Who doesn’t need a good immunity? In this article, I would b sharing the top 10 zinc-rich foods you must include in your diet especially if you are a vegetarian.
Recommended daily dosage of Zinc:
Like other minerals, zinc is an essential mineral involved in a lot of cellular functions. It is one of the best minerals to have to boost immunity. The recommended daily allowance for women is 8mg per day and 11mg for men. For pregnant women, the recommended daily intake of zinc is 11 mg, and for breastfeeding women, it is 12 mg.
When you require more Zinc:
There are certain things to remember when you need more zinc in your diet. For example, if you are an athlete, or even if you are physically active and go for a run, the requirements of zinc slightly increase as you lose some of it in sweat.
Also in case of certain conditions when your immunity is compromised or having some digestive issues, zinc is proven to be beneficial. Alopecia, an autoimmune condition where hair loss occurs in the form of bald patches increases your requirement for zinc.
You must take note here to consult a registered medical practitioner to know if you are deficient or taking more zinc will benefit you or not.
Sources of Dietary Zinc:
If we go by the facts, animal foods are the best sources of zinc and are easily absorbed b the body. One of the best sources of zinc is Oysters. Vegetarians are most likely to be deficient in this mineral as they are not getting enough of the zinc-rich foods in their diets or are not absorbing it correctly.
Phytic Acid and Absorbing Zinc:
I would also like to add those vegetarian food items are high in phytic acid which can hinder the process of absorbing zinc. Not to worry though. I will also be listing how you can reduce the effect of phytic acid so you get all the benefits of zinc-rich foods. Let’s begin the list –
Vegetarians’ diet is incomplete without Chhole Bhature but here, I am talking about the healthy options! Chickpeas contain a huge variety of nutrients, fiber, and proteins. They are also a very good source of dietary zinc.
If you go by the numbers, 100 grams of cooked Chickpeas contain about 2.5mg of zinc. You can enjoy chickpeas in salads, curries or even eat them as snacks.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have been in the limelight recently as the best source of zinc and a lot of men who are losing their hair are having pumpkin seeds to reap the benefits. Zinc is known to inhibit the enzyme 5-Alpha Reductase which is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT is the hormone responsible for hair loss.
Coming to the numbers, a handful of pumpkin seeds contain 2.2 mg of zinc and about 8.5 mg of plant-based proteins. Who would not like to have them after knowing these benefits?
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Vegetarians enjoy lentils as curries in their meals or as sprouts. Lentils are a great source of nutrients, fiber, proteins and are low in calories so can aid in weight loss too.
A cup of cooked lentils contains about 4.7mg of zinc.
Dry fruits are a great snack. If the snack is nutrient-dense then it’s a great way to get the benefits, right?
Among the dry fruits, cashews are the best source of plant-based zinc that you can get in your diet. you can even roast them or eat them raw, you will equal benefits of zinc. Watch how much you eat as nuts are calorie-dense foods.
Going by the recommended daily allowance, a 28 gram (1 ounce) serving will give you about 1.6mg of Zinc.
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Oatmeal is a popular breakfast choice for all weight-loss lovers. Loaded with fiber, protein, and a lot of other benefits that can help lose your inches, it can also boost immunity by providing you zinc.
Being rich in B vitamins and also a great regulator of cholesterol, a half cup of oatmeal can provide you with 1.3mg of zinc.
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I have been a fan of the cartoon series Popeye the Sailor Man. Probably I got my love for spinach from the cartoon show. Mixing it with cottage cheese, you can enjoy a great dish of palak paneer loaded with wonderful benefits.
About 200 calories of serving of spinach provide about 7mg of zinc. Isn’t it the healthiest option on this list?
Mushrooms are packed with nutrients and are the best vegetable I believe. I enjoy mushrooms in your Omelette, salad, sandwich, or even enjoy it in a curry.
A 100 calorie serving of white button mushrooms contain about 8mg of zinc. So having mushrooms in dinner tonight?
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8. Dark Chocolate
When it comes to chocolates, your first impression would be sugar + calories = weight gain! But not all chocolates are the same. Dark chocolates especially are rich in cocoa, a rich source of zinc.
A 100 grams bar of dark chocolate contains about 3.3mg of zinc. But don’t rely on dark chocolates alone as it is calorie-dense food.
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Indians enjoy eating curd in their meals. Dairy and curd are the food items that are consumed in large quantities in the vegetarian diet plans. They are a great source of calcium, protein, and other important nutrients.
A cup of curd contains about 1.5mg of zinc. Also rich in good gut bacteria, the curd is a must-have to keep your gut healthy.
Who doesn’t love Rajma Chawal? Beans, especially kidney and black beans are zinc-rich foods that are a must-have. They are a great source of iron, fiber, protein, and calcium.
A cup of cooked black beans contains about 2mg of zinc and a cup of cooked kidney beans contains about 1mg of zinc.
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As the use of chemicals has increased manifold, the soils on which the food is grown are severely affected. The soil is deficient in important nutrients including zinc. In order to get your daily recommended dosage, you might have to include a zinc supplement with your diet.
Please note that you must consult a registered medical practitioner to know your health status and your requirement for a zinc supplement. Usually, a dose up to 40mg is considered safe without any side effects, you must check with your healthcare provider before taking any higher doses.
In this article, I have shared a list of 10 Zinc-rich foods that vegetarians can have to boost their immunity. Also, I would like to stress a fact that vegetarian or plant-based sources of zinc contain Phytic Acid which makes it difficult for the body to absorb certain nutrients including zinc.
As the best source of zinc are animal foods, still vegetarians can have zinc in their diet by consuming the above food items.
If you still feel you are low in zinc like you are having hair loss, muscle loss, susceptible to frequent infections, etc. then you can get your zinc from a supplement as well. Make sure to get yourself checked by a medical practitioner before starting or stopping any medication or supplements. Hope this article helped you out in knowing about zinc-rich foods and increasing your immunity.
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