Foods High in Zinc

What is Zinc?

Zinc, also known as spelter, is a trace element that is indispensable for the healthy bodily functions. A constituent of more than 200 enzymes - zinc is regarded as the most omnipresent of all trace elements associated with human metabolism. It is as important as minerals such as calcium and iron, and plays a prominent role in the synthesis of protein as well as maintaining cell production in the immune system of the body. �

Importance of Zinc

Zinc is present in almost every cell in the body, with high contents of it in muscles, red blood cells and white blood cells, pancreas, liver, bones, retina, and kidneys. In men, it is primarily seen in the prostate gland and semen. It is estimated that about 300 enzymes in the human body need zinc for its proper functioning. According to studies, a human body consists of about two to three grams of zinc, i.e., of 100,000 proteins contained in a human body, about 3000 involve zinc. A majority of the human body’s organs secrete zinc, such as immune cells, pancreas, prostrate glands and salivary gland.

From DNA’s transcription and translation of RNA to aiding in the healthy brain functioning of human metabolism – zinc is crucial for overall health of a human body. Discussed below are some of the major benefits of zinc as well as its role in the healthy functioning of different organs.

What are the Benefits?

  • Pumpkin Seeds are Pumpkin seeds are high in zincPrevention of eczema – One of the prime causes of eczema, a chronic skin disorder, is deficiency of zinc. Intake of zinc-enriched food and supplements help to treat eczema’s severe infections and aid the body to enhance immune system in order to heal quickly.  
  • Wound Healing – A human body consists of numerous zinc enzymes that promote collagen synthesis, which in turn helps in fast wound healing.
  • Combating prostate disorder – Deficiency of zinc may sometimes lead to a condition, namely, Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) – a condition in which the prostate gland is enlarged. This may sometimes be prone to become cancer. In order to combat this, it is advisable to consume about 15 mg of zinc per day, or as per the instruction of a registered practitioner.
  • Helps in weight loss – Zinc has properties in it to balance weight via regulating a person’s appetite.
  • Skin care – From treating skin disorders such as acne and eczema to enhancing the health of nails and skin, zinc plays a crucial role for your skin care.
  • Treating colds – Since it minimizes the amount of proinflammatory cytokinesis as a result of cold infection, consumption of zinc-enriched supplements is regarded as highly effective to treat the severity of cold infections.
  • Healthy functioning of reproductive organs – In men, zinc not only helps in spermatogenesis but also for the sex organ’s development, and in women, it helps in all the reproductive stages, from pregnancy and parturition to lactation.

Apart from these, zinc is also considered beneficial for treating conditions such as Alopecia, a condition in which hair is lost; bone loss, a disease in which bones become fragile; and night blindness.

What are symptoms of a deficiency?

Zinc deficiency is a condition in which a human body does not have sufficient zinc to meet the biological organisms’ requirements. Listed below are some of the symptoms as a result of zinc deficiency.

  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Dwarfism
  • Mental lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Pneumonia
  • White spots occurring on nails
  • Cataract
  • Loss of appetite
  • Growth retardation
  • Delayed puberty  
  • Poor immune system
  • Rough skin

Foods High in Zinc

Zinc is not stored in a particular part of human body. Hence, it is important to procure zinc essential for your bodily functions through the daily intake of food that are rich in zinc. Listed below are among the foods containing zinc.

Rank Food Name Amount Per
100g in mg
% of
Daily Value
1 Shellfish, especially oysters 78.6mg 524
2 Wheat Germ 16.7mg 111
3 Red Meat (Beef and Lamb) 12.3mg 82
4 Pumpkin seeds 10.3mg 69
5 Seasame Seeds 10.2 68
6 Dry roasted cashews  5.6mg 37
7 Poultry 5mg 33
8 Dark Chocolate 3.3 22
9 Dry roasted peanuts 3.3mg 22
10 Mushrooms .9mg  6
11 Spinach .8mg  5
Apart from these foods in the chart above, cooking foods in certain ways may aid to enhance the zinc’s bioavailability. For instance, prior to cooking grains, it would be beneficial if you soak them for five to seven hours, as this helps to break phytates – a storage form of phosphorous that may sometimes obstruct zinc’s absorption in the intestines.

Even though it is essential for your health, it must be ensured that you intake zinc in correct proportion. The dosage of its consumption varies depending upon the age and sex of a person. For example, for infants from 0 to six months, the recommended intake of zinc is 2 mg per day. Likewise, for kids between seven months and three years, it is 3 mg per day. It is increased to 5 mg / day for kids from 4 to 8 years. Again, it is increased to 8 mg per day for kids between 9 and 13 years. However, after 14 years, the recommended intake of zinc differs and that too depending upon the sex, i.e. for males, it would be 11 mg per day and for females 9 mg per day.

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