In the average human body, there is about two to three grams of zinc at any given time. Most of it is found in muscle tissue and bone, and more than 300 different enzymes require zinc to function normally. What many of us don’t know is that, because it is used up in various metabolic processes, it needs to be replenished regularly. If it isn’t, this can lead to zinc deficiencies, which can cause growth retardation, hair loss, and impaired immune function.
The importance of zinc in the body goes from regulating the cell production in the immune system, to improving metabolism, and increasing the rate of healing for acne and wounds. It is also helpful in terms of pregnancy, appetite loss, skin, and eye care.
Although most people try to attain their zinc intake from red meat and poultry, there are many plant-based foods that are rich in this nutrient and can easily make up for the daily recommended intake. What’s even better is that these foods provide an extra dose of anti-inflammatory benefits on their own, making it easy to get what your body needs to stay healthy.
Besides being highly rich in zinc, pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, and omega-3 fats. These also help prevent prostate cancer and promote liver health. A 100-gram serving of these seeds contributes 69% of the recommended daily intake of zinc.
A 100-gram serving provides 17 mg of zinc, fulfilling about 111% of the recommended daily intake. Wheat germ is also rich in vitamin E, fiber, and healthy fats. You can make it a regular component of your diet by sprinkling some toasted wheat germ on your salads, or adding it to your smoothies.
Recent studies have shown that the beta-glucans in oats work to lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind). This is due to the improved digestion and nutrient absorption. One cup of oats boasts 2.34 mg of zinc. As a great breakfast food, it can also be topped with fruits that contain more of this nutrient, such as bananas, raisins, or raspberries.
This root is not only rich in zinc, but also has high amounts of potassium and vitamin C. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties, it blocks bacterial infections, and it may inhibit cancer growth.
Note that we are saying cacao and not cocoa. Cocoa is the processed powder that has been commercially advertised and cacao refers to the tree, from which cocoa is derived. Raw cacao beans are packed with magnesium and antioxidants. They also provide more than 50% of the daily value of zinc in a 100-gram serving.