a Care2 favorite by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Zinc is one of the most critical nutrients needed for maintaining a strong immune system. It’s also imperative for digestion and utilization of carbohydrates like grains, vegetables, fruits, and sugars as well as protein foods.
It helps to ensure healing from wounds and burns and supports healthy prostate function in men. It is necessary for healthy blood, bones, brain, heart, liver, and muscles. If you haven’t already guessed, adequate zinc is essential for great health.
Some of the symptoms of a zinc deficiency include: acne, a small appetite, brittle nails, growing pains or stunted growth in children, diarrhea, difficulty conceiving children, frequent colds or flu, hair or nails grow slowly, loss of sense of smell or taste, prostate disorders or impotence in men, sleep disturbances, and slow-healing wounds or injuries.
There are many plant-based sources of zinc. Here are some of the best ones:
- Beans/Legumes, including: black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, Romano beans, etc.
- Beets and beet greens
- Brazil nuts (other nuts too but Brazils contain higher amounts)
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Nuts and nut butters
- Pumpkin seeds
- Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Whole grains and breads
Be sure to eat fermented foods as well since zinc tends to become more bioavailable during the fermentation process. These foods include: miso, tempeh, sourdough breads, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, seed and nut cheeses that are fermented, and non-dairy yogurt.
Adapted from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, ROHP.