Food With High Zinc And Iron

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Are you seeking to improve your health? Do you have any zinc or iron deficiency? Here we have listed the foods with high zinc and iron so that you can take them and boost your health.

If you are not eating foods with high levels of zinc and iron your body may not be able to produce enough testosterone and it is likely you will have hair loss and erectile dysfunction issues.

Foods High in Zinc

An important mineral your body requires is zinc. And because your body doesn’t produce zinc naturally, zinc must be obtained through the food you eat or via supplements. Zinc is part of important bodily systems, including cell division, immune function, wound healing, and more.

Many foods, including meats and seafood, contain good amounts of zinc, in addition to foods high in protein like beans and nuts. Whole grains and dairy products also contain zinc that can help you balance out your diet.

Why You Need Zinc

After iron, zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in the body. These two nutrients can often be found in the same food sources, and both are important to overall health and function.

In one day, an adult woman should consume 8 milligrams of zinc while an adult male should consume 11 milligrams. The National Institutes of Health considers 40 milligrams of zinc the maximum an adult should have in a day.

You should speak to a doctor before taking a zinc supplement. Zinc can decrease the effectiveness of some drugs such as antibiotics, Penicillamine (a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis), and Thiazide diuretics (blood pressure drugs). Additionally, oral zinc supplements can cause:

  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting  

Zinc is a vital nutrient and contributes to the following:

Enzyme Function

Zinc is essential so that over 300 enzymes can properly function in the body, and it plays a role in processes like digestion, metabolism, and nerve health. 

Child Growth and Cell Division

Zinc has also been found to contribute to improved growth and development in children and plays a crucial role in cell division.

Slowed Progression of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common condition among adults over 50 that causes blurred or reduced central vision. This is due to the thinning of the macula. Studies have shown that zinc might slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Healthy Skin

Zinc is a requirement for skin to function normally and to remain healthy. This is why products containing zinc have been used widely to treat skin conditions, including infections, acne, skin ulcers, and other skin disorders.

Treatment of a Cold

Research suggests that taking a zinc lozenge or syrup within 24 hours of cold symptoms starting can shorten the duration of a cold. However, intranasal zinc (zinc nasal spray) has been linked with the loss of smell which can be permanent.

Foods That Are High In Zinc To Add To Your Daily Diet

Plus, how plant-based eaters can get their fill.

Black Bean, Red Bean, Soy Bean

Unless you’re a die-hard nutrition buff or an expert in biochemistry, you likely only associate zinc with old-school sticks of sunscreen your mom made you use at the beach. But zinc is also an essential trace mineral—and since your body can’t produce or store it, you need to eat foods high in zinc on the reg.

Though you might not hear much about it as, say, vitamin C, zinc does a lot in your body.

In fact, the often-overlooked mineral is “important for your immune system, wound healing, and protein synthesis,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, a nutritionist in the New York City area. (It also helps maintain your sense of taste and smell, which you def don’t want to lose…)

Zinc’s immune benefits are so legit that it may lessen the duration and severity of the common cold, according to research published in 2015.

Here’s how the immunity magic happens: “Zinc contributes to the development of cells that are in charge of defending your body against toxins or threatening foreign substances,” Gorin says.

Luckily, you don’t need too much of the mineral. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), adult women need eight milligrams of zinc per day. (Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more.)

When you’re deficient in zinc, though, your immune system’s defenses pay the price and you’re more susceptible to illness, Gorin says.

Though most people don’t need to worry about zinc deficiency, certain groups—including people with digestive disorders and certain chronic illnesses, and pregnant and breastfeeding women—are at greater risk.

Vegetarians and vegans are also more likely to fall short on the mineral, since it’s harder to absorb the zinc found in plant-based foods than that in animal sources.

To reap the benefits, put the following foods—all good sources of zinc—on your plate often.

1Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds on a spoon

If you’re looking for a plant-based zinc source that’s super versatile and easy to add to countless meals, go with pumpkin seeds. An ounce contains not just 2.2 milligrams of zinc (28 percent of a woman’s recommended daily amount), but also a whopping 8.5 grams of plant-based protein. Plus, some evidence suggests that eating a diet rich in pumpkin seeds could lower your risk of some cancers.

Per 1-ounce serving: 158 calories, 13.9 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 2 mg sodium, 3 g carbs, 0.4 g sugar, 1.7 g fiber, 8.5 g protein

2Oats

oat flakes or rolled oats in wooden bowl

What’s not to like about oatmeal? It’s inexpensive, versatile, and endlessly cozy. Not only do oats contain soluble fiber, which has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease, but half a cup also contains 1.3 milligrams of zinc, which is 16 percent of a woman’s daily need. Consider it yet another reason to love the classic breakfast staple.

Per ½-cup (uncooked) serving: 148 calories, 2.8 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 1.2 mg sodium, 27 g carbs, 0.6 g sugar, 3.8 g fiber, 5.5 g protein

3Oysters

Opened oyster, close up

Per ounce, oysters have the highest zinc concentration of any food. Three ounces of raw oysters contain 32 milligrams of zinc, more than four times the recommended daily intake for the average gal.

Another perk: That same amount of oysters also contains over 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin B12, which is crucial for your nervous system, metabolism, and healthy blood cells.

Per 3-ounce serving: 50 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 4.5 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 151 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein

4Lean Beef

Sirloin Steak

Although experts (like the American Institute for Cancer Research) recommend limiting red meat consumption to no more than a few times a week, lean beef can still be a healthy part of your diet.

Opt for 95 percent lean ground beef or lean cuts (like sirloin) with the fat trimmed, and you’ll score 5.7 milligrams of zinc per four-ounce serving. (That’s a little over 70 percent of the recommended daily value.)

Per 4-ounce serving: 155 calories, 5.65 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 75 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 24 g protein

5Crab

Spiced Maryland Blue Crabs

Love hammering the meat out of whole boiled crabs? Or, do you prefer the ease (and delicious seasoning) of seared crab cakes?

Either way, three ounces of cooked crab meat contains up to 7 milligrams of zinc, about 88 percent of what women need in a day. While the exact amount of zinc you’ll get varies from species to species, all crabs are great sources of the mineral.

Per 3-ounce serving of Alaskan King crab: 82 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 911 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g fiber, 15 g protein

6Hemp Seeds

Bowl of hemp seeds

Looking for plant-based sources of zinc? Hemp seeds are your best bet. They’re loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, and a three-tablespoon serving contains 3 milligrams of zinc, which is 38 percent of the recommended daily amount for women.

Hemp seeds are also high in the amino acid arginine, which research suggests can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Try sprinkling them on your yogurt or salad to mix things up.

Per 3-tablespoon serving: 166 calories, 14.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 2 mg sodium, 2.5 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 9.5 g protein

The top foods high in zinc

Zinc is a nutrient that plays a vital role in immune system response, wound healing, synthesizing proteins and DNA, and many other bodily functions.

The human body does not store zinc, so a person has to get enough from their daily diet. They can also take supplements, if necessary.

In this article, learn about the benefits of zinc and which foods to eat to ensure adequate intake.

Foods high in zinc

A woman eating oysters which are among the Foods high in zinc
Oysters are one of the foods highest in zinc.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source recommend the following daily intake of zinc:

  • males aged 14 and older: 11 milligrams (mg)
  • females aged 14 and older: 9 mg
  • pregnant women: 11 mg
  • women who are lactating: 12 mg

It is well known that of all food types, oysters contain the most zinc per serving. However, most peopleTrusted Source get their zinc from poultry and red meat.

Food manufacturers may also fortify foods with zinc to help a person meet their daily requirements.

Examples of foods high in zinc includeTrusted Source:

  • oysters, 3 ounces (oz): 74 mg
  • beef patty, 3 oz: 5.3 mg
  • Alaska king crab, 3 oz: 6.5 mg
  • fortified breakfast cereal, 3/4 cup serving: 3.8 mg
  • cooked lobster, 3 oz: 3.4 mg
  • cooked pork chop loin, 3 oz: 2.9 mg
  • baked beans, 1/2 cup serving: 2.9 mg
  • dark meat chicken, 3 oz: 2.4 mg

Other zinc sources in a person’s diet include low fat yogurt, pumpkin seeds, milk, chickpeas, instant oatmeal, almonds, and Cheddar cheese.

These all contain around 1–2 mg of zinc per serving.

Zinc sources for vegans and vegetarians

a bucket of nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is a good source of zinc for vegans and vegetarians.

Without proper planning, vegan and vegetarian diets can result in deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, iodine, vitamin D, and zinc.

Examples of vegan and vegetarian friendly foods that are high in zinc include:

  • beans
  • nutritional yeast
  • nuts
  • oats
  • seeds
  • wheat germ

Vegetable based zinc sources are not as bioavailable as animal based sources, which means that the body does not absorb zinc from vegetarian sources as effectively.

According to 2017 researchTrusted Source, a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to consume 50% more zinc than people who regularly eat animal products.

This means that male vegans and vegetarians may need to eat about 16.5 mg of zinc each day, while females following these eating patterns should eat up to 12 mg per day.

If a person chooses to supplement their diet with zinc, they may wish to avoid taking it at the same time as supplements of calcium, copper, folic acid, iron, and magnesium. This is because these nutrients can affect how the body absorbs zinc.

What are the benefits of zinc?

Zinc plays a role in several bodily functions, including:

  • Growth: People require zinc for physical growth and development. Zinc deficiency can result in impaired growth in children and adolescents.
  • Immune system function: Our bodies use zinc to build immune system cells called T lymphocytes.
  • Enzyme function: Zinc plays a pivotal role in triggering chemical reactions in the body. These include helping the body use folic acid and creating new proteins and DNA.
  • Eye health: Zinc deficiency can contribute to the development of eye conditions, including macular degeneration.
  • Wound healing: Zinc helps promote healthy skin and mucous membranes, which boosts wound healing.

Zinc deficiency

a man getting stomach cramps on his sofa
Stomach cramps may be a sign of zinc toxicity.

According to the NIHTrusted Source, most children and adults consume enough zinc. Older adults, however, may not get the recommended intake.

Some of the symptoms associated with zinc deficiency include:

  • affected taste and smell
  • appetite loss
  • diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • impaired immune response
  • impotence
  • poor growth

Doctors do not have an easy blood test to determine if a person is zinc deficient. Instead, they will often consider the person’s symptoms and average dietary intakes when determining if they are zinc deficient.

Conversely, a person can also experience zinc toxicity from excess zinc supplementation. However, eating foods high in zinc — even in large amounts — does not usually cause symptoms.

Symptoms of zinc toxicity include:

  • appetite loss
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • stomach cramps
  • vomiting

Summary

Zinc is present in many natural foods, and many manufacturers add zinc to foods such as cereals.

Meat based products are usually higher in bioavailable zinc. If a person does not eat meat, they may need to make an effort to increase their zinc intake through eating beans, seeds, and oats, among other zinc-containing foods.

Although zinc deficiencies are rare in the United States, people should always speak to a doctor if they have concerns about their nutrient intake.

People can find zinc supplements at their local pharmacy or drugstore.

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