One thing that concerns people who are considering a vegetarian diet is a nutritional deficiency. They worry that they won’t get enough vitamins and minerals such as zinc.
The Standard American Diet contains lots of zinc from animal sources like meat and dairy. A vegetarian diet, on the other hand, commonly has lots of fiber and soy protein which blocks zinc absorption.
The average woman needs 9 milligrams of zinc daily, and the
average man needs about 11 grams. Thankfully, you can get this amount from
vegetarian foods like beans, nuts and seeds.
A single cup of pinto beans has around 15% of your recommended daily intake of zinc. Therefore, a cup or two a day mixed in with other foods on this list can boost your zinc levels. Besides zinc, beans are also a great source of fiber and protein as well as many other vitamins and minerals.
Despite being low in calories, mushrooms are a great source of nutrition. A half of a cup of shiitake mushrooms yields around 9% of your recommended daily intake of zinc. Mushrooms are also a good source of other nutrients such as selenium and copper.
One cup of boiled lentils has about two and a half milligrams of zinc or around 17% of your recommended daily intake. They are also a great source of protein and fiber.
Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are very high
in zinc. A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds will get you around 23% of your
recommended daily intake.
The best thing about seeds is that you can eat them as a quick snack or sprinkle them onto
other dishes to boost your zinc intake for the meal. Seeds are also a good
source of omega-3 fats and protein.
Cashews are one of the best sources of zinc. A quarter cup of cashews will net you around 21% of your daily zinc intake. They are also a good source of protein, magnesium, and copper.
Nutritional yeast is a delicious and nutritious additive
that you can use as a seasoning. Depending on the brand, a single serving
contains about three milligrams or 35% of your recommended daily intake of
zinc. Nutritional yeast comes fortified with vitamin B12 as well.
Zinc supplements are also a viable solution if needed. Many zinc supplements also contain magnesium, another important mineral for vegetarians.
Many vegetarian foods contain significant amounts of zinc, and not just the ones listed here. You don’t need to worry about your zinc intake as long as you make an effort to add more beans, nuts, and seeds to your diet. If you still feel like you’re not getting enough zinc, supplements are always an option. Be sure to check with your health care provider before adding supplements to your diet.