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If you want to make sure you’re getting enough zinc in your diet, you can always turn to a supplement, like a multivitamin. But to ensure your body is absorbing the nutrient, focusing on eating a healthy diet consisting of foods that are high in zinc might be even more effective.
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is a mineral that’s essential for good health and is the second most common trace metal in the human body after iron. It performs a number of functions, including assisting in cell division, healing the immune system, and breaking down carbohydrates. It even plays a role in the proper function of your sense of smell and taste.
Fortunately, most of us get plenty of zinc. In North America, instances of zinc deficiency are rare. But in certain cases, like for pregnant or nursing mothers, it can be necessary to seek out foods that are high in zinc to make sure you’re getting enough. One thing to note is that your body doesn’t absorb excess zinc, so you need to keep getting it on a daily basis.
Foods High in Zinc
Here are some foods that have the highest amount of zinc. Keep in mind that you don’t need to get your entire intake from just one meal or one component of a meal. Your best bet is to eat a range of foods, including meats, seafood, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Fruits don’t contain a ton of zinc (avocados have the most, followed by blueberries), but eat them anyway for a balanced diet. If you consume a varied and balanced diet, you will likely consume enough zinc as well as enough other essential vitamins and minerals.
Oysters are by far the single best source of zinc of any food. A single oyster contains 5.5 milligrams of zinc, so two oysters will provide your whole daily zinc intake. But unless you eat oysters every day, which most people don’t, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your regular zinc intake.
Note that pregnant women are not advised to consume raw or undercooked seafood. Cooked oysters, whether they are grilled, fried, or baked, are typically safe to eat.
Good news for meat lovers—if you eat a normal serving of beef, you’re getting your full daily requirement of zinc right there. A rib-eye steak contains 14 milligrams of zinc, or 129 percent of the recommended daily nutritional requirement. A 6-ounce burger has 11 milligrams, or 100 percent of the daily requirement.
Other meats, such as lamb, pork, and chicken (particularly the dark meat), range from 50 to 113 percent of the daily requirement per serving.
Legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are also relatively high in zinc. Although they don’t contain as much zinc as red meat, certain legumes, like lentils and chickpeas, provide 2.5 milligrams, or 23 percent of your daily requirement, in a 1-cup serving. Firm tofu, which is made from soybeans, provides 4 milligrams, or 36 percent of your daily requirement.
Note that legumes contain substances called phytates, which can decrease the absorption by your body of zinc, as well as other nutrients like iron, magnesium, and calcium. In some cases, this effect can be diminished by soaking or sprouting the legumes before eating them. Note that this effect only applies to the meal you’re currently eating, not other meals that are eaten that day.
Whole grains are another source of zinc. Oatmeal provides 3.1 milligrams, or 27 percent of your daily requirement, in a single serving (half a cup of uncooked oats). Teff, spelt, amaranth, quinoa, and wild rice also provide a significant amount, from 2 to 2.8 milligrams, or 18 to 25 percent of your daily requirement. Whole grains are still good sources of zinc—particularly if you spread out your zinc intake throughout the day, and from a variety of foods.
This last one might come as a surprise. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are often fortified with zinc. Multigrain Cheerios contain 15 milligrams, or 136 percent, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch provides 9 milligrams, or 82 percent. In addition, many brands of crispy rice cereal and corn flakes contain between 6 and 7.5 milligrams, or 55 to 68 percent.
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10 Best Foods That Are High In Zinc | (Best Zinc Rich Foods)
Top 10 best foods that are high in zinc. Zinc is very essential nutrition in our body as important as protein, iron, and calcium. It is needed every day in our body in order to maintain health and perform important functions each day. Some people are at risk of a (zinc deficiency), including young children, teenagers, the elderly, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so in this video, we’re looking at (10 of the best foods that are high in zinc)
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1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil are able to reduce the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, according to research published in Nutrition and Cancer. Pumpkin seeds are also good for prostate health, and they promote your mental health.
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans all contain substantial amounts of zinc. In fact, 100 grams of cooked lentils contain around 12% of the DV. However, they also contain phytates. These anti-nutrients inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals, meaning zinc from legumes isn’t as well absorbed as the zinc from animal products. Despite this, they can be an important source of zinc for people following vegan or vegetarian diets.
Proven mushroom nutrition benefits include the ability to boost immunity due to its antioxidant activities, reduce inflammation, fight cancer, protect your heart and improve brain function.
Eggs contain a moderate amount of zinc and can help you meet your daily target. For example, 1 large egg contains around 5% of the DV. This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats, and a host of other vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and selenium.
5. Dark Chocolate
Perhaps surprisingly, dark chocolate contains reasonable amounts of zinc. In fact, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar of 70–85% dark chocolate contains 3.3 mg of zinc or 30% of the DV. However, 100 grams of dark chocolate also contain 600 calories. So while it provides some healthy nutrients, it is a high-calorie food. While you may get some added nutrients with your treatment, it’s not a food you should be relying on as your main source of zinc.
If you’re looking for fruits that contain zinc, reach for an avocado. It’s known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet because its packed with essential nutrients. And research shows that avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake.
Dairy foods like cheese and milk provide a host of nutrients, including zinc. Milk and cheese are two notable sources, as they contain high amounts of bio-available zinc, meaning most of the zinc in these foods can be absorbed by your body. For example, 100 grams of cheddar cheese contains about 28% of the DV, while a single cup of full-fat milk contains around 9%
Wondering which nuts are high in zinc? Almonds nutrition is truly remarkable, and many studies show that it benefits many aspects of health, including cardiovascular health and weight control. In addition to its zinc content, almonds also provide vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and riboflavin, among other important micronutrients.
9. Whole Grains
Whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice and oats contain some zinc. However, like legumes, grains contain phytates, which bind to zinc and reduce its absorption. Whole grains contain more phytates than refined versions and will likely provide less zinc. However, they are considerably better for your health and a good source of many important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and selenium. In fact, eating whole grains has been linked to a longer life and number of other health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease.
10. Some Vegetables
In general, fruits and vegetables are poor sources of zinc. However, some vegetables contain reasonable amounts and can contribute to your daily needs, especially if you don’t eat meat.
Potatoes, both regular and sweet varieties, contain approximately 1 mg per large potato, which is 9% of the DV. Other vegetables like green beans and kale contain less, at around 3% of the DV per 100 grams. Although they don’t contain a lot of zinc, eating a diet rich in vegetables has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
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