According to the doctors at Mayo Clinic, zinc helps the immune system and the metabolic system to function properly.
Zinc also helps heal wounds and maintain the sense of taste and smell. It is important for women to consume at least 8 mg of zinc and for men to consume 11 mg of the mineral to maintain a healthy body.
The body can't really store or produce the nutrient. Therefore, it is important that you keep eating food rich in zinc to maintain a healthy functioning body. Here are the top 10 food items that are rich in zinc.
According to NutritionData, meat is a rich source of zinc, especially red meats like pork, beef, and lamb. 100 grams of red meat contains 4.8 gm of zinc, which is about 44 percent of the Required Daily Intake (RDI).
It is important to understand that you consume unprocessed meat because processed meat increases the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Shellfish is rich in zinc and other nutrients, and has less calories. Oysters are one of the most rich sources of zinc. Six medium-sized oysters contain 32mg of zinc, which is around 291 percent of the RDI. Though other shellfish can also provide the required amount of nutrients. However, pregnant women must be careful while consuming shellfish and should eat them after they are properly cooked.
Legumes like lentils, peas, and beans are the smallest but richest source of all the important nutrients. 100 grams of cooked lentils contain 12 percent of the RDI, which has far less zinc than animal products. This is because of the presence of phytates in the legumes, which inhibit the absorption of zinc into the body.
According to PubMed, it is a great source of zinc for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Fermentation and sprouting can also increase their nutrient density.
Seeds are considered a great source of zinc. Though some seeds might be more nutritious than others. 30 grams of hemp seeds contain 31 percent and 43 percent of RDI of zinc for women and men respectively.
According to nutritiondata.self.org, the other seeds that are rich in zinc include pumpkin, sesame, flax, and squash. These seeds are also a rich source of healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins, which keeps the blood pressure and cholesterol in control.
Nuts are rich in vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals. Chashews, almonds, peanuts and pine nuts can help increase your zinc intake. According to US NIH, regular consumption of nuts has been associated with reduced risk of heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
twenty-eight grams of cashews contain 15 percent of the RDI and along with other nuts it can be added to your diet as a healthy snack option.
According to the FoodData Central, dairy products like cheese, milk and yogurt are a rich source of protein, vitamin D, calcium, and zinc. 100 grams of cheddar cheese contains 28 percent of RDI for zinc and one cup of full fat milk contains 9 percent of the RDI.
Moreover, as PubMed suggests, the zinc in dairy products is bioavailable and can be absorbed easily into the body.
Whole grains that are rich in zinc include rice, quinoa, wheat, oats but they are difficult to be absorbed by the body due to the presence of the phytates, which are found in legumes.
Moreover, they are a rich source of protein, vitamins, iron, fiber, selenium, magnesium, etc and you should avoid eating the refined form, which is more less in zinc. These grains reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
According to Healthline, fruits and vegetables are not that great a source of zinc but vegetarians and vegans do not have a choice. So here are some vegetables that provide more zinc than one large potato, which provides 1 mg of zinc, which is 9 percent of the RDI. Other 100 grams of veggies like mushrooms, kale, and beans provide 3 percent of the daily required intake.
One large egg contains 0.65 mg of zinc, which is 5 percent of the RDI. The way in which it is cooked does not affect its nutritional factor. Make sure to add other food items and have a balanced diet to have proper amount of zinc in your diet because eggs also contain fat, which is not very healthy if consumed in excess.
Dark chocolate is a rich, tasty food option that increases the zinc intake and at least 100 grams of dark chocolate with 70-80 percent dark chocolate contains 3.3 mg of zinc, which is around 30 percent of the RDI. You can enjoy a bar or piece of dark chocolate after your meals but make sure they are atleast 70 percent dark.