Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

11 Plant-Based Foods Packed With Zinc

Food
11 Plant-Based Foods Packed With Zinc

You may be focused on getting enough iron, calcium and protein, but do you ever think about zinc? The essential trace mineral is responsible for proper immune function and cell growth and can cause serious issues when not fully present in our daily diets.

Zinc deficiencies are most common in older adults, vegetarians and pregnant women who are outputting much of their nutritional resources into their growing babies.

So what is zinc exactly and why do we need it? The essential mineral helps enzymes carry out imperative cellular functions, including cell division and metabolism. This means healthy levels of zinc are vital for our bodies to grow at a normal clip and for our immune systems to protect us. Zinc is also associated with the function of our hormones and emotions, meaning more stable moods and cognitive balance.

According to a study done by LabDoor.com, zinc deficiency symptoms can range from hard-to-notice issues, like an impaired sense of taste, loss of appetite or acne, to serious effects such as impaired immune function and delayed wound healing.

Zinc deficiencies are most common in older adults, vegetarians and pregnant women who are outputting much of their nutritional resources into their growing babes.

Vegetarians and vegans are at risk for zinc deficiency, as the most abundant sources of zinc tend to be animal proteins. Zinc can, of course, be found in plant sources such as legumes and grains, but they must be consumed in greater quantities. 2016 is the year of the pulse, after all, which are great sources of plant-based zinc.

Pregnant women should pay great attention to their zinc levels, as the mineral plays a huge role in growth and development in unborn babies. Prenatal vitamins tend to load women with folate and iron, which are also important for fetus development. However, these minerals decrease the bioavailability of zinc or our bodies absorption ability. Because low levels of zinc can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight, women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about the best zinc supplements.

So how much zinc do you need? Adults 19 and over need between 8 and 11 mg. Pregnant women should focus on getting a full 11 mg and lactating or breastfeeding women should aim for 12.

Looking to add more zinc to your diet? Here's a list of 11 plant-based foods packed with zinc.

1. Chickpeas

2. Lentils 

3. Almonds 

4. Sunflower seeds 

5. Oatmeal 

6. Chia seeds 

7. Pumpkin seeds 

8. Kidney beans 

9. Tofu 

10. Tempeh 

11. Cashews 

Looking for creative ways to add zinc to your diet? Oat flour lends these vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies a zinc boost.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

5 Foods That ‘Used to’ Be Bad for You … But Now Are Considered an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet

Is Juicing Really Healthy for You?

5 Tips to Having High Energy All Day Long

10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight

Map shows tracks and strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones in 2020. Blues are tropical depressions and tropical storms; yellow through red show hurricanes, darker shades meaning stronger ones. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia Commons

By Astrid Caldas

As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters shouting slogans on megaphones during the climate strike on September 25 in Lisbon, Portugal. Hugo Amaral / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.

The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."

Read More Show Less

Trending

A child plays with a planet Earth ball during the Extinction Rebellion Strike in London on Apr. 18, 2019. Brais G. Rouco / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Will concern over the climate crisis stop people from having children?

Read More Show Less

By Liz Kimbrough

Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in a virtual ceremony this year. Dubbed the "Green Nobel Prize," this award is given annually to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continents.

Read More Show Less
Mount Ili Lewotolok spews ash during a volcanic eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara on November 29, 2020. Joy Christian / AFP / Getty Images

A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.

Read More Show Less