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13 Ways To Get Your Zinc From Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits And Vegetables That Are Rich In Zinc

Fruit and vegetables have respectable levels of zinc you can use to chalk up the numbers. Avocados, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, corn, and green peas make a delicious meal. Zinc-rich fruit like pomegranate, dried figs, dried apricot, and berries can liven up a meal. Or take a walk on the wild side and experiment with some unique tasting durian!

Your body needs a steady supply of zinc because it can’t be stored by the body. It is especially important during pregnancy and for children’s healthy growth.1

Zinc does far more for your body than just ward off colds and coughs. It plays a central role in maintaining normal immune system function, wound healing, and cell growth. It is also needed for breaking down carbohydrates and boosting the effectiveness of insulin. A nutrient second only to iron among trace minerals your body needs, it is abundant in meat and poultry. But if you’re hunting for vegetables or fruit that can help boost your zinc intake, your search can stop right here! Here’s a look at some of the best sources of zinc from the fruit and veggie section of your supermarket.

Adults Need To Have 8–11 Mg Of Zinc Daily

While many veggies and fruits have a decent amount of zinc, they are not as readily available to the body as non-vegetarian sources. So, if you’re vegetarian, ensure you have multiple sources of zinc like seeds, nuts, beans, and peas, as well as milk products, to get in zinc.2

So how much zinc should you be consuming? The recommended levels are 11 mg for men and 8 mg per day for women. If you’re pregnant, you’ll need to up the intake to 11 mg and boost that further to 12 mg when nursing your baby.3 When it comes to food labeling, the standard daily value (DV) for adults has been set at 11 mg.4 The following list should give you an idea of how each item stacks up when it comes to % DV

1. Avocados

Avocado has 1.29 mg of zinc

A single medium-sized avocado: 1.29 mg of zinc (11.7% DV)

Avocados are among the best sources of zinc among fruit and vegetables. A single medium-sized avocado has 1.29 mg of zinc, which is the equivalent of 11.7% DV.5 Avocados are delicious eaten plain, but also make for creamy smoothies and shakes when blended with milk or other fruits and vegetables. You could even sprinkle in some seeds and nuts to make it richer in zinc – 1 oz of pumpkin or squash seed kernels, roasted, has 2.17 mg of zinc (19.7% DV).6 Alternatively, chop some avocado into your salad or blend it to make a dip or guacamole. Top your toast with some avocado and perhaps a sprinkling of sesame seeds, another good source that meets 26.4% DV (2.9 mg per ounce).7

2. Spinach

Spinach has 1.37 mg of zinc.

A cup of boiled spinach: 1.37 mg of zinc (12.5% DV)

A cup of boiled spinach contains 1.37 mg of zinc (12.5% DV).8 If you have your spinach out of a pack (frozen), you can expect around 0.94 mg of zinc per cup of the boiled green.9 Spinach is quick cooking and a good variation for pasta sauce. It works as a filling for your ravioli and even as pizza topping. It also makes a great soup. Or your could give green spinach smoothie a go.

3. Edamame

Edamame has 1.06 mg of zinc.

Half a cup of edamame: 1.06 mg of zinc (9.6% DV)

Edamame, the delicate green form of soybeans, harvested when it is less mature, has 1.06 mg of zinc per half cup, which is equivalent to 9.6% DV of intake.10 Enjoy your edamame simply steamed or fried as a snack with salt or spices. Alternatively, add it to rice or casseroles. A simple stir-fry with garlic and spices is also delicious. Amp up the zinc content of your meal or snack by sprinkling some cheese over. An ounce of swiss cheese has 1.24 mg (11.3% DV) of zinc.11

4. Pomegranates

Pomegranates have 0.99 mg of zinc,

1 pomegranate: 0.99 mg of zinc (9% DV)

Pomegranates are a delicious way to get your zinc from fruit. The ruby red kernels give you 0.3 mg per half cup, but if you have a whole fruit, you’ll get around 0.99 mg of zinc or 9% DV in that serving.12 Pomegranates add a pop of color to a salad, a unique sweetness to a glaze for your meats, and are a refreshing drink or fruit to enjoy on a hot day.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have 1.34 mg of zinc.

A cup of morel mushrooms contains 1.34 mg of zinc – that’s 12.2% DV.13 A cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms, stir-fried, has 0.93 mg of zinc or 8.45% DV of the nutrient.14 A cup of whole brown, crimini, or Italian mushrooms, has 0.96 mg of the mineral, which meets 8.73% DV.15

Mushrooms are incredibly versatile depending on the variety you pick or the recipe you choose. Lightly saute them with garlic to make a quick and easy main or side or pop them into Thai curries or Asian stir-fries. They are earthy and filling in a creamy pasta dish.

6. Berries

Berries have 0.76 mg of zinc

A cup of blackberries: 0.76 mg of zinc (6.9% DV)
A cup of raspberries: 0.52 mg of zinc (4.7% DV)

Love the brightness and tart sweetness of a berry? You’re in luck because they’re also among the better fruit sources of zinc. For instance, a cup of blackberries has 0.76 mg of zinc (6.9% DV).16 A cup of raspberries has 0.52 mg or 4.7% DV of the mineral.17 Enjoy your berries with yogurt and possibly even a sprinkle of wheat germ and you’ll have chalk up more zinc. After all, wheat germ has a whopping 4.73 mg of zinc or 43% DV per ounce.18 And plain low-fat yogurt has 2.18 mg of zinc (19.8% DV) in an 8 oz pack.19

7. Green Peas

Peas have 1 mg of zinc.

A cup of cooked peas: 1 mg of zinc (9.1% DV)

This larder staple is easy to use from fresh or frozen produce. A cup of cooked frozen peas has 1 mg of zinc, which is around 9.1% DV.20 Enjoy your peas simply tossed through with herbs or some ham. You could also puree it into a lovely pea soup. Or go east and try some Indian pea, cottage cheese (paneer), and potato curry.

8. Corn

Corn has 0.92 mg of zinc.

 

A cup of boiled yellow sweet corn: 0.92 mg of zinc (8.36% DV)

A cup of boiled yellow sweet corn provides 0.92 mg of zinc, which gives you 8.36% DV of the nutrient.21 Enjoy your corn plain as a snack with some butter drizzled on it or make a delicious corn chowder with it to warm you up. Corn is also a lovely addition to salsas – especially if you char it off first for a smoky flavor. A southern style corn casserole is another crowd favorite. You can also use corn to make corn cakes. The options are plenty, so go ahead and have some corn!

9. Dried Figs

Dried figs have 0.82 mg of zinc.

Dried figs: 0.82 mg of zinc (7.45% DV)

A cup of dried figs has 0.82 mg of zinc, which should get you 7.45% DV.22 Toss these figs into your morning oatmeal it already has about 1.1 mg of the nutrient or 10% DV of zinc, so the figs will help you up that number.23 They also taste great in chewy fig bars made with oatmeal and seeds and nuts – all great sources of zinc in themselves! Alternatively, add them to pies or home-baked bread.

Other dried fruit like prunes are also good sources of the nutrient with 0.77 mg of zinc (7% DV) per cup.24

10. Potatoes

Potatoes have 0.62 mg of zinc.

A medium baked potato: 0.62 mg of zinc (5.6% DV)

A medium baked potato has 0.62 mg of zinc while a large one has 1.08 mg of the mineral. That means you’ll get 5.6% DV to 9.82% DV out of what can be a truly heavenly meal.25 Simply top your baked potato with a rich meaty sauce or crumble some cheese over it. You could even pair with some fresh corn salsa or guacamole. They’re all sources of zinc too, so what’s to lose! Of course, if you enjoy your potatoes boiled and added to a salad, go ahead and do that – there’s 0.41 mg or 3.73% DV in the flesh of one boiled potato.26

Even a cup of garlic is a good source of zinc with 1.58 mg (14.4% DV) but then you’re unlikely to be using a lot of it in one go. A clove or two will have 0.03 mg or 0.06 mg of the mineral (around 0.5% DV), which is why it may pale in comparison with some other vegetables.27

11. Broccoli

A cup of broccoli: 0.7 mg per cup (6.4% DV)

Broccoli has 0.7 mg of zinc.

A cup of the vegetable, cooked, has 0.7 mg per cup –that’s 6.4% DV.28 A cup of chopped and cooked frozen broccoli contains 0.52 mg of zinc (4.7% DV).29 Simply steam or boil or your broccoli and lightly season for a quick side. For something substantial, make broccoli the centerpiece of a meal – use it in a pasta or rice dish or bake it with other vegetables in a decadent creamy or cheesy sauce. You could also make a delicious Asian style stir-fry with it and toss in some meat if you’d like, for more zinc.

12. Dried Apricots

Dried apricots have 0.51 mg of zinc.

A cup of dried apricots: 0.51 mg of zinc (4.6% DV)

Dried apricots contain 0.51 mg of zinc per cup, which is 4.6% DV.30 Add the apricots to cakes, muffins, pies, and even bread with some seeds and nuts for good measure. If you add some wheat germ you’ll get even more zinc, so why not give that a go? Simply swap out some flour with the germ. The apricots also work a treat in rice pudding and fragrant rice pilafs from the middle east and India.

13. Durian

Durian has 0.68 mg of zinc.

1 cup of durian: 0.68 mg of zinc (6.18%DV)

Have a taste for the exotic and some might even say funky smelling? If you’ve always been intrigued by the thought of trying the funky durian or are already a die-hard fan, there’s 0.68 mg of zinc per cup of the fruit (6.18% DV) and 1.69 mg per whole fruit (15.36% DV) whether you’re buying it fresh or frozen.31 You can make it into a sticky rice dessert like the kind you’ve had with mango, or even experiment with durian cheesecake, panna cotta, and ice cream.

So there it is. A roundup of some of the best fruit and vegetable sources of zinc. Now that you’re armed with your shopping list, here’s to that zinc-rich menu!

References   [ + ]

1, 2. Zinc in diet. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
3, 20, 23. Zinc. Office of Dietary Supplements.
4. Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.
5. Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
6. Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
7. Seeds, sesame seed kernels, toasted, without salt added (decorticated). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
8. Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
9. Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
10. Edamame, frozen, prepared. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
11. Cheese, swiss. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
12. Pomegranates, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
13. Mushrooms, morel, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
14. Mushrooms, shiitake, stir-fried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
15. Mushrooms, brown, Italian, or crimini, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
16. Blackberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
17. Raspberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
18. Cereals ready-to-eat, wheat germ, toasted, plain. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
19. Yogurt, plain, low fat, 12 grams protein per 8 ounce. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
21. Corn, sweet, yellow, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
22. Figs, dried, uncooked. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
24. Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
25. Potatoes, baked, flesh and skin, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
26. Potatoes, boiled, cooked in skin, flesh, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
27. Garlic, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
28. Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
29. Broccoli, frozen, chopped, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
30. Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
31. Durian, raw or frozen. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.