In terms of health, fitness, and general well-being following a healthy and balanced diet packed full of the right foods is absolutely essential, for a number of different reasons.
The main problem with trying to eat healthily of course, other than the fact that many people believe healthy produce to be bland and tasteless, (which it doesn’t have to be) is the fact that it can be difficult to know exactly which foods we should be eating, and why.
For example, people trying to lose weight will often consume foods low in unhealthy fats and calories, but that doesn’t necessarily make them healthy.
Other people may consume foods rich in protein for building muscle, but again, that doesn’t make all high protein foods healthy.
To be considered healthy, foods and supplements should ideally be rich in vitamins and minerals.
One of the healthiest and most beneficial minerals we could ever wish to consume, is zinc, which is what we’ll be taking a look at right now, or rather, some of the healthiest foods high in zinc.
Zinc promotes eye health, it boosts immunity, it boosts testosterone, it improves sexual health, it increases recovery rates, and much more besides, but despite this, a number of studies have indeed found that a large percentage of the human race is actually deficient in this very mineral.
To help ensure you get plenty of zinc in your diet, here’s a look at 10 of the healthiest foods high in zinc.
1. Fortified Cereals
Fortified cereals are fantastic sources of natural zinc, as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals, including iron, B vitamins, and folate, in the process.
In terms of healthy and beneficial cereals, experts recommend multigrain, bran, and whole grain cereals which are as natural as they can possibly be.
Stay clear of fortified cereals with added sugar, even if they are made up of the bran, multigrain, or whole grain.
The reason for this is that the sugar can actually neutralize the zinc, making it ineffective.
Some cereals also contain what is known as phytates, which can actually bind together with the zinc, which in turn will reduce the rate of absorption so we don’t benefit.
Generally speaking, however, fortified cereals are great examples of healthy foods high in zinc, and for that reason, they’re a great breakfast food.
Shellfish, including mussels, oysters, crabs, and lobsters, are all fantastically high in zinc, making them very healthy indeed.
Oysters are particularly high in zinc, and contain so much in fact, that the reason why people consider them an aphrodisiac, is because they naturally increase testosterone levels.
Just six average sized oysters for example, will provide a whopping 76 mg of zinc.
If that perhaps doesn’t sound like very much to you, just be aware that it is more than 7 times the recommended minimum daily intake of zinc.
Just be wary, however, that as shellfish is so high in zinc, if you consume too much of it, too frequently, you can actually consume too much zinc, making it ineffective and leading to other health complications.
Whilst all shellfish is good for you as it is also rich in protein, be wary of lobster because it is especially high in cholesterol.
Protein is vital for muscle growth and repair, and the good news for the bodybuilders amongst you, who happen to be looking to increase your zinc consumption, is that a number of meats all happen to be especially high in this very mineral.
Vegetarians and vegans are far more likely to suffer from a zinc deficiency, because so many meats are naturally so high in the mineral.
Lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, and pork are all especially high in zinc, with an example being that around 100 grams of cooked beef will contain 82% of your recommended daily intake of zinc.
The same amount of pork contains around 33%, and the same amount of chicken comes in at 15%, which is still very respectable.
It is, however, important that you consume leaner cuts of meat if possible, as fattier cuts are still high in fats, calories, and cholesterol, which as you know, can be harmful for your health and fitness.
4. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers rejoice, because the fantastic news we have for you here, is that natural dark chocolate is in fact, a very good source of zinc, as well as antioxidants and other nutrients too for that matter.
100 grams of dark chocolate will provide around 9.6 mg of zinc, which is close to the minimum daily recommended intake.
Be wary, as chocolate, even dark chocolate, still contains fats and can therefore, be considered detrimental in large quantities.
Look for a dark chocolate of at least 80% pure cocoa, which, whilst being bitter, still has a very pleasant taste indeed.
We know how beneficial spinach was for Popeye, now we get to learn why it’s so beneficial for us.
Spinach is considered a superfood as it is packed full of polyphenols, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, including zinc and iron.
When people talk about the mineral content of spinach, they tend to focus on the high iron content.
Iron is of course very good for us, but so is zinc, which is why spinach is ideal.
One full cup of cooked spinach will provide 1.4 mg of zinc, which may not sound like much, but in actual fact it is just under 10% of your RDI.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are vastly underrated health foods, that truthfully, many of us discard when we use pumpkin, especially during Halloween.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, they are rich in healthy fats, and they’re full of minerals, especially zinc.
Because of this, their naturally high in zinc contents make them great for strengthening the immune system, and they have also been found to be very impressive when used to protect against certain forms of cancer, especially prostate cancer.
Simply snack on them raw, or sprinkle them over salads and soups for a little bit of an added crunch and nutrition kick.
7. Kidney Beans
When people think of healthy produce, they generally tend to focus on common fruits and vegetables, with most people not even realising that certain types of bean are also very healthy and beneficial.
Kidney beans aren’t just necessary additions to chillies, they are also very healthy foods that provide a great non-meat or fish source of zinc, as well as other vitamins and minerals in the process.
What’s more, kidney beans are also very useful for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, making them extremely healthy and beneficial.
So, the next time you skim through your chilli con carne picking the beans out and placing them to the side, you may want to think again as 100 grams provides close to 3mg of zinc.
Garlic is another very healthy food high in zinc, and that is hugely underrated in terms of health benefits, famed instead, for its great taste and its ability to give you bad breath the next day.
Garlic is jammed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and potent minerals, especially zinc.
Ok, in terms of serving sizes, unless you eat huge garlic bulbs in one sitting, you probably won’t hit your daily zinc targets, but combining garlic with other zinc-rich foods, is a great way of getting you there.
100 grams of garlic contain around 1.16mg of zinc, which is still respectable.
9. Egg Yolks
People often avoid egg yolks when trying to be healthy, as they believe them to be bad for you and rich in fat and cholesterol.
Whilst they do contain fat and cholesterol, the fats and cholesterols they contain are very healthy and beneficial, and besides which, egg yolks also contain minerals, especially zinc.
Not only that, but they also contain natural vitamins and minerals as well, and, with 100 grams containing nearly 5mg of zinc, egg yolks certainly should not be avoided.
Liver, and many other forms of offal for that matter, are incredibly healthy and good for us, yet for some reason, some of us are funny about eating it.
Liver, especially beef liver, is full of protein, B vitamins, and minerals, so is one of foods high in zinc and iron. 100 grams of beef liver comes in at 4. 25mg of zinc, and it tastes great with onions!