Food With Iron And Zinc

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Food With Iron And Zinc. Iron and zinc are two minerals commonly found in food. Both are important nutrients for a healthy body. Iron and zinc interact together to allow your body to maintain a healthy metabolism, heredity, immune system, vision, and brain function, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website. Both of these minerals can be obtained from food sources.

Food With Iron And Zinc

Top 12 Foods with Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral found throughout the body that is necessary for our immune system’s function, cell growth and division, wound healing, and our senses of taste and smell. Zinc is needed in over 300 enzyme functions in the body, and yet the body doesn’t store zinc as a reserve. Instead, zinc is used as needed to metabolize nutrients, and so we need to get a regular supply of it via our food or dietary supplement. For men this means 11 milligrams of zinc per day, and for women, it’s 8 milligrams unless they are pregnant or breastfeeding, when the requirement jumps up to 12 milligrams per day. This article will explore the symptoms and consequences of zinc deficiency, plus arm you with a list of the top 12 foods with zinc, so you’ll never have to go without this important nutrient.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency and Those at Risk

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you might be more prone to zinc deficiency due to a lack of meat in your diet. Likewise those with digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis may develop a deficiency due to poor absorption rates. Those with certain cancers, alcohol addiction, or diabetes are also at a higher risk. Breastfeeding and pregnant women, the elderly, as well as children and teens run the risk of becoming zinc deficient more easily. What follows next is a list of symptoms, so you can better recognize the signs of zinc deficiency.

  • Slowed growth
  • Poor immune functioning
  • Appetite loss
  • Hair loss
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Compromised night vision
  • White spots on nails
  • A funny-tasting sensation
  • Lethargy
  • Fine tremors (unintentional muscle movements)

A moderate deficiency can be fixed with dietary changes. A severe deficiency may require zinc supplements and advice from a medical professional on how to best restore zinc levels.

The Top 12 Foods with Zinc

If you’re looking for foods high in zinc, look no further than the following list of top 12 zinc-rich foods.

The top 12 foods with zinc.

1. Legumes

Legumes include lentils, beans, and chickpeas, and are some of the best foods around for those who don’t eat meat to gain plant sources of protein and zinc. In 100 grams of lentils for example, you can get 12% of the daily recommended intake of zinc (for a man or pregnant/nursing woman).

Animal sources of zinc are better absorbed due to the fact that legumes also contain phytates, which can inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals. Regardless, legumes are an excellent source of fiber and protein that can be easily included in stews, salads, and soups—an easy and beneficial addition.

Bioavailability can also be increased with sprouting, fermenting, and soaking plant sources of zinc, which is great news for those seeking foods with zinc for vegan diets.

2. Meat

Meat is a strong source of zinc, especially red meat. Lamb, pork, bison, and beef are foods with high zinc and iron content, plus creatine and B vitamins. For zinc, raw ground beef contains 4.8 milligrams of zinc, 43% of a man’s RDI.

Though not everyone will want to eat large amounts of red meat due to its association with heart disease, it can still nevertheless be included moderately in a balanced diet to gain the positives without risking much in negative effects.

3. Seeds

Squash seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds: all of these seeds help increase your zinc intake. They can be easily added to other foods like yogurts and salads, or enjoyed on their own as snacks in trail mixes or granola bars.

Some seeds contain more zinc than others. Hemp seeds in particular have 31% of a man’s RDI in just 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of seeds. That being said, sesame, squash, and pumpkin seeds each have significant amounts of zinc, as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Including more seeds in your diet can help to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol, so they’re a fantastic resource for your health.

4. Shellfish

Shellfish like oysters and shrimp are low-calorie, healthy sources of zinc. Just six medium oysters can provide 32 milligrams of zinc, 290% of a man’s recommended daily intake. This category includes Alaskan crab, clams, scallops, mussels, and lobster.

It’s recommended that you cook shellfish thoroughly to avoid food poisoning, and also that you use a wet heat method of cooking like steaming, boiling, poaching, or braising instead of dry heat methods like grilling, broiling, sautéing, roasting, or baking, as those tend to reduce the zinc levels in shellfish.

5. Eggs

Eggs have about 5% of a man’s RDI per large whole egg, and they also bring 5 grams of healthy fats, 6 grams of protein, and vitamins and minerals. One of the foods with high zinc and selenium content, eggs also have an assortment of B vitamins and choline, which is important for many of the steps in our metabolism, and a nutrient that most of us do not get enough of from our diets.

6. Nuts

Cashews, almonds, peanuts (yes, we know technically they’re legumes but we’re eating them like nuts!), pine nuts, and more: all of these nuts can boost your zinc intake, as well as provide healthy fats, fiber, and a dazzling array of other vitamins and nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin E, and folate.

Nuts are foods with zinc and magnesium, and among the nuts, your best source of zinc are cashews, with about 14% of a man’s RDI amount in a 1-ounce serving. Convenient, hearth healthy, and excellent for reducing the risk factors of diabetes, nuts have also been associated with greater longevity.

7. Certain Vegetables

Though vegetables and plant foods tend to be poorer sources of zinc than animal products, it’s nevertheless possible to get zinc from certain vegetables. For those who don’t eat meat, both sweet and regular potatoes have about 1 gram of zinc per large spud, 9% of a man’s daily recommended. Green veggies like green beans and kale contribute a small portion of zinc as well, about 3% of the RDI per 100 grams. While they may not contain a lot of zinc, greens like kale do contain chart-topping portions of vitamin K and vitamin A, and a vegetable-rich diet is associated with risk reduction for conditions like heart disease and cancer.

8. Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk and cheese have high amounts of particularly bioavailable zinc, meaning it’s more easily absorbed by your body. Just 100 grams of cheddar cheese has around 28% of a man’s RDI of zinc, and 1 cup of full-fat milk has about 9%. With calcium for bone health, vitamin D, and protein, dairy products are good sources of zinc, especially for any lacto-vegetarians.

9. Certain Fruits

Zinc-rich fruits include avocados, blackberries, pomegranate, raspberries, guava, cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, kiwifruit, and blueberries. With healthy fats in avocados and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of berries, though they don’t have very much zinc content compared to animal sources, these fruits are nevertheless more food sources that can help keep your body plentiful with zinc.

10. Whole Grains

Wheat, rice, oats, and quinoa each contain some zinc, though like the legumes listed above, they also contain phytates that can bind with zinc and inhibit its absorption. Whole grains contain more phytates than refined grains do, but they are still better for your health overall, as they also contain nutrients like B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, iron, and valuable fiber. Eating whole grains is associated with a reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, and so very much worth including in your diet for the other health benefits they bring.

11. Dark Chocolate

Among the foods with zinc and copper, dark chocolate has pretty fair amounts of zinc, about 30% of a man’s daily recommended intake with 3.3 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams. The only issue, of course, is that 100 grams of dark chocolate means 600 calories worth of food, so though dark chocolate has valuable nutrient content, it’s still a food that is best eaten in moderation, and not thought of as a main source of zinc.

12. Fortified Breakfast Cereals

Fortified breakfast cereals are a good source of zinc because they’re designed to make up the difference in specific vitamins and nutrients we’re often lacking in our diets. Great for growing children and adults, certain breakfast cereals will not only provide you with the benefits of zinc, but also with calcium, dietary fiber, and a cavalcade of vitamins.

From A to Zinc

Good sources of zinc like meat, nuts, seafood, dairy, and legumes are great to have as staples in your diet. The foods containing only marginal amounts of this essential mineral are still important too, as they round out your diet in a balanced fashion. Now you know that foods containing zinc are as diverse as they come, from just about every building block on the food pyramid. With their help, you could get regular amounts of zinc every day, and hardly notice the effort!

Joining zinc as a critical nutrient you may not be getting enough of are essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. If you are looking to fortify your health with supplemental support, we highly encourage you to add a daily essential amino acid supplement to your regimen.

The 9 Best Foods High In Zinc for Immune Support

When most people focus on eating well, they focus on the overall diet and large macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates. However, depending on the foods you gravitate toward and how varied your diet is, it’s still quite possible to have deficiencies in certain micronutrients—the key vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health and function—such as zinc.

Zinc deficiencies are particularly common in vegans and vegetarians, but many people would benefit from increasing their dietary intake of this immune-supportive mineral. As an essential mineral, zinc must be consumed through the diet because the body cannot manufacture it endogenously. Moreover, zinc is a necessary component of over 300 enzymes in the body. It is heavily involved in immune support, wound healing, building DNA and biological proteins, smell, taste, and fertility. Foods high in zinc, such as oysters, are also great foods to help prevent hair loss, as zinc plays a key role in protein production and hair follicle cell differentiation.

As winter months approach and the need to bolster your immune system defenses against every passing cold and virus becomes all the more important, try working the following foods highest in zinc into your diet.

Oysters

A serving of oysters

Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc. The daily value (DV) of zinc—the recommended intake—is 11 mg. A serving of six oysters contains 52 mg or 472% of this amount. It is uncommon to have a chronically excessive intake of zinc, though if you are experiencing headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, and tend to eat a lot of foods high in zinc, you may want to reduce your intake or consult your physician. Other shellfish also provide a lot of zinc. Examples include crab, lobster, and clams.

Meat and Poultry

Meat and poultry served on a chopping board.

Meat and poultry are some of the best dietary sources of zinc. For example, a 5-ounce portion of chuck steak contains 15 mg (140% DV) of zinc and a roasted thigh and leg of chicken contains 5 mg. Lean pork chops are another good option for omnivores, as each 6-ounce pork chop contains 4 mg (36% DV) of zinc.

Tofu

A bowl of tofu.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, consider tofu. One cup of tofu provides 4 mg (36% DV) of zinc. Other soy products like edamame, tempeh, and the fermented Japanese favorite, natto, are also great dietary sources of zinc.

Lentils

Three bowls of lentils coming in different colors.

Legume lovers rejoice—lentils are packed with zinc, with 3 mg (26% DV) in each cup of cooked lentils. Whether you try making a hearty lentil soup for chilly weather or whip up vegan burgers with lentils, this nutritious legume can easily take on a variety of flavors and textures to suit your palate and dietary preferences. Other legumes like garbanzo beans, navy beans, black-eyed peas, and black beans also contain a lot of zinc.

Oatmeal

A bowl and scoop of oats.

Start your morning during chilly winter months with a bowl of nourishing oatmeal. You’ll get 2 mg of zinc per cup along with nutrients like iron, B vitamins, and fiber. You can even sprinkle on hemp seeds for an added boost of zinc.

Yogurt

Two spoons and two jars of yogurt.

If you’re a fan of dairy, you can get 2 mg of zinc in your favorite cup of low-fat yogurt. Yogurt also provides gut-friendly probiotics, which aid digestion and support immunity. While yogurt is the best dairy source of zinc, milk and cheese also provide zinc. If you have trouble falling asleep, try having a bedtime snack of yogurt and berries or warm milk. In addition to zinc, calcium, protein, and other nutrients, dairy products like yogurt and milk also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep.

Seeds

Assortment of seeds on a rustic wood table.

In addition to providing healthy fats, several types of seeds also contain zinc. Hemp seeds top the list, with one ounce providing 3 mg. Try adding hemp seeds to yogurt or salads. They also provide all nine essential amino acids and lots of fiber. Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds provide 2 mg of zinc per ounce. Other good options are chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Wheat Germ

A serving of germinated wheat spilled on a table.

We don’t often think of adding wheat germ to the diet, but this nutrient-packed flaked portion of the wheat grain is actually pleasantly nutty. One ounce of toasted wheat germ provides 5 mg of zinc, which is an impressive 43% of the recommended daily value. Wheat germ also has healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, B vitamins, and other minerals. Add it to granola, oatmeal, pasta sauces, breading for meat, salads, homemade protein balls, and even smoothies.

Mushrooms

A serving of assorted mushrooms.

While most vegetables aren’t particularly high in zinc, mushrooms (which are technically fungi) do contain a decent amount of this essential mineral. Shiitake mushrooms are the best option, with each cup providing 2 mg (22% DV). White button mushrooms contain about half that amount but are still a good option due to their availability, versatility, and low price point.

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