Ideal for those looking to optimise their diets today.
Zinc is an essential nutrient found in the cells throughout our bodies. Essential, in this instance, doesn’t only mean ‘important’, mind.
When we refer to essential nutrients, we actually mean compounds which are crucial to us for growth and good health, but that the body isn’t able to produce or store. As such, you have to get these essential nutrients either through your diet, by eating foods high in zinc, or via supplements, like zinc tablets or capsules.
Just like many other nutrients, zinc helps to support a healthy immune system and accelerates wound healing. It is also needed for cell division and contributes to the structure of strong bones.
With so many key roles to play in supporting our body, it’s important to ensure that we all meet our recommended daily zinc intake – 9.5 mg for a male, 7 mg for a female, and not exceeding 25 mg in a day, if you’re asking.
Though the average zinc consumption of the UK adult population is between 10 and 15 mg daily (actually higher than the average necessary), some folk do fall short. Luckily, this deficiency is easy enough to remedy, as zinc is present in some of the country’s favourite ingredients. With that in mind, here are 6 delicious foods that are high in zinc, IDEAL for those looking to optimise their diets today.
Dairy provides a whole range of nutrients, and one of these is zinc. This is particularly the case with milk and cheese, as these dairy products contain high levels of bioavailable zinc. Bioavailable basically means that it can be easily absorbed and used beneficially by your body.
The majority of dairy products also contain high levels of calcium and vitamin D, which also both contribute to the normal functioning of bones. If you’re keen to optimise your cheese intake, then interestingly, cheddar and parmesan are some of the most zinc-rich cheeses out there. Food for thought, indeed.
You may be surprised to learn that eggs also contain reasonable amounts of zinc. Eating one large egg will contribute towards your zinc intake, while also providing you with many other nutrients, including selenium and B vitamins. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious! If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out these tips on the most foolproof way to cook five different types of egg preparation.
Unfortunately for vegetarians and vegans, meat is one of the best sources of zinc out there. This is particularly true with red meat including beef, lamb and pork, though chicken is also a fantastic source of the stuff, and a much healthier option, generally. In fact, just 140 g of chicken (half a large chicken breast) will provide you with 20% of your daily zinc.
It is worth noting that, although high in zinc, you must eat red meat in moderation. According to the British Heart Foundation, eating large amounts of red meat has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease. For vegans seeking good sources of zinc, beans, chickpeas and lentils all have plenty of the good stuff, as well as nuts, which we’ll discuss a little later.
Should you be a pescatarian or simply a big shellfish lover, then good news; seafood, particularly oysters, lobster and crab (hey, this zinc stuff has expensive taste) is absolutely packed with the stuff!
Oysters, in particular, contain exceptionally high amounts of zinc, with a single oyster giving you half your daily recommended amount. Another excuse to feast on the world’s most divisive bivalve; don’t mind if we do!
If you’re looking to do just that, then check out these 7 IDEAL ways to enjoy oysters.
Nuts are a tasty snack, and are eaten the world over because of their extraordinary health benefits, full of healthy fats and fibre. Eating any of the following nuts will help you to maintain your zinc levels:
- Pine nuts
When it comes to establishing which nut will be the most valuable for your daily value of zinc, look no further than cashews, which are the most zinc rich and also, whisper it, the most delicious, too (don’t @us, almonds).
We thought you’d never mention it. But any excuse to eat more chocolate is alright by us, and you might, too, be delighted to learn that dark chocolate contains zinc.
Although a tasty treat, it’s worth remembering that any type of chocolate is extremely calorific. Unfortunately, this means that eating too much dark chocolate may have some unwanted consequences. Try to keep consumption to a minimum, but the occasional square certainly won’t do any harm!
THE BOTTOM LINE
As you can see, there are many foods out there that contain zinc. If you feel that you aren’t getting enough zinc through diet alone (what, you’re not relishing the chance to eat more oysters and chocolate?) then consider using zinc supplements for added benefits.