When it comes to dietary minerals zinc might not have the same recognition factor as calcium, iron or potassium, but it is still a vitally important mineral that can have health repercussions for those who don’t get enough through diet or supplements. It plays a role in skin health, in immune function, and can even have an effect on the male reproductive system as motility of sperm can be affected in those who have severe depletion of zinc. Even stranger reactions are possible, including the loss of both one’s sense of taste and appetite! Needless to say, for those experiencing any of these symptoms ensuring you are getting enough zinc in your diet is of paramount importance. Here are ten quality food sources of zinc:
1 – Oysters
These pearl-bearing shellfish are absolute powerhouses when it comes to zinc-density. Long regarded as an aphrodisiac, oysters are absolutely chock-full of zinc. While they might not be to your taste you might want to plug your nose and choke one down. Even a tiny serving can provide you with your total recommended daily value.
2 – Beef
Well, you shouldn’t have to plug your nose to get this tasty food down. A nice hunk of sirloin steak or a juicy burger will give you a good dose of zinc. Though not as dense as the humble oyster a good dose of lean beef should give you all the zinc you need for a given day.
3 – Lamb
Much like beef, lamb is another tasty alternative to get your daily zinc allotment. Try some lamb chops or rack of lamb with mint jelly. Yum!
4 – Pumpkin Seeds
Another good source of zinc is the pumpkin seed. Most of us simply scoop these into the garbage when we’re carving our Halloween pumpkin. Instead, harvest that bounty. Roast them in the oven and you’ve got a tasty, extremely nutritious snack that will give you a decent boost of zinc as well.
5 – Cocoa Powder
Okay, now we’re talking! Of course, I’m not suggesting you start eating cocoa powder by the tablespoon, but if you want a tasty, decadent way to get your zinc then a little dark chocolate will do the trick. If you want to avoid those extra calories try scooping that spoonful of cocoa into your breakfast smoothie.
6 – Spinach
Seriously, is there anything this leafy green superfood doesn’t do for you? If you aren’t already incorporating Popeye’s favorite food into your diet then you should definitely start. In salad, cooked as a side, or blended into a smoothie spinach is a nutritional powerhouse that will not only provide you with zinc, but has numerous other health benefits as well.
7 – Nuts
One of the most nutrient dense foods in the plant kingdom, nuts such as cashews, pecans, walnuts and almonds are all great sources of zinc. Be careful with these bad boys though. They are extremely high calorie. Enjoy no more than a small handful daily unless you are a high performance athlete burning calories by the thousands.
8 – Shitake Mushrooms
It is really amazing that so many people suffer from zinc deficiency considering the wide array of foods that provide it. Shitake mushrooms are yet another food high in zinc. Of course the shitake isn’t your only choice of these tender, tasty fungi. Good old white mushrooms, brown mushrooms or portabellas all contain decent amounts of the mineral.
9 – Pork
While it might not have the same amount of zinc as beef or lamb, pork is another good source and a nice alternative if you are craving some nice roast pig. Don’t eat pork, beef or lamb? Try chicken. It is no slouch either.
10 – Beans
Much like spinach, beans are an all-around nutritional powerhouse that should be part of anyone’s diet, regardless of their zinc levels. Baked beans, chickpeas and kidney beans will all provide you with a good dose of zinc while also giving you the added benefits of protein and plenty of fiber to keep the old digestive track working as it should.
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