The 7 Best Sources of Zinc – Food, Supplements

Did you know that zinc, a trace element, is pivotal for a strong and healthy immunity, no matter your BMI? [1]

And, when you’re not getting it in sufficient amounts and from the right sources, the low levels of it can expose you to illnesses.

Zinc plays a role in multiple bodily functions and it also stimulates the activity of more than 100 enzymes. Also, it participates in the DNA synthesis, the promotion of growth in childhood, and the wound healing processes. [2]

Our guide will teach you the following things:

  • The best source of zinc
  • How to meet your RDA of zinc
  • Why zinc matters for our overall health

The good thing is that only a small consumption of it is needed so that you can benefit from it.

The RDA is 8 mg per day for ladies and 11 mg per day for men. The best sources we can acquire this nutrient from are foods; however, it’s also available in supplement for.

Supplements are usually recommended to prevent a deficiency, to treat low levels of zinc or in case of a diagnosed condition. [3] Knowing how pivotal zinc is to ensure we stay healthy and happy, we need to meet our daily needs.

This is why we’re going to present the best zinc foods and supplements below.

The Best Sources of Zinc: Foods & Supplements

1. Meat

Meat is among the best sources of zinc, especially the red one. [4] Still, it’s also present in other types of meat like pork, lamb, and beef.

A 100 gram portion of raw ground beef provides you with 4.8 mg of zinc or 44 percent of the daily value.

  • Meat is rich in zinc
  • Meat is a source of other nutrients too
  • Leaner meat is recommendable for weight loss

Meat also provides you with calories, protein, and fat, as well as B vitamins, iron, and creatine.

However, take into account that eating excessive amounts of red meat, especially the processed one, is linked with some diseases like cancer and cardiovascular problems. [4]

Still, if you keep it to minimum and opt for the unprocessed meat alongside a diet rich in veggies, fiber, and fruits, there’s probably not much to worry about.

In some cases, leaner meats can be of aid if you have a higher BMI and are trying to lose weight and gain muscle.

 2. Legumes

Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are abundant in zinc. [5] A 100-gram portion of cooked lentils will give you 12 percent of the DV.

But, they also have phytates which impede the absorption of zinc and other minerals so the zinc from them is not absorbed as much as the one from animal sources.

  • Legumes are a healthy source of zinc
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  • Beneficial for weight loss

Still, they remain a pivotal zinc source for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet and will also boost your fiber and protein levels.

They can be added to stews, salads, and soups. Moreover, beans are one of the best foods when trying to shed pounds in case of higher BMI, as well as lentils. [6]

This is because they’re low in fat, rich in protein, and prolong the feeling of fullness and avert overeating.

3. Shellfish

This animal source of food is a great healthy and low-calorie choice to up your zinc levels.

Among them, oysters are especially high with 6 medium-sized ones supplying you with 32 mg or impressive 291 percent of the DV. [7]

  • Among the healthiest sources of zinc
  • Excellent food for weight loss
  • Plenty of shellfish options to choose from

Although other sources are less rich in it, they’re still an excellent option. For example, smaller shellfish like mussels and shrimp provide 14 percent of the DV per 100 grams.

Prior to consuming shellfish, it’s always pivotal to cook them well to lower the risk of poisoning.

What’s more, if you’re trying to shed pounds because of a higher BMI, shellfish are a great way to achieve this because of their richness in lean protein, low levels of calories, and richness in healthy fats. [8]

4. Dairy products

Dairy products like milk and cheese are a great source of an abundance of nutrients, including zinc.

Milk and cheese are the two most notable ones because of their high bioavailable zinc-most of it is well absorbed by our bodies. [9] They’re without doubt not just nutritious food, but also delicious.

  • Delicious & healthy source of zinc
  • Rich in other nutrients too
  • Great way to keep the bones healthy and strong

To illustrate, a 100 gram portion of cheddar cheese provides around 28 percent of the DV whereas a cup of full-fat milk supplies you with 9 percent of the nutrient.

When you consume them regularly, you also enrich your body with other essential nutrients for optimal health and healthy bones like calcium, vitamin D, and protein.

And, according to a study done by University of Tennessee, dairy consumption lowers body fat in obese individuals, which can be of aid if you’re dealing with high BMI.  [10]

Milk is very easy to add to your diet- add it to smoothies, oatmeal, and cereal or drink yogurt topped with fresh fruits and granola.

5. Eggs

Eggs are moderately rich in zinc and they can help you reach your daily goals. [11]

One big egg has around 5 percent of the DV, as well as 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats, and numerous vitamins and minerals, including selenium and B vitamins.

  • Rich in nutrients & good for weight loss
  • 1 egg has 5 % of the DV of zinc
  • Numerous ways to cook them

Eggs are also a great source of choline, another nutrient most people don’t get in sufficient amounts, yet it’s important.

They’re also very versatile in terms of prep-you can eat them poached or boiled or scrambled with some olive oil. When eaten without extra fat or salt, they can be a great choice for dieters.

Namely, if you have a higher BMI and trying to slim down, eggs are one of the easiest things to do. [12] They prolong the feeling of fullness and help you lower the amount of calories you consume.

6. Whole grains

Wheat, rice, oats, and quinoa are whole grains and they can provide some amount of zinc to satisfy your needs. [13]

Still, same as legumes, they have phytates that lower the absorption of zinc by binding to it.

  • Whole grains have zinc
  • Abundant in other nutrients too
  • Good for weight loss & faster metabolism

And, whole grains have higher amounts than the refined ones. However, they’re much better for optimal health and provide a long list of other nutrients like magnesium, iron, selenium, and manganese.

Consuming whole grains has also been associated with longer lifespan and other health advantages like lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular illness.

It’s also good to know that they can be a helpful source of food if you have a higher BMI and are trying to slim down- they reduce the amount of calories that your body keeps during digestion and also speed up the metabolism, another pivotal weight loss factor. [14]

7. Zinc supplements

Zinc supplements are found in several different forms and they’re used for treatment or prevention of various health problems.

If you’re to choose a zinc supplement, you’ll see that they come in several different types. They influence your health in different ways.

  • Zinc supplements come in several types
  • Available in several forms
  • Recommendable for treatment of some health problems

Some of the most common ones on the market are zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, zinc sulfate, zinc picolinate, zinc orotate, and zinc citrate. [15]

The first one is the most common and often added in lozenges and nasal sprays. The sulfate one can help with acne.

The first one is also the most cost-effective supplement so it can be a good way to increase your intake of this mineral without spending too much.

Still, if you have a bit more to invest, you should know that the picolinate one may be better in terms of absorption.

They come in various forms, including lozenges, tablets, and capsules. [16]

But, as with any other supplement, before you decide to take it, make sure you consult your physician to learn about the best type and dosage for you.

Final Thoughts

Zinc is a pivotal micronutrient that has a major role in keeping us healthy. It’s also the second most abundant trace mineral in our body to iron.

Since it can help strengthen our immunity, improve our skin and heart health, and maintain the blood sugar levels, we need to meet the daily value.

To this extent, we made sure you learn about the best sources of zinc, including foods and supplements so that you can easily meet your recommended values and stay healthy.

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