7 Foods Rich In Zinc To Support A Strong Immune System

Each nutrient plays a very crucial role in the smooth functioning of the body. Our daily meals must be packed with all the essential vitamins and minerals that are vital to living a healthy life. A balanced diet not only helps in day-to-day activities but also protects us from several severe diseases. Protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals are the five essential nutrients we must add to our everyday food in the right amount. 

Speaking particularly about zinc, it is a mineral that is known to keep our immune system strong. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it plays a major role in the creation of DNA, the growth of cells, building proteins, and curing damaged tissue. As per the United States Department of Agriculture, an adult needs approximately 8 to 11 mg of zinc daily. 

Here are the top seven sources of zinc you should add to your diet: 


Besides being an excellent source of calcium, milk and other dairy products like yoghurt, cheese, and butter are also high in zinc. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of low-fat milk contains about 1.05 mg of zinc, and 1 cup of non-fat yoghurt contains around 2.38 mg of this mineral. Apart from being enjoyed on their own, milk and yoghurt can also be added to cereals, desserts, and many other dishes. 


Chicken has a special place in the hearts of every non-vegetarian lover. 100 g of chicken contains approximately 1 mg of zinc. Besides this mineral, it is also high in vitamins like B6 and B12 that improve carbohydrate metabolism and boost red blood cell production. The healthiest way to eat chicken is either to bake it in the oven or steam it with hot water. 


Mushrooms, particularly button and shiitake, are excellent sources of zinc. A 100-calorie serving of white button mushrooms contains about 8 mg of zinc, while a 200-calorie serving of shiitake mushrooms has 5 mg of this mineral. With their umami flavour, these healthy food items can become a part of your diet in many ways, such as mushroom roast, noodles, pasta, curries, sandwiches, risotto, and soups. 


Cashews are high in protein, vitamins, and unsaturated fatty acids, along with zinc, that promote heart health, build strong bones, and reduce inflammation. As per the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 g of raw cashews contain approximately 5.78 mg of zinc. Besides eating this nut as a snack, you can add it to your smoothies, desserts, and chicken dishes. 


Spinach is one of the healthiest and most consumed vegetables in India. Packed with various vitamins and minerals, it is enjoyed as curry, stir-fried, dal palak, palak paneer, salads, and so on. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100 g of spinach contains 0.53 mg of zinc. Adding spinach to your daily diet keeps your heart healthy and is also ideal for weight loss. 


Lentils are an important part of our daily meals. Be it with rice or roti, we eat them daily. They are a great source of zinc, as you can get around 2.5 mg of this mineral in just one cup of lentils like green mung beans, chickpeas, or Bengal gram. This plant-based food is also high in protein, fibre, and other micronutrients. Besides curries and soups, lentils can also be added to snacks like kachoris. 


Fish and shellfish are great sources of zinc and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. These unsaturated fatty acids help in the smooth functioning of cardiovascular health and support cognition. As per the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 g of fish contains approximately 0.48 mg of zinc. This seafood can become a part of our diet in the form of salad, curry, grilled fish, tacos, sandwiches, and so on.