Zinc is a very important nutrient for good health. It has a significant role in the activity of over 300 enzymes in our body and performs tasks such as strengthening our immune system, cell division, cell growth, wound healing and synthesizing proteins and DNA
Even though zinc is such an important nutrient that is necessary for the normal development of the body, there are many across the world who suffer from zinc deficiency. According to WHO, about one-third of the world's population do not consume the needed amount of zinc. One of the major causes of this widespread Zinc deficiency is that just like protein, the body is unable to store this nutrient, so a person must meet his/her zinc requirement regularly.
The recommended daily intake of zinc for men above 14 years is 11 mg of zinc daily, while for women above 14 its 8 mg. For pregnant women, 11 mg daily is required and for breastfeeding women, it is 12 mg.
The following are 6 vegetarian zinc-rich foods that should be a part of your diet:
If you are looking for vegetarian options for zinc, then make sure you include legumes in your diet. Legumes like chickpea, beans, and lentils are rich sources of zinc. They are also low in fat, calories and high in other essential nutrients like protein and fiber.
164 gm of chickpeas has 2.5 mg zinc
180 gm of kidney beans has 5.1 mg zinc
100 gm of lentils has 4.78 mg to 1.27 mg of zinc
Cashews are the best and the most affordable nuts of all. They are rich in zinc, copper, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and folate. These nuts are a great source of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids that reduces the build-up of fat and cholesterol inside the heart. Consuming cashews regularly also helps in keeping your blood pressure in control.
28 gm of cashew has 1.6 mg of zinc.
Oats make the perfect breakfast. The reason oatmeal is the perfect food for the morning is because it is a nutrient-dense food item. It is rich in fiber, beta-glucan, Vitamin B6, and folates, and they also help in regulating the cholesterol levels and promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Its high zinc content is another reason to add oats to your diet.
½ a bowl of oats has 1.3 mg of zinc
To increase zinc in your diet, without eating too many calories make sure you include Mushrooms in your diet. They are low in calories and rich in essential nutrients like Vitamin A, C, E and iron. They also have a high amount of germanium, a nutrient rarely found in some vegetables that lets our body utilize oxygen effectively.
210 gm of mushroom has 1.2 mg of zinc
5. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in a variety of nutrients including zinc. They are very versatile and can be included in your diet in different ways. Other than iron, magnesium and copper, pumpkin seeds are also packed with phytoestrogens, compounds found in the plant that help in improving the level of good cholesterol in postmenopausal women.
28 gm of pumpkin seeds has 2.2 mg of zinc
6. Dark Chocolate
If you have a sweet tooth then you can satisfy your sugar cravings using dark chocolate, which is also a rich source of zinc. The darker the chocolate is, the higher will be the zinc content. Dark chocolate also has flavanol, which shows some vascular benefits like managing blood pressure, improving blood flow and boosting immunity.
100-gram bar of 70–85% dark chocolate has 3.3 mg of zinc
Stay healthy, stay safe :)