Zinc is the all-rounder among trace elements: It supports the body’s defenses, pushes the potency and is needed for the optimal regeneration of your muscles. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily intake of between 11 and 16 milligrams of zinc for men. Athletes, however, have a higher zinc requirement, since the vital trace element is not only excreted through the urine, but also through the sweat glands. So the higher your training level, the more zinc you need.
The only problem is that the body cannot produce it itself and can only store small amounts. Therefore, you need to eat zinc-containing foods every day. But don’t panic: There are plenty of zinc sources that are perfect for your healthy fitness lifestyle and can even be combined with each other. However, you have to pay attention to the phytate content of the foods. What is behind the term we explain of course in the course of the article.
The top 10 foods with a lot of zinc (data per 100 grams)
Rank 10: Oatmeal (4.3 milligrams of zinc)
Oatmeal is – at least in theory – an excellent source of zinc and at the same time the ideal breakfast for athletes: thanks to complex carbohydrates, it provides long-lasting energy and the combination of zinc, protein and iron is ideal for muscle building.
But in practice there is a crucial problem: oats and other whole grain products contain the so-called phytic acid, also called phytate. The acid is considered an “anti-nutrient” because it binds minerals and trace elements – such as iron, magnesium and zinc – and thus deprives the body of them. Legumes, especially soy, are also rich in phytic acid. However, if you eat a varied diet and do not rely exclusively on plant sources of zinc, you need not fear a zinc deficiency.
Rank 9: Beef (from 5.2 milligrams of zinc)
Athletes often have an increased zinc requirement because they lose a lot of it through sweat. During training, microtears also occur in the muscle fibers. During regeneration, these small injuries are quickly repaired with the help of zinc and protein. Pack therefore times again a really beautiful piece of bio beef on the grill or in the pan. Beef contains not only zinc but also lots of iron and protein, making it the perfect muscle food.
Rank 8: Edam (5.3 milligrams of zinc)
Many types of cheese contain a certain amount of zinc, but the top supplier is Edam. Emmentaler (4.6 milligrams) and Gouda (3.9 milligrams) can also shine with their high zinc content. By the way, due to the ripening process, cheese contains less lactose than other dairy products, which is why people with lactose intolerance often do not have to do without it.
7th place: Flaxseed (5.5 milligrams of zinc)
Flaxseeds score not only with their zinc content, but also with other healthy ingredients: They are rich in fiber and thus ensure that your digestion does not become sluggish. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the development and functioning of your brain.
6th place: Pumpkin seeds (7 milligrams of zinc)
Radical diets, too much alcohol, smoking and stress can lead to zinc deficiency. Snack therefore in between pumpkin seeds: They contain not only much zinc, but are also rich in iron, magnesium and copper. In muesli, as a topping over salads or soups they are unbeatably delicious.
5th place: Poppy seeds (8.1 milligrams of zinc)
Poppy seeds not only have a high zinc content, but also contain many healthy, unsaturated fatty acids. Especially in Austrian and Asian recipes you can find the little balls. By the way, contrary to many myths, the consumption of poppy seeds is not a problem for children, the amounts of morphine and codeine are much too low to cause health problems.
Rank 4: Liver (8.4 milligrams of zinc)
If you treat yourself to a portion of calf’s liver with your meal, you have almost covered your daily zinc requirement. Pig and beef offal are also good sources of zinc. But do not eat liver too often: more than once a week liver can lead to an overdose of vitamin A and thus to vomiting, headaches and even kidney failure.
3rd place: Deoiled cocoa powder (8.9 milligrams of zinc)
A zinc deficiency can manifest itself among other things by loss of appetite and even sexual unwillingness. A particularly tasty antidote: Cocoa. In addition to zinc, cocoa also contains a considerable amount of flavonoids, i.e. secondary plant compounds, which – like zinc – protect the body from damaging free radicals and thus provide double support for the body’s own defenses. Here we tell you why cocoa is so interesting, especially for athletes.
2nd place: Wheat germ (18 milligrams) and wheat bran (9.2 milligrams of zinc)
Wheat germ and wheat bran not only provide a lot of zinc, but also a lot of fiber, which stimulates digestion. For this reason, bran is an effective remedy for digestive problems. One to three tablespoons of wheat bran, combined with sufficient fluid intake, stimulate intestinal activity. However, since the germs also contain a lot of phytic acid, which inhibits zinc absorption, you should soak them overnight. By the way: If you eat the zinc suppliers together with foods containing a lot of protein, calcium and vitamin A, the absorption capacity of zinc can be improved even more.
1st place: Oysters (22 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams)
Oysters are not considered an aphrodisiac for nothing, because they are true “zinc bombs”. The trace element is important for the formation of the male sex hormone testosterone. But don’t overdo it with the consumption if you don’t want to risk a zinc overdose. This is unlikely, but if you take more than 200 milligrams of zinc a day, you could get stomach problems. Every now and then you can treat yourself to this delicacy, but oysters should always be fresh!
- 1 The top 10 foods with a lot of zinc (data per 100 grams)
- 2 Rank 10: Oatmeal (4.3 milligrams of zinc)
- 3 Rank 9: Beef (from 5.2 milligrams of zinc)
- 4 Rank 8: Edam (5.3 milligrams of zinc)
- 5 7th place: Flaxseed (5.5 milligrams of zinc)
- 6 6th place: Pumpkin seeds (7 milligrams of zinc)
- 7 5th place: Poppy seeds (8.1 milligrams of zinc)
- 8 Rank 4: Liver (8.4 milligrams of zinc)
- 9 3rd place: Deoiled cocoa powder (8.9 milligrams of zinc)
- 10 2nd place: Wheat germ (18 milligrams) and wheat bran (9.2 milligrams of zinc)
- 11 1st place: Oysters (22 milligrams of zinc per 100 grams)