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Load up on zinc to boost your immunity with these 5 zinc-rich foods

Updated on:27 April 2020, 15:32pm IST
To fight covid-19, let’s add these zinc-rich foods in our immunity-boosting diet. The best part? These foods are already in your kitchen.
Aishwarya Chopra
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Gorge on these easy zinc rich foods to fight off the covid-19 storm. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

While our lives are still revolving around covid-19, boosting our immunity has become of utmost importance. And which is why we need to talk about zinc, an important mineral that maintains our immune system, and grows and repairs body tissues. Interestingly, our body doesn’t store zinc, so we need to eat enough of zinc-rich foods every day to ensure we’re meeting daily requirements. 

The recommended daily zinc requirements for men is 11 mg, while we women need 8 mg. (Please bear in mind, these requirements change during pregnancy and breastfeeding.) 

To ensure that you don’t become zinc deficient at this vulnerable time, here are five zinc-rich foods you must include in your daily diet:

1.  Legumes
Chickpeas, lentils and beans are all legumes that contain substantial amounts of zinc. Even 100 grams of cooked lentils contain around 12% of the daily value of this essential mineral. 

zinc for boosting immunity
Your next serving of homemade hummus can help you fight off covid-19.Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

According to a study in Clinical Diabetes, legumes are a great low-fat and high-protein food packed with vitamins, minerals, and lots of dietary fibre. So, it’s time to add these legumes to delicious soups, stews, and salads because heating, sprouting, soaking or fermenting these plant sources of zinc can increase this mineral’s potency.

2. Nuts
It’s time to grab a handful of cashews, almonds, peanuts, and/or pine nuts to boost your daily zinc intake. They’re one the most fuss-free sources of the mineral and promise not just zinc but also other healthy nutrients, including healthy fats and fiber.

zinc-rich foods
Foods like almonds can be the easiest pick and eat snacks you need. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

If you’re looking for dried fruit or nut highest in zinc, then cashews are a good choice. A 28 gram serving of cashews contains roughly 15% of our daily zinc requirements.

3. Meat
While we’re all wary of consuming chicken and mutton right now, well-cooked meat is one of the richest sources of zinc.

zinc-rich foods
Yes, butter chicken can be the healthy zinc source you need. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to the USDA, consuming just 1 cup of chopped roasted, skinless chicken breast provides 19% (2.13 mg) of the daily recommended zinc value. 

Also, Read: This low-calorie butter chicken recipe will make you fall in love all over again

4. Mushrooms
According to the USDA, 1 cup of sliced raw mushrooms contains about 3% (0.4 mg) of your daily zinc’s daily value.

Mushrooms also boost of B vitamins and selenium which boost your immune system and prevent damage to your cells and tissues. 

5. Seeds
Once upon a time, seeds only seemed like bird food–until recently we realised its phenomenal health benefits for us humans. Seeds are not only a healthy addition to salads but they can increase your zinc intake as well. 

zinc-rich foods
Who knew hemp seeds would be so high on zinc quotient! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Although when it comes to immunity-boosting powers, some seeds are better than others. For instance, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds contain 43% of the recommended daily intake of zinc for us women.  Some other seeds that contain significant amounts of zinc include squash, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. They also contain fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals which makes them excellent additions to your diet. 

So you can up your immunity game by adding hemp, flax, pumpkin or squash seeds into your diet by adding them to salads, soups, yogurts or other foods. 

There are plenty of zinc supplements available over the counter as well, though before you start popping them, do talk to your doctor. In the meantime, nosh on these zinc-rich foods for your daily dose of the mineral. 

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Aishwarya Chopra Aishwarya Chopra

Analysing the intricacies of life is my forte, from the matrix of books to anonymous stories of people's expressions and signatures. Everything is a mystery waiting to be uncovered.