Series Part 4: Zinc, the essential immune system nutrient

This is Part 4 in my series:  4 Anti Aging Super Nutrients and the foods that contain them…

Anti Aging Super Nutrient - Zinc
Anti Aging Super Nutrient - Zinc

While researching Probiotics and their benefits, I also learned that Zinc is a critical mineral needed for proper digestion.  Here is what I found:  Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of the body’s vital processes and most people are chronically deficient in this vital mineral. It is an active agent in our body’s ability to metabolize food and nutrients. It is also a necessary agent in the triggering action of 100 differing internal enzymes required for many of these metabolic actions. Zinc is also crucial for the health of the human immune system. It aids growth through its role in protein building and synthesis, and is therefore particularly needed in pregnant and lactating women.

It also plays a role in the body’s ability to heal itself after an injury. Zinc keeps our sense of smell in proper function, and is commonly linked to healthy eyes, skin and hair. What is more, we must be sure that we get enough of it in our diet, as well as from zinc supplements, as the body does not naturally have a zinc storage system.

The following list of foods possesses the highest amounts of naturally-occurring zinc. These foods would be a great addition to any diet.

1. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Seeds - Zinc
Pumpkin Seeds - Zinc

Not only are they extremely high in zinc, pumpkin seeds also play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds also support general immune system health. For maximum zinc-intake, the seeds can be taken raw, as roasting them can deplete zinc intake.

2. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate - Zinc
Dark Chocolate - Zinc

The occasional indulgence in a square of dark chocolate may offer you an extra boost to your zinc levels. One hundred grams of unsweetened dark chocolate has up to 9.6mg of zinc. Cocoa powder has 6.8mg.

 

 

3. Garlic

Garlic - Zinc
Garlic - Zinc

This pungent bulb offers moderate levels of naturally occurring zinc, and is easy to incorporate into most any main course meal preparation. Besides from being high in zinc, garlic is also a great food for detoxification. It contains high levels of manganese, vitamin b6, vitamin c and selenium.

 

4. Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds - Zinc
Sesame Seeds - Zinc

Whether raw or toasted, sesame seeds hold around 10mg of zinc per 100g serving. Try incorporating more hummus (a tahini-butter-based Middle Eastern dip) into your diet, or even consider replacing wheat flour with sesame seed flour in your next baked goods or breads.

5. Watermelon seeds

Watermelon Seeds - Zinc
Watermelon Seeds - Zinc

It may seem strange, but try raw, dried or roasted seeds after eating your next summer watermelon. Popular in Eastern Asia, dried watermelon seeds have 10mg of zinc per 100g serving.

 

6. Wheat germ

Wheat Germ - Zinc
Wheat Germ - Zinc

An excellent additive to sprinkle on your salad, toasted wheat germ offers 17mg of zinc per 100g serving. This is over 100% of the recommended daily allowance.

 

 

7. Squash seeds

Squash Seeds - Zinc
Squash Seeds - Zinc

Another popular Middle Eastern seed, squash seeds hold around 10mg of zinc per 100g serving. You can remove the seeds directly from the squash eat them raw, dried or roast them in your oven.

 

 

8. Chickpeas

Chick Peas - Zinc
Chick Peas - Zinc

A 7 ounce serving contains about 2.8mg of zinc. They also contain folate and are high in protein and dietary fiber.

 

 

Other Sources of Zinc
Besides from the foods listed above, there are many other ways to get zinc in your diet. If you don’t eat any of the foods above, try supplementing your diet with a zinc supplement.  There are many different types and are not all created equal.  My recommendation is zinc orotate.

~ Barbara