Did you know that a healthy amount of zinc in your diet has been linked to an improved immune system and faster wound healing? Some studies have linked proper zinc intake to reduced severity and duration of the common cold, improved thyroid function, more effective blood clotting, and even decreased effects of age-related macular degeneration.
A June 2015 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that zinc may also play an important role in regulating heartbeat — a potential advancement in the fight against arrhythmia-related heart failure. Zinc is an essential trace mineral, which means our bodies only need a small amount of it (8 mg for adult women and 11 mg for adult men) to maintain good health.
Here are 10 foods that can help increase your zinc consumption each day:
a. 5.3 mg per medium oyster.
b. High in protein, low in calories, and packed with other valuable vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B-12, iron, and selenium.
c. Try oysters cooked, canned, or on the half-shell
2. Crab and Lobster
a. Per 3-ounce serving, Alaskan king crab packs in 43 percent (6.5 mg), and lobster provides 23 percent (3.4 mg), of the recommended daily value.
b. Certain types of fish, such as sardines, salmon, flounder, and sole, also contain zinc, but in less potent doses.
c. A wide variety of seafood is a great addition to any heart-healthy diet.
3. Meat and Poultry
a. Beef, pork, and chicken are packed with protein and zinc
b. For the most nutritious cuts, choose lean meats with any visible fat removed, or skinless poultry
c. Just three ounces of roasted, skinless chicken breast provides 6 percent (0.9 mg) of the daily recommended value of zinc.
a. Add foods like hummus, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and black beans to your meals for extra zinc and other health benefits.
b. Per quarter cup, hummus provides 7 percent (1.1 mg) of the daily recommended value of zinc, while chickpeas and lentils each pack 4 percent (0.6 mg), and edamame and black beans have 3 percent (0.5 mg).
c. For relatively few calories, legumes are a great low-fat, high-protein food packed with vitamins, minerals, and lots of dietary fiber.
a. Mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic contain zinc, as well as other vital vitamins and minerals
b. Per cup of raw veggies, mushrooms and kale both contain 2 percent (0.4 mg) of the daily value of zinc.
c. Adding these foods to your day will give you an extra dose of zinc without adding many calories to your meals.
6. Nuts and Seeds
a. Pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts, or chia seeds
7. Whole Grains
a. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and zinc
b. Just ½ cup of cooked steel-cut oats boasts 6 percent (0.9 mg) of the daily value of zinc, while the same amount of cooked brown rice has 4 percent (0.6 mg), and a slice of whole wheat bread contains 3 percent (0.5 mg).
c. Quinoa is a great source of zinc
8. Fortified Breakfast Cereals
a. Breakfast cereals are fortified with a number of vitamins and minerals, including zinc.
b. In general, one serving provides about 25 percent (3.8 mg) of the daily recommended amount of zinc.
c. Choose a whole grain cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, and top it with fat-free or low-fat milk and your favorite fruit.
9. Milk and Dairy Foods
a. Rich sources of calcium and zinc.
b. A 1-cup serving of fat-free or low-fat milk contains 7 percent (1 mg) of the daily value of zinc, while one cup of fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt provides 15 percent (2.2 mg).
c. Add fat-free or low-fat milk to cereal, oatmeal, and smoothies, and try yogurt topped with granola and fresh fruit.
10. Dark Chocolate
a. The darker, the better: 60-69 percent cacao varieties contain about 5 percent (0.8 mg) of the recommended daily value per ounce, while 70-85 percent cacao varieties contain about 6 percent (0.9 mg).