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Zinc: The Usually Forgotten Micronutrient We Need Daily and Its Food Source

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Zinc: The Usually Forgotten Micronutrient We Need Daily and Its Food Source

Zinc, as you may know, is a metal. It is also important that you get it into your diet. On this page, we are going to talk a little bit about the benefits of zinc, before we cover some of the best foods to get some zinc into your diet.

Why do you need zinc in your diet?

When most people think about getting zinc into their diet, they think about the job of zinc as a natural cold remedy. However, the purpose of the mineral is a lot more important than this. It can help with the following:

  • Assists with the production of hormones in your body
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Helps digestion
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory which could help to reduce pain in your body
  • Can assist with preventing some forms of cancer
  • Can tackle heat disease

Those who have a zinc deficiency, even a small amount, are at an increased risk of diabetes or infertility. Basically, it is a very important nutrient.

How much zinc should you consume?

You do not need that much zinc in your body each day. Adult males will require at least 11mg a day. Adult females around 8 milligrams. Children will need slightly less, but we are going to firmly focus on adults here.

However, we do want to note that in babies, the combination of Zinc and Vitamin K benefits [1] them incredibly. While they do not serve the same purpose, neither of them can be found in human breast milk. As a result, it is likely that the child will need to get them into their diet in some other way to promote normal development.

Top 10 Food with A Rich Source of Zinc

Let’s take a little look at a list of some of the best zinc-containing foods, shall we?

Oysters

    You will find 32mg of zinc in 6 raw oysters. This is 400% the RDA. This means that oysters are the best source of zinc around.

    You can cook your oysters however you want. We like to keep things simple, however. We suggest that you fry them with a few herbs and maybe some cheese drizzled over the top. You can also throw the oysters into a good fish stew. While you can eat oysters raw, it is not recommended.

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    Recommended Recipe: Pan Fried Oysters

    Beef

      There is 7mg of zinc in 3 ounces of braised chuck roast.

      In addition to the zinc, you will also find vitamin B12, a much-needed vitamin for keeping your skin cells healthy.

      You can cook your beef in a variety of different ways. Some people like to make hamburgers (bake, don’t fry), while others like to make a stew. We prefer the latter route as it means that you will be able to incorporate a few vegetables into the mix too.

      Recommended Recipe: Jool’s Favourite Beef Stew

      Crab

        There is 4.7 mg of zinc in a single can of blue crab meat. You will also find vitamin A, B, C and magnesium.

        Probably the best way in which to heat your crab meat is in a salad. It is not especially luxurious, but it works. Some people also like to throw it into a stir fry.

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        Recommend Recipe: Crab Salad

        Breakfast Cereal

          There are some breakfast cereals which have been fortified with zinc. The exact quantity of zinc will be dependent on the cereal that you are buying.

          We don’t really have a recipe to share with you here. Cereal is cereal. To make the most out of it, though, put milk on the cereal (low fat!). This will give you an extra helping of zinc.

          Lobster

            There is 3.4mg of zinc in 3 ounces of cooked lobster. In addition to this, you will receive a generous helping of your daily amount of B12, 32% of your family protein needs, and 8% of the all the calcium required.

            Lobsters can be prepared in several different ways. Some people love to incorporate them into salads. Others like to make sandwiches. You can even eat the lobster right out of the shell. This is why our recommended list covers several different recipes.

            Recommended recipes: 28 Different Lobster Recipes

            Pork Chop

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              You will find 2.9mg of zinc in 3 ounces of cooked pork chops. Pork chops are low in fat but high in protein. They contain choline which can be tough to get elsewhere. This is a nutrient which is known to have a positive impact on long-term memory.

              If you want to get the most out of your pork chops, we suggest that you bake or grill them. While you can fry them, it is likely that the frying will undo some of the healthier benefits.

              Recommended recipe: Marinated Baked Pork Chops

              Cashews

                There is 1.6 mg of zinc in 1 ounce of dry roasted peanuts. You will also find that these nuts are high in folate, vitamin K, and provide you with a significant amount of iron.

                Most people eat their cashews ‘raw’. Do not eat them salted. You can, however, also incorporate them into a salad or a stir fry. These are both fantastic if you are looking to ensure a healthy mix of nutrients in your diet.

                Recommended Recipe: Gingery Thai Kale Salad with Cashew Dressing

                Chickpeas

                  There is 1.3mg of zinc per ½ cup of cooked chickpeas. There is also protein, fiber, and a whole host of healthy fats.

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                  One of the great things about chickpeas is that you can use them in so many different ways. For example; if you are a vegetarian, you will be able to incorporate them into any dish which requires meat. They are a great substitute. We love to eat them as a hummus dip, though. You will then be able to dip some raw vegetables into them for a great boost in vitamins and minerals!

                  Recommended Recipe: Easy Hummus Peas

                  Chicken

                    There is 2.4mg of zinc in 3 ounces of dark meat. You will also find a healthy dose of protein and vitamin B6.

                    You probably already know of several recipes which you can use for chicken. The possibilities are limitless. You can bake it. You can fry it. You can make it into a salad. You can roast it. We love the salad option as, once again, it means that you will be able to get more nutrients into your diet.

                    Recommended Recipe: Chicken Salad

                    Almonds

                      There is 0.9mg of zinc in 1 ounce of dry roasted almonds. Not the highest amount, but the other minerals you can get will more than make up for that. You will also find magnesium, omega-3, and vitamin E. To cap it off, there is also some protein.

                      The only real way in which you can eat those almonds is straight out of the packet. They make a delightful snack. You can also sprinkle them over a salad if you are that way inclined.

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                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Junie Rutkevich

                      Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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                      Last Updated on August 12, 2021

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                      If you make your own coffee in the morning, chances are you’re only making the same boring kind everyday. Now it’s time to put an end to the cynical habit and turn you into an instant coffee connoisseur.

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