Regarding dietary minerals, zinc might not have the same recognition factor as calcium, iron or potassium. However, it is still a vitally important mineral that can have health repercussions for those who don’t get enough through diet or supplements. It plays a role in skin health and immune function and can even affect the male reproductive system, as the motility of sperm can be affected in those with severe depletion of zinc. Even stranger reactions are possible, including the loss of both one’s sense of taste and appetite! For those experiencing any of these symptoms, ensuring you are getting enough zinc in your diet is paramount. Here are ten quality food sources of zinc:
1 – Oysters
These pearl-bearing shellfish are absolute powerhouses when it comes to zinc density. Long regarded as an aphrodisiac, oysters are chock-full of zinc. While they might not be to your taste, you might want to plug your nose and choke one down. Even a tiny serving can provide you with your total recommended daily value.
2 – Beef
You shouldn’t have to plug your nose to get this tasty food down. A nice hunk of sirloin steak or a juicy burger will give you a good dose of zinc. Though not as dense as the humble oyster, a good dose of lean beef should give you all the zinc you need for a given day.
3 – Lamb
Much like beef, lamb is another tasty alternative to get your daily zinc allotment. Try some lamb chops or a rack of lamb with mint jelly. Yum!
4 – Pumpkin Seeds
Another good source of zinc is the pumpkin seed. Most of us simply scoop these into the garbage while carving our Halloween pumpkin. Instead, harvest that bounty. Roast them in the oven, and you’ve got a tasty, extremely nutritious snack that will also give you a decent boost of zinc.
5 – Cocoa Powder
Okay, now we’re talking! Of course, I’m not suggesting you start eating cocoa powder by the tablespoon, but if you want a tasty, decadent way to get your zinc, then a little dark chocolate will do the trick. If you want to avoid those extra calories, try scooping that spoonful of cocoa into your breakfast smoothie.
6 – Spinach
Seriously, is there anything this leafy green superfood doesn’t do for you? If you aren’t already incorporating Popeye’s favourite food into your diet, then you should definitely start. In a salad, cooked as a side or blended into a smoothie, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse that will not only provide you with zinc but has numerous other health benefits as well.
7 – Nuts
One of the most nutrient-dense foods in the plant kingdom, nuts such as cashews, pecans, walnuts and almonds are all great sources of zinc. Be careful with these bad boys, though. They are extremely high in calories. Enjoy no more than a small handful daily unless you are a high-performance athlete burning calories by the thousands.
8 – Shitake Mushrooms
Considering the wide array of foods that provide it, It is amazing that so many people suffer from zinc deficiency. Shitake mushrooms are yet another food high in zinc. Of course, the shitake isn’t your only choice of these tender, tasty fungi. Good old white mushrooms, brown mushrooms or portabellas all contain decent amounts of the mineral.
9 – Pork
While it might not have the same amount of zinc as beef or lamb, pork is another good source and a nice alternative if you are craving some nice roast pig. Don’t eat pork, beef or lamb? Try chicken. It is no slouch, either.
10 – Beans
Much like spinach, beans are an all-around nutritional powerhouse that should be part of anyone’s diet, regardless of their zinc levels. Baked beans, chickpeas and kidney beans will all provide you with a good dose of zinc while also giving you the added benefits of protein and plenty of fibre to keep the old digestive track working as it should.