Think of your body as a well-oiled machine. When it has enough fuel (nutrients) to run on, everything functions correctly. But, even when an otherwise insignificant nutrient is out of the picture, things can go downhill in an instant.
That’s the case with zinc. Most people don’t even realize how important this metal is to their well-being. However, being vulnerable to colds is the least of our problems in case of zinc deficiency. But, how does this metal benefit our body and which foods do we need to incorporate in our diet to stock on zinc? Read on to find out.
Health Benefits of a Zinc-Rich Diet
Present within all bodily tissue, zinc has the power to affect several functions whether they are of minor or significant importance to our survival. So, zinc deficiency either results in minor health issues such as getting sick frequently and always feeling tired or in severe side effects like being unable to heal wounds. Let’s take a closer look.
A strong immune system is the only thing standing between you as a healthy individual and harmful bacteria. Take front-row “soldiers” (minerals and vitamins) out of the equation, and you have a full-blown flu riot in your hands.
According to one study, zinc can relieve cold symptoms by serving as a natural antiviral remedy. More specifically, it hinders the molecular process which leads to bacteria and mucus building up within your nasal passages. This way you get rid of that awful cold feeling.
Hormones play a vital role in both the male and female body. They take part in several functions, including fertility and reproduction. On that note, research suggests that zinc may have a say in the hormonal balance of both sexes.
In men, zinc promotes the production of testosterone within the body while in women this metal triggers the production of estrogen and progesterone which both support the female reproductive health.
Serves as an Antioxidant
Oxidative stress is quite common in people of all ages. The sad part, though, is that most people don’t know whether their body is packed with free radicals which eat away their still-healthy cells. Luckily, zinc-rich foods secretly take care of this use by not only reducing oxidative stress in our body but also lowering the incidence of infections which may be associated with this condition.
Promotes Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
Zinc is one of those multi-purpose elements. How come? Not only does it promote protein synthesis by triggering the human body to utilize amino acids, but it’s also important for breaking down carbs and producing energy. That’s why zinc deficiency is linked to chronic or adrenal fatigue.
8 Foods High in Zinc
Right after iron, zinc is the second most abundant metal in the human body. That proves two simple things. Firstly, zinc is essential to our survival. And secondly, we also have a great responsibility to provide our bodies with the metal as often as possible due to its high concentration. So, here are eight foods high in zinc to meet that need.
We’ve all heard stories about the so-called aphrodisiac effects of oysters. But, have you ever wondered where do they spur from? According to one study, zinc plays a significant role in our reproductive health and everything that this entails, from the production of hormones to sperm maturation.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 16-182 milligrams
Here’s the deal with beef. Although it doesn’t contain as much zinc as other foods on this list, it’s still your best shot at meeting your daily needs. Why? Just ask yourself how much yogurt or Swiss cheese you can eat before you say “I’m done.” Now think of a well-cooked, juicy beef steak. You see the pattern here?
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 4.18 milligrams
We get it; lobster is considered a gourmet food you eat only on special occasions. So, next time you are about to eat lobster at a fancy restaurant, remember all the zinc you can feed to your body. Plus, lobster is low in calories. So, you get more for less.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 7.27 milligrams
While pork isn’t the healthiest or most protein-packed option out there, you just want to bury yourself knee-deep in pork chops now and then. Good thing they are rich in zinc! Just make sure you opt for organic pork which is free of antibiotics or chemicals.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 6.72 milligrams
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Even though pumpkins are a fall and Halloween staple, chances are you don’t eat enough of their seeds. And that’s too bad because you’re missing out on a whole lot of zinc. But, that’s not all, pumpkin seeds can also provide you with a hefty dose of Omega-3 fatty acids which can do your heart a world of good.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 7.81 milligrams
Cashews are exceptionally high in zinc covering up to 37% of our daily recommended needs. They also contain lots of healthy fats and fiber which promote your cardiovascular health while keeping you full for longer.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 5.6 milligrams
Also known as Garbanzo beans, chickpeas are another rich source of zinc. They can be a tasty and nutrient-dense alternative for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet but still need to get their hands on some zinc. They also carry lots of fiber and protein and, thus, curb your appetite. And, remember, hummus is just the beginning!
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 35 milligrams
We couldn’t help but save mush-room for mushrooms in this list. No matter which variety is your poison (we’re looking at you, portobello), zinc-rich mushrooms are versatile and can become part of practically most meals “hooking” you with all their nutritional benefits. They are also filled with vitamins and minerals which make them all the more nutritious.
Zinc Content in 100 Grams: 7.7 milligrams
The bottom line is that it’s quite easy to get your hands on some zinc with a little help from nature. Perhaps you already eat some of these foods on a daily basis and supply yourself with the metal without even knowing. If so, keep doing what you’re doing. And keep the other options in mind to spice things in the future.