Zinc – Benefits & Which Foods Have The Most?

In certain demographics in Canada it is possible that up to around 1 in 3 people consume zinc below the recommended levels.

Given that June is Men’s Health Month, and that Zinc intake is tied both to male testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction risk, I could hardly think of a better time to broach this topic.

Zinc does quite a bit more than that thought.

This mighty metal plays a number of fundamental roles in the human body including in supporting carbohydrate metabolism (think diabetes, PCOS), wound healing and cell growth (think healthy DNA).

Zinc also plays both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles at the cellular level.

It is, however, best known for the absolutely fundamental role it plays in maintaining the human immune system and enhancing our bodies ability to fight off pathogens.

Do I have your attention yet?

Great, let’s take a look at which foods have the highest zinc content.

From A to Zinc – My Top Sources Of Zinc

Fish & Seafood – Such as oysters, crab, shrimp, octopus, herring, mackerel and salmon – among others.

Beef,Pork & Poultry –  All types, but especially ribeye steak and chicken legs.

Soy-based Foods – Including tofu, tempeh, natto and edamame.

Nuts/Seeds – Such as pumpkin seeds, cashews and sunflower seeds.

Legumes – Such as lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans – among others.

Dairy – All types, particularly yogurt, milk and cheese.

Oatmeal – As well as fortified breakfast cereals (check nutrition label for zinc).

Veggies –  Particularly shiitake mushrooms, peas, spinach and asparagus.

There you have it folks.

Putting It All Together

As a general piece of guidance, my bet is most people would be able to enhance their zinc status by consuming at least one serving per day of foods in at least 5-6 of these 8 categories.

Each of these group of foods offers unique nutrients and benefits above and beyond their zinc intake, but equally they may not all be appealing.

Variety is key.

Need help bringing that variety to life in YOUR life?

That’s what I’m here for, don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss working with me 1-on-1.

Until then,

Andy De Santis RD MPH