Are you getting enough zinc?

If you’re under a lot of stress, if you catch whatever’s going around, have lost your sense of smell or taste or have a low mood, then it’s likely you need more of the super mineral zinc.

When you're under stress in particular, your body needs more of this mineral, especially because it plays a role in supporting your adrenal function which is responsible for the stress response. Zinc is an important part of many antioxidants that help to combat stress and inflammation in the body. 

Zinc also supports the immune system, detoxification (which is compromised during stress) and has antidepressant qualities. So if you want to support your immune system, combat inflammation, have a bright mood and resilience to stress, make sure to regularly consume zinc food sources.

The best sources of zinc are:

  • Lean red meat (esp. lamb and beef).
  • Calf’s and chicken liver (always choose organic).
  • Cashews.
  • Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Legumes and whole grains (quinoa, rice).
  • Egg yolk.
  • Dark green leafy veg (spinach, collard greens), asparagus, peas (although zinc content depends on the soil quality).
  • Fresh ginger.
  • Seafood.

Animal products contain the highest amount of zinc. Be mindful to consume seafood such as prawns and oysters only once to twice per week. This is because much of the seafood nowadays has a high mercury content, and mercury can damage nerves, particularly in the brain. 

Easy ways to eat zinc rich foods daily are:

  • Snack on seeds, or throw them on salads or soups.
  • Poached eggs with spinach for breakfast (sprinkle seeds on the spinach for an extra zinc boost!)
  • Porridge with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, with berries.
  • Make half of your meals consist of dark green leafy veg.
  • Stir-fried beef and green veg with ginger on a bed of quinoa.

Wishing you the best of health,

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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