One of the essential minerals for the human body is zinc , because it helps the body to carry out a series of important metabolic functions. Fortunately, there are foods rich in zinc which can be easily ingested through the daily diet.

In the following article, we will talk about this important mineral from nature, what foods contain it, and its contribution to human health.

What is zinc?

Zinc is a mineral from nature and is present in all cells of the body. And how does this mineral get into food? Well, this mineral reaches food because the environment where they are raised or cultivated is rich in this mineral, therefore it is part of their daily diet, as is water, or iron, or copper, among other minerals.

You should know: Zinc can  help the immune system fight bacteria and viruses that invade the body, the body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA . During pregnancy, infancy and childhood, the body requires zinc to grow and develop properly, plus zinc promotes wound healing and the normal functioning of the sense of taste and smell.

The recommended daily amount of zinc varies according to age, sex and health condition, it ranges between 2 mg and 13 mg, but it must be taken into account that most of the products we consume contain this mineral, so an uncontrolled intake through supplements could cause neurological problems including numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.

What foods have zinc?

This mineral can be present as a nutrient in a wide variety of foods, which have their origin in the animal or plant kingdom. Here are the foods rich in zinc:

1. Oysters

Oysters are a type of mollusk from the sea. Oysters obtain zinc, as well as other minerals, from the consumption of trace elements present in seawater. 

Important: This mollusk also has omega 3 fatty acids , which help reduce the level of triglycerides and cholesterol, regulate the cardiovascular system.

In this sense, oysters represent a source of zinc, containing from 16 mg to 182 mg of zinc per 100 g. of edible portion, representing between 110% and 1200% of the recommended daily amount of zinc. (1)

Note: Zinc consumption favors the strengthening of the human immune system.

2. Egg

One of the benefits of eggs is that they represent another food source with an important contribution of zinc. This food obtains in its composition this mineral, from the feeding that the birds receive. 

To highlight: Zinc is considered a powerful antioxidant , with the ability to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. (two)

This food contains approximately 1.3 mg of zinc per 100 grams of edible portion. (3)

Note: If you do not suffer from cholesterol problems, you can consume between 6 and 7 eggs a week, otherwise, you should consult your doctor or nutritionist.

3. Red meat

Lean red meat is a good source of this mineral. Its zinc content comes from the diet that is supplied to cattle for food. 

Note: The consumption of 3 to 4 servings per week of lean red meat (100 to 125 grams each serving) is recommended.

In this sense, the contribution of zinc ranges between 2 and 5 mg depending on the cut per 100 g of edible portion. (4)

Important: Zinc deficiency can cause pathologies such as short stature , hypogonadism in men, skin disorders such as pustular dermatitis, alopecia, poor healing, impaired cognitive functions, among others. (5)

4. Clams

Clams are a source of zinc as food. This mollusk obtains this mineral in its nutritional composition, thanks to the consumption of nutrients from seawater . (6)

In this sense, the clam contains 1.3 mg of zinc for each serving of 100 grams of edible portion . (7)

You should know: The clam provides a significant amount of protein, an essential macronutrient for the absorption of zinc in the body . (8)

5. Liver

Another food of animal origin, with a significant contribution of zinc, is beef liver. The contribution of this mineral is approximately 32% of the recommended daily amount, for each 100-gram edible portion. (9)

The liver is an important source of animal protein , which is why it facilitates the absorption of zinc at the intestinal level.

To highlight: Phytate, a component in plants, is a potent inhibitor of zinc absorption. (10)

6. Crab

Another of the foods from the sea, belonging to the species of shellfish with an important contribution of zinc, is crab. The zinc intake of this species is approximately 25% of the recommended daily allowance for humans, for each edible portion of 100 grams. (eleven)

Important: If a prolonged intake of zinc occurs above the daily recommendations, it can cause discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, colic, diarrhea and headaches. (12)

7. Pumpkin seeds

In general, pumpkin seeds have been shown to have significant nutritional value, due to their protein content and essential fatty acids.

The zinc content is approximately 69% of the recommended intake, for each 100 g edible portion , representing one of the seeds with the highest contribution of this mineral. 

To highlight: According to studies, the consumption of zinc strengthens the protective activity of the immune system against the terrible disease of COVID 19. (13)

8. Wheat germ

The wheat seed has two main components: the shell, which is where the wheat bran is obtained, and the wheat germ , which constitutes the internal part of this seed. 

The husk is rich in fiber and contains phytates, inhibitors of zinc absorption, while the rest of the wheat nutrients, including zinc, are found in the germ. Its contribution of this mineral is 82% of the recommended daily value for an average adult, per 100 grams

Note: It is advisable to consume zinc from foods from animal sources, because its protein content favors the absorption of this mineral through the intestines.

9. Oats

Oats are a cereal that contains two structural components: the internal part of the grain from which the oat flakes are obtained and is the place where most of the micronutrients of this seed are found, including zinc, and the external part from which it is obtained. the saved.

To highlight: It has been previously mentioned that phytates, a compound present in vegetables, is a strong inhibitor of zinc absorption, but in the case of this cereal grain, this compound is found in the outer part or shell.

Consequently, the adequate consumption of zinc through this seed must be done in the intake of its flakes or popularly described as oat flakes. 

Note: The contribution of zinc from oat flakes is 4.5 mg per 100 grams of edible portion.

10. Chicken

The contribution of zinc from chicken is discreet, since it is around the amount of 1 mg per 100 grams of edible portion, however chicken meat is very rich in protein, an essential macronutrient for the absorption of zinc in the body. 

Note: Because of this, it is important to consume meats with a high protein value such as chicken, when the sources of zinc come mainly from vegetables.

11. Almonds

Almond seeds are nuts that also provide this important mineral. Its zinc content is 1.7 mg per 100-gram serving of edible portion.

Despite being a food that contains phytates, there are some techniques to reduce the inhibitory effect on zinc absorption . Because of this, it is recommended to gently soak or roast this nut before consuming it to degrade this antioxidant and facilitate the absorption of zinc.

12. Dark chocolate

This food provides 22% of the total recommended daily intake of zinc, considering that it contains between 70% and 85% of pure cocoa . 

Note: Dark chocolate is a very popular food among the population and is easily accessible, so the consumption and obtaining of zinc should not represent restrictions.

Key Findings

  • Foods that contain zinc are beneficial for the body’s health, since they are involved in numerous metabolic processes.
  • The zinc content in these foods enhances the functions of the immune system. 
  • Zinc consumption prevents diseases of the cardiovascular system and the deterioration of cognitive functions. 
  • Foods that provide zinc help the body in wound healing processes. 

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