Tuesday, 24 January 2012

What Are The Best Zinc Rich Foods?

Do you know how much zinc that you should be ingesting every day to keep yourself healthy? These days there are so many different vitamin and mineral supplements out there on the market that it can make your head spin!   But is taking supplements always the best way to get the essential nutrients that we need to keep our bodies fit and healthy?   Wouldn’t it be better to get all the minerals and vitamins that we need from our diets?  All the experts say that a health supplement is no substitute for a healthy, balanced diet and that we cannot expect to reach our optimum health and fitness if we continually eat rubbish and then just pop a few vitamin pills. We need to eat every day to provide our bodies with fuel and nutrients, so wouldn’t it be better if we made sure that we ate the foods that were the richest sources of the minerals and vitamins that we need?

Pacific Oysters

So let us take zinc as an example.  Zinc is an essential mineral that our bodies need on a daily basis and the recommended dietary allowance or RDA is currently around 8mg for an adult woman and 11mg for an adult male.  So why do we need to include zinc in our diets? 

  • Helps boost the immune system
  • Vital for creating protein, new cells and DNA in the body
  • Aids digestion
  • Help to control diabetes and balance blood sugar levels
  • Helps balance metabolic rate
  • Helps you to retain a good sense of taste and smell
  • Eases stress
  • Helps wounds to heal faster

Not getting enough zinc in your diet can lead to some unpleasant symptoms and conditions such as hair loss, skin problems, a lowering of your immune system that can leads to infections such as colds and flu, diarrhoea, poor growth and lack of appetite.  But it is also important to realise that taking too much zinc can also be bad for you as having too much of this mineral in your diet can lead to the other minerals copper and iron being poorly absorbed into your body, which can eventually cause conditions such as anaemia and weakening of the bones.  So if you are a health supplement enthusiast, it is always a good idea to check what is in all the different things that you are taking so that you do not dangerously exceed the RDA of any one mineral or vitamin.

So if you want to make sure that you are including some zincrich foods into your diet then what do you need to eat?


Shellfish are an excellent source of zinc, and oysters are one of the best as they contain more of this essential mineral per serving than any other type of food.  They are also a good source of protein and supposedly an aphrodisiac. Lobster and crab are also excellent sources

Red Meat

Red meat is also a good source of the mineral, with good quality beef steak being one of the best.  Calf’s liver is also a great provider of zinc in the diet.  When you are choosing red meat, try and get it as lean as possible and trim off any excess fat before you cook it. Lamb is also a good dietary source.
Seeds and Nuts

Many seeds and nuts are also an excellent source of zinc, so snack on some cashews, almonds, roasted pumpkin and squash seeds, sesame seeds or peanuts instead of your usual biscuits and sweets to get some great health benefits.

Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products are a great source of zinc, so again why not think of snacking on yoghurt and cheese?  Organic milk is the best, as you will not be introducing so many chemicals into your body as the cows will have been raised on pastures and feed free from chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

Pulses and Beans

Chick peas, kidney beans and garden peas are all bursting with zinc as well as other nutrients, so why not put together a seafood and bean salad for a really healthy lunch or dinner?

Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder

You are probably glad to see one ‘naughty’ food on the list after all those super healthy ones aren’t you?  But eating a few squares of good quality dark chocolate a day is also good for your heart, so is an indulgence that is actually beneficial for you.

Now you may be thinking that all these zinc rich foods also all sound like quite expensive foods, but buying the best quality, organic food that you can afford is an investment in yourself and your family that you will never regret.  Your health is one of the most precious things that you have, so why not improve and maintain it every way that you can through your diet.  Eating junk food and sugary snacks also costs quite a bit of money, and can also cost your health dearly leading to serious conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  So ensure that you get enough zinc into your body through eating the right foods today, and give yourself the very best chance of a healthy, happy future.

Pacific Oysters image Guido Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic

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