When it comes to immune-boosting, we often think about vitamin C. Did you know that foods that contain zinc also play a significant role in a healthy immune system? Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential to the functioning of immune cells. Zinc being a trace mineral, means that only a small amount of it is needed by our body to maintain good health. For an adult female, 8mg is the recommended daily intake, while there should be 11mg for an adult male. Even though we need a small amount of zinc every day, we should not take it for granted. Zinc has many benefits that manifest through faster wound healing, healthy eyes, skin, and hair. Aside from its immune function, zinc is also involved in the activity of enzymes, cellular metabolism, and protein synthesis.
Zinc is a common as over-the-counter supplements which lessen the duration and severity of the common cold. Thankfully, zinc is naturally present in some foods that are probably already there in your kitchen. This article will include the best food sources of zinc to help you reach your daily zinc quota.
Oysters are yummy delicacies that you can eat raw. Among any other food, oysters have the highest zinc content per serving. 50% of the recommended zinc amount is present in 1 oyster. Aside from zinc, oysters are also excellent sources of vitamin B12 and selenium.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Foods high in zinc need not be as expensive as oysters. Seeds contain various nutrients, including zinc. Pumpkin seeds have around 20% of your daily zinc needs, while pine nuts contain 16 percent. Nuts and seeds are an enjoyable addition to your diet in many ways, like plain snacking or tossing them in your salad. Pumpkin seeds are rich in copper, iron, and magnesium.
3. Red Meat and Chicken
Among the foods that contain zinc, beef, chicken, and pork are the primary sources of zinc for Americans. Red meat and chicken contain a decent amount of zinc. A cup of roasted, skinless chicken breast has 19% of the daily zinc requirement. Chicken is also rich in lean protein that promotes muscle development. Aside from its zinc content, red meat is rich in vitamin B12, which is absent in plant-based food products.
One should take caution, however, on their meat consumption. Meat contains fat and cholesterol that may harm your health when consumed too much.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains provide a lot of health benefits. It is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole grains are also among the foods that contain zinc. A cup of raw oats contains 27% of your daily zinc needs, and a cup of cooked brown rice provides 13%. Among the whole grains is the classic breakfast staple, oats. Oats are nutrients rich such as zinc, beta-glucan, fiber, and folate. Oats also maintain your cholesterol level and improve the growth of your gut’s good bacteria.
A low-calorie addition to your diet is mushroom. A cup of raw mushrooms has 3% of the recommended daily zinc value. Including mushrooms to your diet will provide you with extra zinc without messing up your daily calorie limit. Three ounces of mushrooms only have 20 calories in them. Mushrooms are also an excellent source of riboflavin.
6. Crab and Lobster
Shellfish like crabs and lobsters are among the best foods high in zinc. Three ounces of Alaskan king crab boasts 59% of your daily zinc needs, while lobster contains 43% of the recommended value. Aside from its low-calorie, high-zinc properties, shellfish are also loaded with vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for its role in the metabolism and nervous system.
Legumes are plant-based foods that are a great addition to your diet. Chickpeas and beans have a decent amount of zinc. A cup of canned chickpeas has 19% of the daily recommended value, while a black beans cup contains 18 percent. Legumes are good protein sources, low in fat, and low in calories while loaded with dietary fiber and vitamins.
Yogurt is among the yummy and nutritious food sources of zinc. A cup of nonfat yogurt contains 22% of your daily zinc needs. Yogurt is also high in calcium. Yogurt boasts a lot of benefits, from a healthy gut to strong bones.