Zinc is an important mineral for the body, and a Zinc deficiency can result in hair loss and diarrhea. The National Institute of Health says that adult males should be getting 11 milligrams of Zinc each day, and adult females need 8 milligrams. It’s important to keep in mind that this is cumulative throughout the day, so you shouldn’t try to meet that requirement in one sitting, or with one food. The list of foods below will help give you an idea of how you can incorporate different foods into your diet that will help you meet your Zinc needs.
Spinach may not be the food with the most Zinc in it, but it holds its own considering that it’s a plant source. It’s just one of the many vitamins and minerals that spinach is known for, and one more reason to eat it more often. Having a salad with spinach as the base is an easy way to start getting more Zinc into your diet, especially when you top that salad with other Zinc-containing foods. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (0.53 milligrams), 23 calories.
Beef is a great food for upping your Zinc levels because ounce for ounce it has more zinc than many other foods. This means that a reasonable serving of beef will yield you more Zinc for your efforts. Some other foods on this list may have more Zinc, but it’s unlikely that you would eat very much of that food in one sitting, like pumpkin seeds. But a nice serving of steak will go a long way in the Zinc department for that day. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (4.18 milligrams), 254 calories.
Shrimp serves as a good food for Zinc intake, and also provides other benefits like being a high quality protein, and being low in calories. They are also a surprising source of antioxidants. Usually it’s fruits and vegetables that get mentioned in a discussion of antioxidants, but shimp have pretty good sized dose of an antioxidant that helps fight inflammation in the body, which can provide relief to anyone suffering from an inflammatory condition. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (1.34 milligrams), 85 calories.
4. Kidney beans
Kidney beans are a great non-meat source of Zinc, which is good news for vegans and vegetarians looking to get the Zinc requirements met. These beans are also helpful in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, providing energy and keeping you feeling full for long periods without a subsequent crash. They can be eaten as a side dish by themselves or added to any entree to boost fiber intake and add additional protein. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (2.79 milligrams), 127 calories.
5. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds get a lot of attention because of their omega-3 and fiber, but it’s also a good source of Zinc. Keep in mind that this is one food that you won’t be eating a mouthful at a time, but it can be used as part of a Zinc-conscious eating plan to get your total numbers up. They can be sprinkled on just about anything for added nutrition. Try pouring some into soups and smoothies and you won’t even know it’s there. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (5 milligrams), 534 calories.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Chances are, you’re not eating enough pumpkin seeds. If you save this as an annual October treat, it’s time to start getting them into your system throughout the year. They’re not only remarkably high in Zinc, but they provide other benefits to the body like helping you sleep better at night, giving you a dose of omega-3s, and keeping your blood sugar levels looking good. Promising research also suggests that they may be considered an anti-inflammatory food. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (7.81 milligrams), 559 calories.
The amount of Zinc in oysters varies, but will always be enough for the day if you get a 100 gram serving. The benefit of eating foods high in Zinc rather than taking a Zinc supplement is that your body can easily process excess levels of a mineral that comes from natural sources. This is why you don’t have to worry that a serving of oysters provides more Zinc than what is needed, your body will simply expel what it doesn’t need. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (16-182 milligrams), 199 calories.
8. Watermelon seeds
Here’s a seed that often gets spit out, and many times doesn’t even show up because the watermelon is seedless. But if you dry watermelon seeds, and even toast them, they can be a wonderful source of Zinc, as well as other good things for the body, like protein, magnesium, healthy fats, and a host of B Vitamins. This makes them a great snack to consider, since most of us are not in the habit of eating them. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (10 milligrams), 602 calories.
Garlic has a long list of health benefits, not the least of which is that it provides a respectable amount of Zinc. Granted, it’s not going to be able to take a big chunk out of your Zinc requirements for the day when used in cooking, but it can contribute and add to the day’s total. Garlic also has cleansing properties, and has long been linked to anti-cancer effects and a healthier heart. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (1.16 milligrams), 149 calories.
10. Lima Beans
Mom says: Eat your lima beans! Turns out she was onto something, and lima beans put up pretty good numbers in the Zinc column. Remember not to go overboard with any one food, and shoot for a variety of different foods to meet your needs. Lima beans are relatively low in calories and help the body in a number of ways including adding more fiber, protein, folate, iron and magnesium. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (2.83 milligrams), 126 calories.
Peanuts can be used as a snack to hold you over between meals, and they also provide plenty of Zinc to help the cause. Consider eating peanut butter if you don’t like the crunchiness of whole peanuts. If you buy an organic variety the only ingredient should be organic peanuts, and therefore it’s just like eating it in whole form, but you don’t have the crunch unless you buy the crunchy version. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (3.27 milligrams), 318 calories.
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