The Best Sources of Zinc to Help Avoid Problems from Weak Immunity to Heart Failure
You know in beach movies from the late-70s and 80s when people had white on their nose? That’s zinc. But not the kind I’m going to be talking about.
Zinc is a trace metal – a dietary metal your body uses to build proteins and to help enzymes perform necessary reactions. Zinc is very flexible – it can bind in lots of different formations to build multiple proteins, it speeds up chemical transformation easing your internal operations, and it’s a reusable source of production, so we don’t even need that much.
Something to… Zinc About
When deficient though, normal growth and immune function is altered. Zinc deficiency in kids could result in slowed growth and sexual maturation, impaired wound healing and vision, and problems with immune function.
In fact, anyone with a zinc deficiency will have immune disorders.
Fortunately zinc deficiency in the US isn’t very common, and these symptoms are signs of those who are severely deficient and malnourished. But still, you don’t want to tempt zinc deficiency.
“So how do I get enough zinc every day?” I hear you asking.
10 Best Dietary Source of Zinc
A medium-sized oyster has roughly 5.3 mg of zinc. This shellfish is also high in protein, low in calories, and has a few other health benefits like vitamins C, B-12, and iron, as well as being an aphrodisiac. Cooked, canned, or on the half-shell oysters deliver the zinc that boosts your immune system.
Crab and Lobster
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I’m seeing a trend here. These sea-crustaceans like Alaskan king crab and cold water Lobsters provide nearly half of your daily recommended dose of zinc. Other sea creatures, such as sardines, salmon, flounder, and sole also contain zinc, but not nearly as much.
Seafood is heart-healthy and the zinc from crab and lobster makes them even healthier. We knew this was brain food, but who knew seafood was great for your immune system as well?
Meat and Poultry
Red meat is one of the easiest ways to get zinc into your body, but pork and chicken are high on the list as well. Choose lean meats and skinless poultry for the healthiest options. 3 ounces of chicken gives 6 percent of your daily recommended dose of zinc.
Which came first? In this list is was chicken, but that doesn’t mean eggs are any less meaningful when zinc is concerned. One medium egg has 4 percent of your daily recommended dose of zinc.
Hummus, chickpeas, edamame, and black beans are excellent zinc-filled sides and snacks. A quarter cup of hummus has 7 percent of your daily recommended dose, a quarter cup of chickpeas and lentils have 4 percent, and the same amount of edamame or black beans has 3 percent of your daily recommended dose.
The other benefit of legumes is that they are low in fat and high in fiber, giving you a more full feeling and an energy boost without the slump.
Mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic show up on nearly every list. These are your “super-healthy vegetables”. All veggies are good – these ones are great. These are easily added to meals, salads, and sandwiches to provide not only zinc, but other vital nutrients and vitamins.
Nuts and Seeds
An ounce of pumpkin seeds or pine nuts gives your salad a crunch and you 15 percent of your daily recommended intake of zinc. A handful of cashews, pecans, or peanuts (I know – technically a legume) pack zinc into yogurts and desserts. And if you haven’t tried encorporating chia seeds yet you’re missing out on an easy 3 percent DRI of zinc per tablespoon!
Fiber, vitamins, minerals – yes, including zinc, are all packed into whole grains, like steel-cut oats – in just ½ a cup you get 6 percent of your daily recommended value of zinc. Cooked brown rice, whole grain bread, and quinoa are great, whole-grain sources of zinc as well.
The darker the better. We knew that dark chocolate – in moderation – was good for your heart-health, but did you know it was also a good source of zinc? 60-69 percent cacao varieties provide 5 percent of your daily recommended dose of zinc, while 70-85 percent cacao varieties contain about 6 percent. Again, moderation is key.
Calcium and zinc, together at last. Just one cup of plain organic yogurt gives you 15 percent of your daily value of zinc and can be topped with other zinc-filled foods. Yogurt can (and should) work its way into smoothies, desserts, and breakfasts very easily, so you’ll never feel the need for zinc again!
There are so many more foods that contain zinc, and because the mineral is versatile and your body reuses it, it isn’t hard to get all the zinc you need. Tell us your favorite way to get zinc and share any recipes with us below!
I’ll be zincing of you.
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