Are you conscious about your nutrition and wish to add zinc to your diet? Or, has a doctor advised you to add zinc to your meals to fight deficiency? Whatever the case may be, the consumption of zinc is essential. It is a crucial mineral, and our bodies use it to fight infections and regenerate cells. It is also vital for growth and development in the body.
Hence, it is essential to add zinc-rich food products to your daily diet. But which food products are rich in zinc? You will come across various answers on the internet, such as oysters, shellfish, and red meat. And these are good options for the people who consume them.
But in a country like India, exquisite items such as oysters and red meat do not form a part of our daily diet. I mean, think about it. Do you know any stores that sell oysters? Your answer is probably no.
Hence, it becomes challenging to find zinc-rich food items that you can add to your daily diet.
Oh! I’m sorry. Did I say it was difficult for you? Well, technically, no. Because we’ve already found them and listed them down for you.
Before we tell you the food items you should include in your diet, you should know why you should have them in the first place.
Why You Need Zinc?
Zinc is an essential component of cells throughout the body. It has several important uses that are listed below.
- It helps in the generation of protein and DNA in the body.
- It also helps in growth and development in the early stages of life.
- The abundance of zinc in your body can help heal wounds easily and quickly.
- It enables the immune system in fighting bacteria and viruses.
From the points mentioned above, you can gauge the importance of zinc in our bodies. An average adult man needs 11 gm of zinc daily. On the other hand, an average woman needs 8gm of zinc daily. If you’re pregnant, you need 11gm of zinc daily.
Now that you know why zinc is essential for you, it’s time to tell you where to find it.
Best Zinc Rich foods that You Should Include in Your Diet
You may have heard people talking about iron, calcium, and Vitamin D. But no one ever talks about zinc. You may have seen parents often saying, “Eat spinach. It contains iron. It is good for you.” But how many times have you seen them saying, “Eat mushrooms. They contain zinc. It is good for your immune system.”?
Surprisingly enough, no one in our daily lives highlights the importance of zinc. But we won’t make the same mistake.
You might have seen viral tik-tok videos of a man singing ‘Chicken Leg Piece’ while consuming bucket-loads of chicken leg. The chances are that this user, named Ulhas Kamathe, is probably running high on zinc more than any of us.
Jokes apart, the chicken leg is a fantastic source of zinc. On average, a single leg piece contains 5 mg of zinc, which means that for the average adult, mere two leg pieces can satisfy the daily requirement of zinc. Besides, it’s readily available, can be home-cooked, and tastes delicious. For us chicken lovers, this is like a win-win situation. Who cares about oysters anyway? Chicken tastes far better.
Cooked lentils, or daal, is a household dish in India. There are so many varieties of daal that you can practically eat them every day. And it still wouldn’t feel boring or repetitive. When it comes to zinc, a cup of daal can provide you with 3 mg of zinc. Do the math, and you will realize that a cup of daal can fulfill nearly 25% of your daily requirement.
Besides, what can make an Indian mom happier than seeing her child eat a whole serving of lentils? It’s a win-win situation yet again. So do yourself a favor, and include lentils in your daily diet. Get some zinc, and make both your body and your mom happy.
Yogurt is one of the best, light-weight, and readily available food items that can boost up the level of zinc in your body. The consumption of non-fat yogurt can add 2.38 mg of zinc to your body. In comparison, the consumption of low-fat yogurt can add around 2.2 mg of zinc to your body. These account for 22 percent and 20 percent of your daily value requirement of zinc, respectively.
Yogurt is a healthy thing to consume generally as well. It benefits digestive health and is rich in other nutrients. Add to that the rich levels of zinc that it adds to your body, and you get one of the most recommendable food items that you can add to your diet and give your body the zinc it needs.
Are you one of those people who make ugly faces when given milk to drink? If yes, then here’s a reason to stop doing that. What if we say that one glass of milk can do wonders to the zinc supply in your body?
Well, now you know why you should listen to your mom and have milk daily. It’s true. Not only is milk rich in calcium, but a full glass of milk can give you as much as 1.6 mg of zinc. With only a glass of milk, you can fulfill almost 16% of your daily zinc requirement. It is also one of the most easily digestible forms of zinc. And as a bonus, you’d make an average Indian mom happy once again.
Ghosh! This list looks like it was supposed to please only one category of people – Indian moms. I mean, have you ever seen someone eat oatmeal or ‘daliya’ by themselves? Why would they? Well, unless they needed an excellent source of zinc?
And speaking from statistics, it is a pretty good source of zinc. It can serve you with 2mg of zinc per serving. When it comes to your daily zinc requirement, this amount boils down to a substantial 20%. I mean, I get that it’s not the tastiest thing ever. But hey! The amount of zinc in this is totally worth it.
Chickpeas are more commonly known as ‘Kabuli Chane.’ And chances are, Chana Masala is already one of your favorite dishes. Well, if it is, all’s well and good. But if it isn’t, why don’t you give it a try for the high amounts of zinc it contains?
One serving of chickpeas can give you as much as 25% of your daily zinc requirement. It serves you 2.5 mg of zinc, along with an incredibly delicious taste. Hence, we recommend you to them to your diet for their taste as well as their nutrition.
Cashews (And other nuts)
Did you know that merely 28 grams of cashews can give you nearly 2 mg of zinc? That is even less than a handful. This means that a mere handful of cashews makes up for more than 15% of your daily zinc requirement.
Combine that with other seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and several others, and you can get A LOT of zinc for your body. A handful of almonds itself can give you nearly 10% of your daily zinc requirement.That’s a lot of zinc for a mere handful of a food item.
Do keep in mind not to consume nuts in large quantities. It’s unhealthy.
When it comes to mushrooms, it depends on our taste. Some of us like them. Others, ummmm, not so much. But one common reason to consume mushrooms is the amount of zinc they can add to our bodies. A cup of mushrooms can add approximately 2mg of zinc to your diet. They can account for 18% of your daily requirement.
They are low calory, low carbs, high protein food products that you can also cook in various ways. For example, consider cooking ‘mushroom tikka’ or ‘Hakka Mushrooms,’ which can satisfy both your taste and zinc requirements.
Green peas or ‘matar’ are often associated with being protein-rich. But not many people know that they are one of the highest vegetable sources of zinc as well. A cup of cooked green peas can provide you with 1.9 mg of zinc (17% of your daily requirement).
Here’s a fantastic fact – green peas are often cooked with mushrooms to make a dish commonly known as ‘matar-mushroom.’ The recipe is very famous in North and Central India and tastes incredibly delicious. Consider adding the recipe to your diet, and a single meal itself will give you more than 30% of your daily zinc requirement.
Your everyday breakfast cereals can give you more zinc in one go as compared to several different sources combined. Be it Kellogg’s or Ralston, breakfast cereals contain more zinc than your average daily requirement.
One serving of Ralston Bran Flakes can give you nearly 18.7 mg of zinc. Kellogg’s, on the other hand, can give you almost 15mg of zinc per serving. Combine that with milk, and you get nearly 150% of your daily zinc requirement. Amazing, right? A bowl of Kellogg’s a day will keep the oatmeal away.
Do keep in mind that cereals are also high in sugar and carbs. They can be healthy if you consume them in the right quantities. But do not overindulge.
How can I consume the various seeds and nuts in a tastier way?
While you can directly consume the nuts, we understand that the experience is rather unpleasant for seeds. Hence, you can always roast and grind the seeds and add the powder to the milk. This will make it easier for you to consume them.
How much cereal should I ideally consume per day?
You can safely consume a bowl of cereals daily. However, we recommend that you keep your sugar levels in check and indulge in exercise as well. This can help in the better absorption of the nutrients in your body.
With this, we conclude our list of the top 10 zinc-rich foods that you should include in your diet. We sincerely hope that you add these zinc-rich foods to your daily diet and add to your nutrition.
Whether you want to gain muscle sustainably, lose weight, or do both—Mirganshi is the person you reach out to! She has a B.Sc in Nutrition and Dietetics from Lovely Professional University (LPU) and certification from Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute (GGFI). She grew up and completed her schooling in Jaipur, Rajasthan back in the early 2000s. Currently, she helps hundreds of individuals in correcting their diets, lifestyle habits, and physical health.
She currently lives with her husband in Navi Mumbai, and they have been happily married since 2017. She is also a fitness freak herself and has completed several marathons like TATA Mumbai Marathon, Pinkathon, and more! In her free time, she likes to listen to music while writing her journal. Discipline is her best friend, and she ensures to impart this virtue in her clientele as well.
Due to her impeccable grip on body nutrition and well-being, Mirganshi understands precisely what is right for your body and recommends/reviews products she only truly has faith in. Mirganshi is also a champion for mental health advocacy and understands how keeping your brain fit and mind sane is an essential part of well-being.