The list includes edamame, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and hummus.
Snacking on nuts and seeds will also give you a good dose of zinc. Look out for pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts, and pecans. While not usually taken as a snack, chia seeds are a great addition to meals or shakes.
Finally, as you’re adding fiber to your diet with whole-grain foods, you’ll be getting some zinc too. Your options include oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread.
Dairy products and dark chocolate are also great sources of zinc. To make things easier, many breakfast cereal products have zinc added to their nutritional content. With this option, make sure to avoid cereals that have too much sugar.
How Much Zinc You Need
Zinc is safe for everyone as well as its daily intake value is within the recommended range. Up to 6 months, 2 mg is ideal and 3 mg works for children up to 3 years old. Persons between 4 and 8 years old should have 5 mg while 9 – 13-year-olds should have 8 mg.
The intake value goes up to 9 mg for those who are up to 18 years old but back down to 8 mg over the age of 19. The value remains the same regardless of gender but can increase for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Potential Side Effects
It’s important to stay within the recommended values when taking zinc as an overdose can have terrible side effects such as fever, nausea, and a mineral imbalance. Additionally, the use of zinc is not suggested for persons who are immunocompromised, have a zinc allergy, or are dealing with hemochromatosis.
In some cases, zinc can interfere with certain medications so it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting a zinc supplement.
Zinc has been shown to help with maintaining a healthy immune system. If you make a few changes to your diet and keep within the recommended intake range, you should see a positive impact on your health. Remember to check with your doctor about potential interactions if you’re taking medications regularly.