Zinc is an important mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. It is involved in a number of chemical processes, one of which is helping to heal wounds and maintain normal growth. Zinc is also needed for proper immune function and may even help prevent certain types of cancer. In this article we will explore nine foods that are particularly rich in zinc.
10 Best Foods That Are High in Zinc
Oysters are a type of shellfish that is often considered a delicacy. They are very nutritious and are an excellent source of zinc, providing over 80% of the RDA in just 3 ounces (85 grams). Other shellfish such as crab and lobster are also good sources of zinc.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are the edible seeds of pumpkins and other squash varieties. They are an exceptionally rich source of zinc, providing over 75% of the RDA per ounce (28 grams). Pumpkin seeds also contain healthy fats, protein, B vitamins and various beneficial plant compounds.
Nuts such as almonds and peanuts are good sources of zinc, especially when they are in their “unshelled” form. Almonds contain nearly 40% of the RDA per ounce (28 grams), while shelled peanuts provide 22%. The bioavailability or absorption rate of nuts is lower compared to animal foods though. This means that you need to eat more nuts to get the same amount of zinc.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a legume that is popular in many parts of the world. They are an excellent source of several nutrients including protein and fiber, but they also contain high amounts of zinc (27% of the RDA per cup). Other tasty legumes include lentils and soybeans. These foods are good sources of zinc too, but this is mostly from their edible seeds or “pods”.
5. Fortified Breakfast Cereals
The vast majority of breakfast cereals on supermarket shelves have been fortified with various vitamins and minerals. This includes zinc, which is added at levels of around 25% of the RDA. Zinc fortified cereals are an excellent way to start your day and help ensure that you’re getting enough of this important mineral.
Yogurt is a type of fermented milk product that is made by adding bacteria to milk. This fermentation process gives yogurt its characteristic tart taste and thick consistency. It also increases the bioavailability of zinc and other minerals in dairy products. One cup (245 grams) of plain yogurt provides around 25% of the RDA for zinc.
[ Read: Is Yogurt Good For Cholesterol ]
Cheese is another fermented dairy product that contains high levels of bioavailable zinc. Just one ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese provides over 20% of the RDA. It also contains protein, calcium and vitamin B12, which is another nutrient that many people are deficient in.
8. Turkey and Chicken
White meat from turkey or chicken is an excellent source of protein, as well as zinc. Chicken breast provides around 25% of the RDA per 85-gram (3-ounce) serving, while turkey breast provides 30%. Other good sources of animal protein that contain a significant amount of zinc include pork chops, beef cuts such as round steak and ground beef, and lamb chops.
9. Whole Grains
Whole grains like oats are rich in many nutrients including fiber and antioxidants, but they also contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc. Just one cup (80 grams) of cooked oats provides around 25% of the RDA for this important mineral. Other whole grains that are good sources of zinc include brown rice and whole wheat bread.
10. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit such as raisins and apricots are an excellent source of zinc. They are also a good way to get more of this mineral if you have trouble eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Just one ounce (28 grams) of raisins provides around 15% of the RDA, while the same amount of dried apricots contains 10%.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many different bodily processes. It’s involved in everything from DNA synthesis to immune function. The good news is that there are many delicious and nutritious foods that are rich in zinc and it can improve your overall health.
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