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Top 11 Zinc-rich Foods For Our Better Health

Top 11 Zinc-rich Foods For Our Better Health




Do you know the importance of zinc-rich foods in your daily diet? What are the benefits of dietary zinc? What are the dietary zinc sources? What happens if your diet contains lacks this mineral?

Zinc-rich Foods
zinc-rich foods

Yes! Today we discuss all the vital facts about zinc and its dietary sources.  


Zinc is an essential mineral and plays several important roles in the body. It is essential because our body does not produce, and must be obtained through foods or sometimes supplements.

Our body needs a small amount of zinc, but its role in overall growth and well-being is enormous.

It is the second most abundant trace mineral after iron.

Generally, the blood contains 0.7mg/100ml and serum contains 0.1mg/100ml zinc. It is slightly higher in the pancreas, teeth, and bones.

In the body, zinc mostly present in the combination with other constituents, such as enzymes.

The daily requirement of dietary zinc is 8-10 mg for women and 10-15 mg for men.



Functions of Dietary Zinc


The functions of dietary zinc in the growth and overall health are well documented.

It helps in the proper functioning of almost 300 types of enzymes (metalloenzyme) in the body, which acts on our metabolism, nerve functioning, digestion, etc.

For the development of the immune system, protecting from diseases, and infections, zinc-rich foods are quite important.

It transports vitamin-A to the retina and maintains eye health as well as plays a fundamental role in DNA and protein synthesis.

For a successful pregnancy, and maintaining male fertility, this trace mineral too important.



Important Health Benefits of Zinc


As an essential mineral, zinc provides several health benefits.

Dietary zinc is too important to develop and boosting immunity. It activates T-lymphocytes (T-cell) and maintains proper immune responses.

Cancer prevention is another benefit of zinc. This mineral acts as an antioxidant, reduces oxidative damage, and decreases the risk of cancer.

So, adequate amounts of zinc-rich foods or supplements are very effective during chemotherapy.

On the other hand, Study shows that it may important to regulating a proper heartbeat, fight against arrhythmia, and reduces the risk of heart failure.

Dietary zinc also plays an important role in wound healing. It promotes collagen synthesis around the wound as well as boosts immune response.

In our body, zinc transports vitamin A to the retina and prevents age-related macular degeneration.

It is very effective in mental health and acts as an anti-depressant. It promotes the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and can reduce anxiety as well as irritability.

According to the study, the administration of zinc supplements results in reduce the number of stool output and decrease the risk of persistent diarrhea.

So, to prevent diarrhea, other various diseases, infections, and boosting our immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, foods rich in zinc must be present in our diet.



Zinc-rich Foods in the Diet


It is an essential trace mineral, so we have to depend on dietary zinc sources to fulfill the daily requirements.

The food sources may be plants or animals. These are the top 11 foods, which contain significant amounts of trace minerals.


i. Whole Grains

Whole grains are one of the important zinc-rich foods.

Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, wheat, quinoa, etc. are a great source of zinc.

Zinc-rich Foods
whole grains & dietary zinc

They are considered vital sources of other nutrients, like dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, vitamin B, phosphorus, selenium as well as zinc.

Additionally, reduces the risk of obesity, and the fiber content also effective to maintain blood sugar levels. They strengthen our immune system.

Oats contain a potent soluble fiber called β-glucan which regulates blood cholesterol levels and improves blood sugar.

On the other hand, oats maintain the growth of accurate gut-friendly micro-organisms. That means it acts as a prebiotic food.

The fiber content of quinoa is two times more than other grain, most effective to fill satiety and healthy option for weight management.

So, zinc-rich whole grains have been linked to a longer life along with numerous health benefits. 


ii. Dairy Products

Dairy products are the most important zinc-rich foods.

Milk, swiss cheese and yogurt are the notable sources of high concentrations of bioavailable zinc.

It means, most of the zinc content in these foods is easily absorbed by our body.

Zinc-rich Foods
Dairy & Zinc Diet

The standard serving size of full-fat milk (1 cup, or 250 ml) contains almost 9% dietary zinc of the daily value, which is almost 1.02 mg.

On the other hand, 250 ml of yogurt also provides 20-22% and 100 gm of cheese contains 28% zinc of the daily value.

Besides the zinc content, dairy products also provide vitamin D, calcium, protein, etc. All are important for bone health.

Additionally, yogurt is a probiotic food, which promotes gut health, improves digestion reduces belly fat and keeps our heart healthy.

So, you can put milk in your dinner, yogurt with few berries in your lunch or evening snack, and swiss cheese for your sandwich. 


iii. Edible Seeds

Edible seeds are the healthy option in your zinc-rich diet. They can increase zinc intake in the body.

Among various seeds, the most effective are pumpkin, hemp, and flax seeds.

According to the USDA, 28 gm of pumpkin seeds* contain almost 20% (2-2.20 mg) zinc of the daily value.

Zinc-rich Foods
seeds as zinc-rich foods

On the other hand, 30 gm of hemp seeds contain 30-40% of the daily value. Some other seeds that contain adequate zinc are sesame, squash, etc.

With other zinc-rich foods, these seeds have a significant role in our health.

They maintain blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, and promote a healthy heart.

Not only zinc, but these seeds also rich in healthy unsaturated fats (omega-3), dietary fiber, other minerals, vitamins, and make our diet healthy.


*Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens, which produce estrogenic effects. According to the study, in post-menopausal women, 2 gm of pumpkin seed oil per day, for 12 weeks can reduce blood pressure and menopausal symptoms. 

But due to excess consumption of pumpkin seeds may increase blood cholesterol levels after menopause.


iv. Nuts

Another important zinc-rich food is nuts. The common nuts are peanut, almonds, pine nuts, cashew, etc.

Almonds, cashew, peanuts boost zinc intake in the body. They also contain dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats.

Zinc-rich Foods
nuts are vital sources of zinc

They are also quick and convenient snacks on the daily diet.

Every 28 gm (standard serving) of peanuts and cashew provide zinc by 16% and 15% of the daily value respectively.

Nuts have been linked to living longer and reducing the risk of cardiac issues, diabetes, and cancer.

They are important sources of antioxidants. So, if you have a weight loss goal or a goal of better health, try to incorporate nuts in regular meals.


v. Legumes

Without legumes, this list cannot be completed.

Legumes, such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils are the significant sources of zinc.

Legumes are the vital zinc-rich foods for vegetarians and the only zinc sources on the vegan diet.

Every 100 gm of canned chickpeas provides almost 19% of the daily value. On the other hand, 100 gm of lentils contains around 11-12% zinc.

Zinc-rich Foods
Legumes & Zinc

Legumes* are very popular for relatively few calories, low fat, high protein, and fiber content.

The mineral bioavailability increases when these source foods are on heating, fermenting, or sprouting.

In the case of zinc-rich beans, lima, and kidney beans are very popular. Lima beans contain folate, vitamin B6, fiber, and protein. They protect from cancer in the digestive tract.

Kidney beans reduce the concentration of C-reactive protein which responsible for inflammatory diseases. They also help to maintain blood sugar levels.


*Legumes contain some anti-nutrients, called phytates. These compounds reduce the absorption of zinc in the body. Due to these phytates, legumes are less convenient sources of zinc than animal sources.

vi. Garlic

Garlic is a popular food component of the Mediterranean diet and an important member of the zinc-rich foods list.

Zinc-rich Foods
garlic & Dietary zinc

It contains an organosulfur compound Allicin, which acts as an antioxidant. It can combat free radicals, and assist to prevent cognitive decline.

It exhibits strong cardio-protective effects also, and reduces blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL) as well as protects our heart from atherosclerosis, stroke, etc.

Garlic has anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help to detoxify heavy metals in our bodies.


vii. Mushrooms and Veggies

Other important zinc-rich foods are mushrooms and veggies.

Mushrooms are the rarest set of germaniums of edible fungi and a significant source of nutrients. Mushrooms allow our body to use more oxygen efficiently.

Zinc-rich Foods
mushrooms & veggies

According to the USDA, raw mushrooms contain almost 3% daily value of zinc and very few calories.

The serving size 85 gm of mushrooms rich in only 28 calories. On the other hand, they provide high protein and vital minerals.

Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale are containing dietary zinc.

In addition to zinc, these veggies also provide calcium, potassium, copper, vitamin A, K, B6, C, and very low calories.


viii. Eggs

When we talk about zinc-rich foods from animal sources, then the egg comes first on the list.

Egg contains a moderate amount of zinc. 1 normal size egg rich in almost 4-5% of the daily value.

Zinc-rich Foods
eggs & dietary zinc

On the other hand, it contains low calorie, high protein, healthy unsaturated fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids), selenium, and vitamin-B.

High thermogenic food eggs increase the body’s metabolism, reduces excess body fats, and control obesity.

It is a significant source of choline also.

But one thing to keep in mind, boiled, or poached eggs provide all these health benefits properly. In the case of omelets, maximum benefits are lost.


ix. Seafood

Seafood is an edible marine life; it is either animal sources or plant sources.

Since we are talking about zinc-rich foods, the seafood that is included in this list is shellfish, such as oysters, crabs, lobsters, etc.

Zinc-rich Foods
zinc & shellfish

According to the USDA, an oyster is a zinc powerhouse on the daily diet.

Every 85 gm (standard serving) of oyster provides almost 5.5 mg zinc, which is 50% of the recommended daily value.

Oyster also contains low calorie, selenium, vitamin-B12, etc.

On the other hand, crabs, and lobsters are significant sources of dietary zinc.

85 gm cooked king crabs contain 6.5 mg zinc, which is 59% of the daily value.

85 gm steamed or boiled lobsters provide almost 4.7 mg zinc, 43% of the daily value.

With other zinc-rich foods, all the seafood may an important part of any heart-healthy diet plan.


x. Meat

Meat is an excellent source of dietary zinc.

Red meat, such as goat, lamb, pork, and beef provides almost 44-45% of the daily value. Every 100 gm of red meat contains 4.6-4.8 mg of dietary zinc.

Besides zinc, this amount also provides 20 gm protein, 10 gm fat, 176 calories, vitamin B, iron, and many more nutrients.

Chicken can beat maximum meals with regards to the protein content as well as dietary zinc.

According to the USDA, 200 gm chicken provides 2.13 mg of zinc, which is 19% of the daily value.

Zinc-rich Foods
meat is an excellent source of zinc

It also contains vitamin B6, B3, iron, selenium, and any other essential nutrients that are regarded to fight cancer.

 Another zinc-rich food is turkey meat. It is also wealthy in protein.

Every 85 gm of turkey meat provides 1.8 mg dietary zinc. Turkey can also help decrease the risk of several varieties of cancer.

The protein content also can preserve insulin levels stable after meals.

So, the meat on the diet must be fresh because processed meat increases the risk of heart diseases, cancers, obesity, indigestion, and other health issues.


xi. Dark Chocolate

Yes! It is a sweet surprise. Dark chocolate is a yummy food content in the zinc-rich foods list.

The main ingredient of dark chocolate is cacao. According to the USDA, every 28 gm of dark chocolate with 65-69% cacao, rich in 7% (0.75 mg) of the daily value of dietary zinc.

Zinc-rich Foods

This amount of dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao, also rich in 8% (0.90 mg) of the daily value.

The antioxidants of dark chocolate lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and can prevent the risk of cancer.



Now, The Conclusion


Dietary zinc is an essential mineral for our better health. So, consuming enough zinc-rich Food is very important.

These foods are just tasty and easy to incorporate into the daily diet.

In a busy daily life, sometimes it is not possible to keep all these foods in our diet. But we can get the daily value from the zinc supplements.

As we know, supplementation may produce some side effects. So, you can take zinc supplements under the supervision of a physician or dietician.

Self-medication strictly prohibited.


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