What is Zinc?
Zinc is a trace mineral that is required by our body to process certain biochemical reactions. The mineral cannot be synthesised by our body, so it can only be consumed through diet.
Zinc is involved in various body functions like immune function, DNA synthesis, growth and catalyst in certain enzyme reactions.
Zinc also helps to synthesise DNA and proteins required for the body. Pregnant women will require zinc for the growth and development of the foetus brain.
Zinc is only required in small quantities for our body, and the recommended daily allowance level is 11 mg and 8 mg for men and women, respectively. If consumed more than the recommended level, it can lead to complications.
Some of the common needs that our body requires zinc are for
- Blood clotting
- Thyroid functions
- Growth and development
- Wound healing
- Certain immune reactions and
- For senses like taste and smell.
If a person does not consume enough zinc, it can lead to zinc deficiency and certain health conditions like weight loss, diarrhoea, vision problems, skin rash, loss of appetite, reduced sense of taste and smell and weakened immune system.
18 foods that are high in Zinc
Zinc cannot be synthesised by our body and can only be included through diet. Some of the foods that are rich in zinc are listed below.
Crab and Lobster
Consuming crab and lobster can help a person gain daily zinc requirement. These two foods are rich in zinc. Three ounces of cooked crab contains about 6.5 mg of zinc, and boiled lobster contains about 4.7 mg.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, seafood like lobster, crab and fish not only contains high zinc content but also contains nutrients like omega-3 fats that are good for the heart.
Meat is loaded with protein and zinc. Lean meat contains low salt, and the nutritional content is also high. Meat not only satisfies your taste buds but also helps quench the body’s nutritional requirements.
According to USDA, one cup of roasted chicken breast contains about 2.13 mg of zinc. Eggs are also rich in zinc, and one large egg contains about 0.6 mg of zinc.
Vegans can still get zinc from other vegetarian foods. According to the National Institute of Health, people who follow a vegan diet require 50% more zinc than the recommended range.
Mushrooms are a good source of zinc and the best option for people who follow a vegan diet. According to USDA, one cup of raw mushrooms contains 0.3 mg of zinc.
Mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins and also low in calories (20 calories). Among the mushroom varieties, the shiitake mushrooms contain a high amount of zinc. One cup of shiitake mushrooms provides about 2 mg of zinc.
Zinc is commonly found in animal foods, and only a handful of plant-based food contain zinc. Legumes like beans and lentils contain a good amount of zinc.
One cup of edamame contains about 2.13 mg of zinc, black beans contain about 1.93 mg of zinc, and chickpeas contain about 1.66 mg of zinc, according to USDA.
These foods not only contain zinc but are also a good source of other vitamins. They provide fewer calories in addition to being rich in protein and dietary fibre.
One cup of chicken breast contains about 2.13 mg of zinc. Chicken breast is also low in fat and contains a good amount of protein.
Generally, fortified cereal contains about 2.8 mg of zinc, according to the National Institute of Health. However, the nutritional value differs from one brand to another.
Dairy foods like yoghurt are an excellent source of calcium and zinc. They are not only tasty but also rich in nutrients.
According to USDA, one cup of non-fat yoghurt contains 2.38 mg of zinc, and low-fat plain yoghurt contains about 2.2 mg of zinc.
Yoghurt can be consumed as a comfort food too. Add a cereal of your choice to fat-free or low-fat yoghurt, and top it with your favourite fruits. This dish will also satisfy your cravings.
Baked beans are a good source of zinc. When compared to animal food, the bioavailability of zinc in vegan foods are low. To increase zinc absorption, beans can be soaked in water for a few hours before cooking.
This technique will help in the absorption of zinc and increases its bioavailability. Half a cup of kidney beans and canned beans contain about 0.6 mg, according to USDA.
You can consume nuts as a snack, and they do not require any special preparation. You can have them handy and substitute them for fried snacks.
Milk is rich in calcium, which helps to meet the daily requirement of calcium. According to USDA, one cup of low-fat or no-fat milk contains about 1.1 mg and 1.05 mg of zinc, respectively. Milk can be added to your favourite fortified cereal.
Animal foods like beef are rich in zinc. When compared to plant-based foods, animal food offers a good range of nutrients. According to USDA, 100 grams of zinc contain 4.8 mg of zinc.
According to USDA, one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds contains about 1 mg of zinc and 40 mg of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds also provide other benefits like good for the heart and promoting healthy bones.
Oysters are rich in zinc. According to USDA, one raw oyster contains about 5.5 mg of zinc, and 100 grams of oysters contain about 20.25 mg of zinc. Oysters are also called the powerhouse of zinc.
Oysters are low in calories. They are rich in minerals and vitamins like vitamin B12 and selenium. Oysters also help promote immune function.
Foods like cheese contain nutrients like protein, zinc and calcium. Cheese contains a good amount of bioavailable zinc, which helps the body to absorb zinc easily.
There are different types of cheese, and their nutritional value differs from one another. One ounce of Swiss cheese contains about 1.2 mg of zinc. It also offers other minerals and nutrients like calcium, vitamins A and B 12.
Almonds are placed under the nut category, which can be consumed either raw or roasted. Most people prefer to soak almonds overnight and consume them in the morning with peeled skin.
Almonds are nutrient-dense, and one ounce of almonds contains about 0.9 mg of zinc. Almonds are also abundant in other nutrients like iron, magnesium, protein, vitamin E and folate.
Oats (rolled, uncooked)
Oats are packed with nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, and one cup of raw oats provides about 2.95 mg of zinc.
Muesli is commonly used for breakfast as it contains fibre and proteins. Muesli is basically raw and rolled oats. Muesli regulates bowel movement as it is rich in fibre and zinc.
The cereal is ideal for breakfast and contains nutrients like vitamin E, B6, B12, thiamine, phosphorous, iron, and zinc. According to USDA, one cup of muesli contains about 3.1 mg of zinc.
Chickpeas contain an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. A hundred grams of chickpeas contain about 1.5 mg of zinc. Chickpeas are also rich in other nutrients like copper, selenium and manganese.
Toxicity and dosage recommendations
Excess of zinc can have adverse effects as much as zinc deficiency.
Too much supplemental zinc is the most frequent source of zinc toxicity, resulting in acute and long-term symptoms.
Symptoms of toxicity include
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Taking too much zinc can also cause deficiencies in other nutrients. For example, chronic high zinc ingestion can interfere with your absorption of copper and iron.
Avoid taking high-dose zinc supplements unless a doctor advises you to in order to prevent overconsumption.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 8 milligrammes for women and 11 mg for men.Pregnant women and nursing mothers should take 11 and 12 mg per day. You should be able to consume enough zinc to meet the RDA through diet alone, barring a medical situation that prevents absorption.
However, those with specific dietary restrictions, such as vegans and vegetarians, might find it challenging to satisfy their requirements through diet alone.Zinc has a daily maximum limit of 40 mg, which is acceptable.
This does not apply to those who need to take supplements at large doses due to zinc deficiency. If you take supplements, pick absorbable forms over poorly absorbed zinc oxide, such as zinc citrate or zinc gluconate.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for the body, and it cannot be synthesised by the body. Zinc can only be consumed through diet. Zinc is required for various body functions, and zinc deficiency can lead to various health complications.
Foods like oysters, meat and poultry are rich in zinc. Compared to plant-based foods, animal foods contain higher zinc content.
Vegans can prefer baked beans, almonds and chickpeas. These plant-based foods contain a good amount of zinc and also increase bioavailability. Fortified cereals are also a good option if you prefer plant-based food.
What food is highest in zinc?
Foods that are rich in zinc include
2. Meat and poultry
7. Whole grains and
8. Fortified cereals.
What are 3 foods that are high in zinc?
Oysters, meat and legumes are foods that are rich in zinc.
Which fruit has the highest zinc?
Avocados are high in zinc content when compared to other fruits. A hundred grams of avocados contain about 0.6 mg of zinc.
Which fruits contain zinc?
Fruits like avocados, pomegranates, blackberries, raspberries, apricots, kiwifruit, blueberries, cantaloupes and guavas are rich in zinc.
How can I increase my zinc intake?
Zinc intake can be increased by consuming foods rich in zinc. Foods like oysters , red meat , beans , nuts , whole grains etc, are high in zinc .