How to Include Zinc in Your Diet

Zinc is needed in small amounts every day in order to maintain health and perform important functions each day. Zinc benefits the body in many ways: helps with hormone production, growth and repair; improves immunity and facilitates digestion. Zinc benefits also include its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory agent, therefore zinc may have significant therapeutic benefits for several common, chronic diseases like fighting cancer or reversing heart disease.

Without enough zinc present in your diet, it’s possible to experience negative reactions like:
  • Frequent sickness and infections
  • Feeling like you’re always tired and run down
  • Poor concentration
  • Hypogonadism in males
  • Loss of hair
  • Poor appetite
  • Problems with the sense of taste
  • Problems with the sense of smell
  • Skin sores
  • Slow growth
  • Trouble seeing in the dark
  • Wounds that take a long time to heal

High-protein foods contain the highest amounts of naturally occurring zinc. Animal proteins are a good source of zinc. Beef, pork, and lamb contain more zinc than fish. The dark meat of a chicken has more zinc than the light meat. Other good sources of zinc are nuts, whole grains, legumes, and yeast.
Fruits and vegetables are not good sources, because the zinc in plant proteins is not as available for use by the body as the zinc from animal proteins. Therefore, low-protein diets and vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc.

Zinc can also be found in most multivitamin and mineral supplements. These supplements can contain zinc in the form of zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate or zinc acetate. Zinc is also usually found in some over-the-counter medicines, including lozenges, syrups, gels and capsules.

Foods High in Zinc Include:
  • Lamb
  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • Cashews
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Lentils
  • Yogurt (or Kefir)
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Cheese
  • Dark Chocolate/Cacao
  • Oatmeal
  • Milk

Note: Zinc supplements taken in large amounts may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. These symptoms most often appear within 3 to 10 hours of swallowing the supplements. The symptoms go away within a short period of time after stopping the supplements. An excess intake of zinc can also lead to copper or iron deficiency.


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