire planet. No wonder they’re rich in zinc as well! 1 egg can contain around 5% of the DV. Along with a moderate amount of zinc, eggs are also sources of proteins, healthy fats. Eggs also contain many vitamins and minerals, which are essential for the body. The egg yolk, in particular, is rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. They are good to increase vision quality.
Another great source of zinc, nuts like cashews and almonds can be your go-to snack to meet your zinc requirements. Nuts are also high in healthy fats and fibre, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. Cashew, in particular, is a great option to boost your zinc intake. A 28 gram serving of cashews can have up to 15% of the DV.
Pine nuts and peanuts are also great sources of zinc. Peanuts can even reduce the risk of gallstone development. Nuts also have added benefits like reducing cholesterol and risk of heart diseases.
A tasty and unavoidable part of any savoury meal, garlic is a favourite of many chefs and foodies. The best way garlic benefits our body is by keeping our heart healthy. It also has 1.6 mg of zinc in 136 grams of garlic. It acts as a detoxifier, has antioxidants and very few calories. It also has the added advantage of controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolate especially is a foods that contain zinc. A 100 grams of dark chocolate may contain nearly 3.5 mg of zinc in it! Cocoa powder in dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids that boost immunity. Yet, chocolate is a food item that has huge amounts of calories. So eating large amounts of dark chocolate is not recommended.
Zinc Rich Fruits
While zinc is mostly found in meats, legumes and nuts. There are some zinc rich fruits as well.
Avocado – Avocado is one of the healthiest, low-calorie, and zinc rich fruits. Per 100g avocado provides you with 0.6mg of zinc. It contains vitamin C, K, B, potassium, and folate. Due to high fiber content, it keeps you full for longer and promotes weight loss. It is also full of antioxidants and fat-solubles that improve nutrient absorption. There are many other health benefits of eating an avocado. This includes lower cholesterol, arthritis relief, heart function, and low-risk of heart disease.
Blackberries – Small and sweet in taste, blackberries are a great zinc rich fruit. Per 100g of blackberries offer 0.5 mg of zinc. Blackberries are full of vitamins and minerals such as C, K, and magnesium. They are rich in antioxidants, protecting your body from free radicals and boosting brain health. Delicious taste and low in calories make it a favorite fruit snack for many people. Blackberries are versatile and convenient to add to your diet. Enjoy over yogurt, pudding, or oatmeal, or eat them plain as a quick snack.
Pomegranate – Pomegranate is a nutritious fruit that offers several health benefits. They contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and are a good source of zinc. Pomegranate provides 0.4 mg of zinc per 100g. It contains punicalagin acid, which is an excellent antioxidant. Pomegranate is very beneficial in reducing inflammatory conditions and the risk of serious disease as well. Pomegranates are also known to improve exercise performance and reduce fatigue. (11)
They also contain vitamin C, K, potassium, and a considerable amount of sugar.
Raspberries- like blackberries, this little sweet gem is also a good source of zinc. One cup serving of raspberries offers .52 milligram of zinc. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and potassium that are beneficial for heart function. It is also high in antioxidants that help you fight against cell damage by free radicals. They are also loaded with vitamin C, helping you replenish and repair skin damage.
Guavas – Guavas is another healthy tropical food that is rich in zinc. Per 100g guava contains 0.2mg of zinc. Guavas are rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. It lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels and is particularly beneficial for those with diabetes. Guavas are rich in fiber and low in calories, which aid in weight loss and improve digestion.
Zinc Rich foods Vegetarian
There are many vegetarian foods which are rich in zinc. Here are some Zinc rich foods Vegetarians
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes– Sun-dried tomatoes are one of the best sources of zinc. It provides you with 13mg of zinc per 100gms. They are tangy and chewy forms of tomatoes dried in the sun to remove their water content. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and a powerful antioxidant – lycopene. Sun-dried tomatoes also contain vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in fiber which boosts your digestive system and keeps you full for longer. Sun-dried tomatoes go well with pasta, sandwiches, salad dressing, and soup broth.
Pumpkin seeds– Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas are a good source of zinc. Every 100g serving of pumpkin seeds contains 7.99mg of zinc. Besides zinc, they contain fiber, protein, healthy fat, and other nutrients needed by your body. Pumpkin seeds also contain healthy fatty acids and act as excellent antioxidants. High fiber in pumpkin seeds helps lower cholesterol levels and protect our hearts. Adding it to your diet can enhance the heart health, bones and other functions of the body. You can add pumpkin seeds to salads or consume them plain as a snack.
Sunflower seeds– Sunflower seeds come from the flower heads of sunflower plants. Along with many vitamins and minerals, they are great food sources of zinc. One tablespoon(15g) of sunflower seeds contains 0.9mg of zinc. These seeds are also great antioxidants and can provide several health benefits. Some of them include lower cholesterol and blood sugar, anti-inflammation, and reduced risk of heart disease.
Sesame seed– Another plant-based food that contains a good source of zinc is Sesame seed. Per 100g Sesame seeds provide you with 5.5mg of zinc. They are also rich in antioxidants, protein, and fiber which is necessary for digestive health. Vitamins and minerals found in sesame seeds provide several health benefits. This includes reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar, strong bone and immune system. You can eat sesame seeds soaked, roasted, or sprouted. They also go well with many dishes including smoothies, salad, and cereal.
Cashews– If you are looking for vegetarian foods that have zinc, cashews are a great choice. Per 30g of cashews can give you up to 1.7mg of zinc. Out of all the nuts, cashews are the best source of zinc. They are very low in sugar and very high on healthy unsaturated fat and protein. They are also excellent antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and fight several diseases. Eating cashews can promote good cholesterol, control weight, and improve heart health. They are a convenient snack. You can eat them either raw or roasted. You can also add them to your soup, salad or use cashew butter for a healthy morning breakfast.
Flax seeds– These brown oval-shaped seeds are rich in zinc and omega-3 fats. Like chia seeds, flax seeds are also rich in fiber, selenium, iron, and magnesium. Per 100g of flax seeds offer 4.3mg of zinc. The insoluble fiber in flaxseeds promotes healthy metabolism and helps in constipation. It contains many beneficial plant compounds such as lignans that act as antioxidants. Eating flax seeds also helps in weight loss and control blood sugar. Try sprinkling them over cereal, salad, or yogurt, or add them to your pancake batter.
Soya beans– soya beans are a type of legume that is also a good source of zinc. Per ½ cup soybeans provide 1.3mg of zinc. Soybeans are also an excellent source of protein and fiber for vegetarians. They offer many nutrients like potassium, omega 3 fatty acids, copper, and vitamin K.
Regular intake of soybeans promotes heart and bone health and reduces the risk of cancer. There are many soy-based products like soymilk, tofu, or tempeh. You can add these to your diet as well and pair them with a variety of dishes.
Let’s answer some of your common questions on zinc
What food is highest in zinc?
Foods highest in zinc include pork, beef, mushrooms, oysters, chocolate, oatmeal, low-fat yogurt, avocado, berries, and fatty fish. Seeds, nuts, and lentils are also great plant-based foods that are highest in zinc.
How can I increase zinc naturally?
There are plenty of zinc-rich sources that you can add to your daily diet to increase zinc naturally. If you are a non-vegetarian, you can consume chicken, beef, pork, and seafood like oysters. While for vegetarians, including more seeds, nuts, avocado, and lentils are a great way to increase zinc naturally.
What vegetables contain zinc?
Broccoli, green pea, mushroom, asparagus, spinach, corn, beet greens, and beans are some vegetables that contain zinc.
Can I take zinc every day?
Yes, you can take zinc every day. Daily intake of zinc is likely safe. However, it is recommended not to consume higher than 40mg per day.
What foods have vitamin C and zinc?
Some foods have vitamin c and zinc both. They are guava, grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate, orange, tomatoes, and kiwi.
Is Pineapple rich in vitamin C and zinc?
Yes, pineapple is rich in vitamin C and zinc. Per 100g serving of pineapple provides 47.8mg vitamin C and 0.12mg zinc.
Can you take vitamin C and zinc together?
Yes, you can take vitamin C and zinc together. They both can play an important role in treating certain deficiencies caused by poor nutrition and promote overall health.
Which fruit has zinc?
Fruits that have zinc include pomegranate, avocado, blackberries, raspberries, pineapple, guavas, blueberries, apricots, peaches, and kiwi.
Which fruit has the highest zinc?
Fruits that have the highest zinc are avocado, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate, blueberries, and peaches.
Does lemon contain zinc?
Lemon contains zinc and a high amount of vitamin C that helps boost your immune system. Per 100g serving of lemon contain about 60mcg zinc.
What blocks zinc absorption?
Iron supplement and individual protein such as soy or casein protein can block zinc absorption. High dietary fiber contains phytic acid which can also inhibit zinc absorption.
Who should not take zinc?
Zinc is possibly safe for everyone when taken in a moderate dose. However, you should not take zinc if you take other medicines such as amiloride. Breastfeeding women should not take zinc in high doses. Zinc can also interact with other medicines and drugs such as tetracycline and penicillamine. Hence, it’s advised to speak with your doctor about your medications.
What is the best form of zinc supplement?
The most popular, cost-effective, and best form of zinc supplement is zinc gluconate. There are other forms of zinc available in the market that are also beneficial for health such as zinc sulfate, zinc acetate, zinc orotate, zinc citrate, and zinc picolinate.
When should I take zinc supplements?
You can take zinc supplements around your mealtime. To achieve optimal absorption, take zinc supplements 1 hour prior to your meal or 2 hours after meals.
What are the disadvantages of zinc?
The disadvantages of zinc supplement are its side effects. Zinc consumed in higher dosage can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headache, and loss of appetite.
Can zinc be harmful?
No, Zinc is not harmful when taken in a moderate dose. There is some concern that taking a higher dose of zinc can cause a deficiency of copper in the body. Taking doses greater than 40mg daily can also cause side effects such as diarrhea, stomachache, headache, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Can zinc and magnesium be taken together?
Yes, zinc and magnesium can be taken together without any adverse effects. However, you should avoid taking zinc with copper, calcium, and iron. These minerals can interact with each other and affect the absorption of zinc in your body.
Should I take zinc in the morning or at night?
Zinc can be taken at any time, morning or night. If you have digestive issues, do not take zinc on empty stomach in the morning. Taking zinc at night can give calming effect and improve the quality of your sleep.
Is zinc hard to absorb?
Zinc is hard to absorb because the food we eat with zinc can influence its absorption rate. We absorb only 15-35% of zinc of total zinc we consume. Hence, eating more zinc-rich food and avoiding foods that inhibit its absorption can increase the amount of zinc we consume.
Can I take zinc magnesium and vitamin D together?
Yes, you can take zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D together. These minerals and vitamins have not shown any harmful interaction or side effect on your health.
Can I take vitamin C and D3 together?
Yes, you can take vitamin C and D3 together without any risk of harmful interactions. These two vitamins are found in many multivitamin supplements.
Is zinc stored in the body?
Zinc is stored in our body’s tissues and fluids when consumed through dietary sources. The total zinc content of our body accounts for approximately 30mmol.
How long does it take zinc to work?
In general, zinc takes around 12 weeks to work and shows any noticeable change. There are many factors that affect how quickly zinc supplements work such as absorption rate, deficiency, dosages, and quality of zinc supplements.
Can zinc cause eye problems?
No, taking zinc doesn’t cause eye problems. People with zinc deficiency may experience eye problems such as blurred vision or night blindness. Zinc can help build visual pigments in the retina and improve sight.
Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of our body. Few people are interested in learning the necessity of having zinc rich foods in their daily diet, but it is important nonetheless. Now that you have got an idea of some of the food items high in zinc, make sure to add these to your daily diet plan. Stay fit, stay healthy!