Food with High Zinc : In this article we will look at the different Food items that contain zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral involved in many body processes; it is necessary for cell division and growth.. In the modern world, people attempt to achieve physical fitness by eating the right amount of foods with zinc. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that helps support immune system health and aids in healing.
The importance of zinc for babies
Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for many of the body’s functions and especially necessary for a healthy, functioning immune system. Our bodies do not store zinc, which is why it’s vital to eat a diet full of zinc rich foods. Luckily, we only need small amounts of this mineral every day to make a huge difference in our body’s natural ability to fight off pathogens and abnormal cells, metabolise nutrients, and optimise cell division (which is so important for our babies and kids!)
Zinc deficiency is particularly common in pregnant and lactating women, so the recommended daily dosage of the trace mineral is higher for expectant and new mothers. Breast milk provides proficient levels of zinc for infants and aids in their growth and development, however, babies 7-12 months require supplementation of the mineral through diet.
Babies from 7 months to 3 years of age require 3mg of zinc per day, from their diet.
Although plants may contain zinc, animal proteins are more bioavailable, which means that the body absorbs more of it, and easily! This is due to the presence of amino acids that improve absorption in the gut. Vegans and vegetarians need up to 50% more zinc in their diets because plants contain high levels of phytates, which inhibit zinc absorption. But don’t worry, veggos! You can optimise your absorption of zinc from plant based foods with methods like fermenting, sprouting, soaking and heating your produce.
Foods that are Rich in Zinc
Such as lamb, Grass-fed beef, Kangaroo
Just one serve of red meat contains up to 45% of the total recommended daily intake of zinc, and are also high in bioavailable iron, vitamin B and aminos.
Meat is a really easy way to get zinc into your baby’s diet, because you can put it in their sauces, give them meatballs, or even give them lamb straight off the bone. The possibilities are endless with meat for babies.
Such as crab and prawns
Shellfish are considered one of the top allergens for babies, so it’s best to start small and slowly increase the intake. Stick with crab and prawns, as mussels and oysters are far too slippery for a baby!
Such as hemp Seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
These seeds also contain fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that are essential to a balanced diet. Fibre will also help the gut to function optimally, leading to all round better absorption of nutrients.
When giving your baby seeds, it’s best to blend them into a meal. Such as when making a banana bread, or a muffin, or even a green smoothie! It’s very quick and easy to add some extra seeds, and having them on a rotation means your baby is getting nutrients from a wide range of sources.
Such as chickpeas, lentils, beans
Legumes are high in phytic acid, which inhibits zinc absorption, but with the right cooking methods they are still great sources of zinc and many other proteins and carbohydrates that are important for overall wellness.
When giving these to your baby, you could slow cook them, add them to a pasta sauce, or even pressure cook them. Slower cooking processes reduce the phytic acid in them which can irritate your baby’s immature gut.
Such as cashews and almonds.
Nuts are linked to longevity, contain lots of healthy fats, fibre and minerals that support healthy brain function. Cashews have a particularly good copper to zinc ratio which helps these minerals stay in balance in the body.
It’s best to introduce nuts to your baby in the form of nut flour. Whole nuts tend to be a choking hazard – they are so small and hard, that they easily can get inhaled into the airways. Try almond meal instead of flour in your next baked good!
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Eggs & Poultry
Although eggs don’t contain high levels of zinc, they still provide up to 5% of your recommended daily intake and they contain choline which is another mineral that we are often deficient in. Chicken provides up to 7% but it also contains plenty of B vitamins that help maintain mood, energy and skin health.
This is one of the reasons I love chicken bone broth so much! As your baby gets older, you can leave the chicken in, and blend it to make chicken soup. Add some vegetables and voula! Nutrient-dense, yummy meal for the whole family.
Such as ricotta Cheese, yoghurt and kefir.
Dairy products can contain high levels of bioavailable zinc, and ricotta is a healthier choice when it comes to cheeses, containing less saturated fat and sodium. Yoghurt and Kefir are cultured so they are live, probiotic foods that promote better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
While I personally don’t eat dairy (nor do my children), if you can tolerate it well, it has a good source of zinc and healthy fats. Giving your baby dairy directly from around 10 months is recommended, though you can give in baked goods before that.
Such as spinach, avocado, mushrooms, potato and sweet potato
These vegetables are all packed with nutrients, including zinc. It’s best to include as many vegetables into your diet as possible to help your body function and fight off disease.
You can pretty much give your baby ANY vegetable, as long as you prepare it safely for them! Be sure to consider how they can move it around their mouth, if it is a choking risk, and if they might prefer it in hand-held sizes or more of a slow cooked / puree meal.
Health Benefits of Zinc for Babies
Zinc Deficiency depresses immune function and can make you more susceptible to pathogens that cause illness, like the common cold or pneumonia. Zinc activates and develops T-lymphocytes, or T-cells that are imperative for our immune system to function optimally. If you have the common cold, taking a zinc supplement may help to decrease the longevity and severity.
Zinc works as a powerful antioxidant which fights oxidative stress and decreases your chances of developing a number of diseases. Zinc also helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucosal membranes and promotes skin and wound healing, and on top of that, it maintains cells within the cardiovascular system whilst also lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.
The more your toxic burden, the more zinc you need. And the lower the zinc during your pregnancy, the more your baby will need. So while recommended daily doses are great at keeping your zinc needs at a minimum, if the body utilises processes such as detoxification, it might actually need more zinc than what is recommended as a daily dose.
Zinc has many influences on the endocrine system including the production and regulation of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone which supports reproductive health. Zinc also plays a major role in managing thyroid hormone receptors in the hypothalamus which is needed to avoid hypothyroidism, and balances the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Let’s get our little people having health hormones, from the beginning, with nutrition!
Our babies need zinc to grow their little muscles! Zinc is necessary for the cell growth and cell division required to maintain strength in muscles. Think about all those movement patterns our babies are learning, and how they would benefit from having enough zinc.
Zinc aids in the absorption of amino acids and other nutrients. It also helps to break down carbohydrates to easily convert them into energy. Zinc also produces digestive enzymes and is able to modify the junctions of the intestinal lining which helps to limit gut permeability. We want our babies to have healthy digestive systems, and having sufficient zinc improves our chances.
Overall Benefits of Zinc in your Baby’s Diet
Zinc is an essential mineral for the overall health of our body. Whilst zinc deficiency is common and quite harmful to many of our systems, it’s available from all kinds of natural and readily available sources. Most bioavailable zinc comes from animal products, but there are ways around this for a vegan or vegetarian diet, and you can always supplement under the recommendation of a healthcare professional if you think you aren’t getting enough through your diet.
10 Zinc-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
Zinc is one of the buzziest minerals at the moment, as people prioritize immune health and overall wellness. The trace element is vital for optimal human health and supports many of the body’s processes. Plus, its immune boosting potential is unparalleled. Below, nutrition experts explain everything you need to know about Zinc.
- Serena Poon is a celebrity chef, nutritionist, reiki master and founder of Culinary Alchemy techniques and Just Add Water.
- Lisa Richards is a Nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet.
Why Is Consuming Zinc Important?
Richards underscores the importance of this essential nutrient to overall health. “The body requires zinc for both cellular health and immune function,” she says. “Therefore, a deficiency of this mineral can lead to poor immune health, poor wound healing, unexpected weight loss, loss of smell and taste, and gastrointestinal distresses like diarrhea.” She also notes that zinc has had a proven role as an anti-inflammatory. “Zinc’s anti-inflammatory property directly impacts overall well-being by reducing oxidative stress. This damage occurs at the cellular level in the body and is connected with chronic diseases including heart disease and obesity. It is thought that zinc may also be connected to improvements in cognitive function and reduces the occurrence of age-related macular degeneration.”
Richards also likes zinc for its complexion boosting properties. “Zinc has been used to treat acne and reduce inflammation internally and externally. Decreasing inflammation can benefit the skin by reducing the severity of acne if it does persist.” Talk about a powerful mineral!
The catch: “Zinc supports health in many ways, but our bodies do not create this trace element, so we must consume zinc from other sources,” says Poon.
How Much Zinc Do You Actually Need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the recommended daily values for zinc consumption are 11 mg for males and 8 mg for females. Poon points out, “the recommendations are much lower for children. There are special considerations for pregnant or lactating women, speak with your doctor or nutritionist to determine the right amount of zinc for you.”
How to Consume Zinc Safely
When adding an essential mineral to your diet, you also have to consider absorption rates. Zinc absorption is affected by many factors. “First, protein supports zinc absorption, so it is a good idea to eat zinc along with this macronutrient,” explains Poon. She goes on to say that zinc absorption can also be inhibited by phytates, a compound present in many legumes, nuts and seeds. “It can be helpful to soak or sprout or cook these foods to support better absorption. Eating garlic and onion with your zinc containing plant foods can increase their absorption. If you are a vegetarian, you may want to speak with your provider about increasing your zinc consumption.”
Additionally, be aware of how zinc pairs with other foods or supplements, as this will affect absorption rates. “Iron will reduce the amount of zinc that is absorbed,” explains Richards. “It is best to time those two supplements separately, especially if you are trying to ensure adequate zinc intake.”
Diet is an ideal way to meet zinc requirements, as many foods rich in zinc happen to be amazing for overall wellness. Plus, it’s better to meet your daily recommended doses of zinc through diet because supplements can prove tricky. “There are known contraindications for zinc supplements,” explains Poon. “Additionally, zinc can be toxic if consumed in too large of doses.”
She makes the following recommendation if you have to take zinc in supplement form. “Zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, and zinc monomethionine are considered the most easy to absorb.” And, of course, consider the source of your supplement—making sure it comes from a trusted source. Poon suggests checking with a doctor before starting supplements, especially if you have a health condition.
To increase your zinc intake, our experts recommend you can incorporate the following 10 foods into your diet. Ahead, find serving suggestions for zinc-rich foods to eat daily.
3 medium oysters contain about 21.7mg of zinc.
2 ounces of pumpkin seeds contain about 4.2 mg of zinc.
2 ounces of cashews contain about 3.4mg of zinc.
½ cup of baked beans contains about 1.75 mg of zinc.
1 ounce of chocolate contains about .9mg of zinc.
1 serving of fortified oats includes about 1mg of zinc.
3 ounces of cooked beef contains about 6.7 mg of zinc.
3 ounces of cooked crab contains about 3.6 mg of zinc.
½ cup of chickpeas contains about 1.25 mg of zinc.
1 ounce of chicken liver contains about 1.1 mg of zinc.