by Emily Neill
A common concern of those looking to have more plants in their diet is whether they’ll get all the nutrients necessary to keep healthy. Whilst it might take a little more consideration for those new to the delights of eating green, plants do offer us all we need.
This is true for zinc, a key mineral in helping us fend off illness, amongst other benefits. We’re delving deeper into why we need zinc and how much we should have, as well as the best vegan foods to ensure we’re hitting our recommended daily intakes.
How much zinc you need depends on your age and your sex. The average adult consumes around 10mg of zinc a day, which is roughly equivalent to 2 oysters. Here’s what the NHS recommends:
Although shellfish and red meat are high in zinc, so are plenty of plant-based foods. Here are the main ones along with some mouthwatering vegan recipes to help you up your zinc intake.
Zinc per 1 cup (155g, shelled): 2.1mg
Commonly eaten as a tasty snack, edamame beans are high in protein, low in fat, and even contain omega-3 (which potentially benefits heart health). At allplants we regularly use them to add some crunch and fresh flavours to our recipes – our famous Teriyaki Udon noodles are just one example.
Zinc per 1 cup (198g, cooked): 2.5mg
Apart from being a great source of protein and iron, lentils also offer a good amount of zinc. In terms of recipes, there’s no shortage of delicious options; our take on Rigatoni Bolognese is an allplants favourite, whilst our Bhaji Daal is the perfect midweek warmer.
Zinc per 1/2 cup serving (raw, firm): 2.0mg
Tofu offers all of the essential amino acids (important for the absorption of proteins) as well as iron, calcium, and zinc. It’s also one of the most versatile ingredients of a plant-based diet – whether in a vibrant plate of sweet and sour, or simply used as an alternative to scrambled eggs, tofu is a vegan staple.
Zinc per 1 cup serving (185g, cooked): 2.0mg
Quinoa is regularly touted as a ‘superfood’, and with good reason. Alongside containing a high amount of plant-based protein, this grain is high in antioxidants and magnesium (important for bone health). There’s also a myriad of different ways to include it in your diet – a broccoli-lime quinoa mix is the perfect side to our sumptuously creamy Golden Sesame Satay, or a quinoa and wild rice mix adds substance to our fragrant Thai Green Curry.
Zinc per 1 cup (164g): 2.5mg
Another plant-based source of protein, chickpeas also have a good amount of fibre (which helps to improve gut health). In terms of recipes, North African and Middle-Eastern cuisine is where they shine best; our rainbow falafel mezze or spiced aubergine tagine both make use of this much-moved legume.
A plant-based diet offers everything you need for good health, and this includes zinc. Whether it’s with a scattering of edamame beans, a dollop of chickpea hummus, or a hearty helping of fried tofu, you can easily reach your daily dose of this important mineral, all while looking forward to your next plateful.
Emily is our Content and Community Assistant by day, and qualified PT by… later that day. She couldn’t live without exercise (makes sense) so can usually be spotted in her favourite spin class, with our Three Mushroom Risotto for afters.