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The magic of minerals: Nine ways to boost your zinc intake

They may not be to everyone's liking, but just two oysters can provide your entire recommended daily intake of zinc. ISTOCK

The magic of minerals: Nine ways to boost your zinc intake

Getting enough zinc into our system is important to our overall health. Consuming the right amount can help us live longer and reduce the risk of life-threatening diseases.

The magic of minerals: Nine ways to boost your zinc intake

Zinc: What’s all the fuss?

Zinc is an essential mineral and it’s vital for maintaining our overall health.

It helps drive our metabolism, underpins our immune system and helps repair and grow muscle tissue.

It’s recommended that women consume 8mg of zinc per day, and 11mg for men, in order to maintain healthy levels of zinc in our bodies.

Ensuring we consume the recommended amount is important, so here are nine zinc-rich foods to incorporate into a healthy, balanced diet.

Nine foods to boost your zinc intake

Dark chocolate

Huzzah! Chocolate! But before you get too excited, even though 100 grams  of 70–85% dark chocolate will give you 3.3 mg of zinc, consider how you are going to offset the 600 calories those 100 grams contain.

Whole grains 

Try whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice and oats.

As well as zinc, eating whole grains has a range of wider health benefits, including greater life expectancy, a reduced risk of obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease.


Already packing a decent protein punch, eggs can also help you reach your daily zinc target.

On top of that, one large egg will give you healthy fats, B vitamins, selenium and choline.


While not everyone is a carnivore, meat is an excellent source of zinc.

A 100-gram serving of raw ground beef will provide you with almost half of your daily target, and healthy amounts of zinc can also be found in lamb and pork.


Milk and cheese are two strong zinc sources.

100 grams of Cheddar cheese, although calorific, will give you over a quarter of your daily zinc target, while a single cup of full-fat milk will give you take you an extra 9% of the way there.

Dairy products also contain nutrients important for bone health, including protein, calcium and vitamin D.


Grazing on nuts all day can greatly enhance your zinc intake.

Nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds are good choices.

As well as a quick and convenient snack, nuts have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as prolonging life.


Another great source, 30 grams of hemp seeds will provide 31% and 43% of the recommended daily intake of zinc for men and women respectively.

Also consider squash, pumpkin and sesame seeds to add to your collection.


Chickpeas, lentils and beans are excellent providers of zinc.

Just 100 grams of cooked lentils will be enough to give you around 12% of what your body needs on a daily basis.


It may not be to everyone’s taste, but shellfish is a healthy, low-calorie option to greatly boost your zinc intake.

Oysters have far more zinc than you actually need, with six medium oysters providing three times the daily amount.

Mussels and prawns also contain the essential mineral but in smaller amounts.

Read more:
The best vitamins for gut health
Could zinc deficiency cause autism?

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