Think Zinc: From Strong Bones to Baby Health
Although women only need zinc in a small daily dosage, about 8 mg women 19 and older, 11-12 for pregnant and nursing, it’s an essential mineral for many reasons. Zinc boosts immunity, balances hormones, builds muscle, heals wounds, and builds strong bones. For women who are pregnant, nursing, and postnatal, meeting recommended allowances for zinc may help to lower the risk of delivering a premature baby. In fact, developing babies require a healthy dose of zinc which puts mothers at an increased risk for deficiency. Here, ABC Nutrition gives recommendations as getting enough daily zinc!
A. Seeds- Zinc may help boost immunity and help you kick that stubborn cold faster. Even better than getting rid of a cold is preventing one all together! Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame are very high in zinc. About a quarter cup of un-roasted pumpkin seeds contain 2.57 mg of zinc, and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds has about 5% of your daily recommendation. Pumpkin seeds should always be un-roasted as roasting depletes their mineral content. Sesame seeds are versatile. Add a teaspoon or two of sesame seeds into dips like chickpea hummus or homemade sunflower butter in your blender or food processor.
B. Beef - Animal sources are one of the best for highly bioavailable zinc. If you are zinc deficient, you may want to focus on animal sources for zinc compared to plant sources. For example, a serving of cooked beef that fits in the palm of your hand provides 82% of your daily value of zinc! When shopping for steaks, always look for 95 - 97% lean cuts to reduce the fat content. The best cuts are typically flank, sirloin, tenderloin, filet mignon, or top round roast. Also, search for the words “organic grass fed beef” on the label. I do not recommend consuming beef everyday, however, a few small portions a week can be included in an overall healthy diet.
C. Black beans- Highly nutritious and versatile, black beans are one of the best foods for you. One cup of boiled black beans provides 13% of your daily value for zinc. Black beans can be added to almost any recipe to up the minerals and protein. If you buy them canned, simply drain the fluid in the can and rinse the beans before eating. This will get rid of a lot of the sodium that is found in canned foods. Whip up a bowl of naturally gluten free jasmine rice and black beans to make a complete protein meal without the meat! This may give you a chance to try some ethnic Spanish recipes that include a lot of rice, beans, and spices; yummy!