Flu season is here! So you’ll want to make sure you’re eating well to keep your immune system strong and up to the challenge. What to eat when fighting a cold? Certain foods, especially those that contain zinc, can help protect you against the cold and flu.
Most people usually think to load up on vitamin C when it comes to fighting the cold, so it may come as a surprise that zinc can be much better. According to studies, zinc is most effective in shortening a cold when taken on the first day of symptoms. This is due to this mineral’s ability to help prevent the virus or bacteria from replicating in your body.
Zinc is essential for the body to make DNA in order to promote tissue growth and repair, help wounds heal faster, and strengthen the immune system.
your diet, try to incorporate some of these 10 zinc-rich foods
that will help you stay strong
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#1 – Oysters
You probably already know that oysters are considered an aphrodisiac. But also there is probably no better way to fight off sickness than to indulge in some tasty seafood. In fact, one large oyster contains around 1 mg of zinc, which is almost 10% of the daily recommended amount.
Many people would slurp down a few oysters at a time, which offers a good serving of the mineral. It is suggested to eat oysters raw. They can make a nice appetizer.
#2 – Beef
While it has long been on the blacklist, you can eat beef healthfully with three simple tips and enjoy the cold-fighting benefits. Go lean and choose round, sirloin, or tenderloin, look for grass-fed, and simply eat less. Only a 3-ounce serving of beef can provide you with about 7 mg of zinc.
That’s about 100% of the daily amount for women and a little bit less for men. Try preparing beef in a stir-fry, a super-healthy veggie soup, or accompanied by a vegetable side dish.
#3 – Yogurt
Yogurt can also take part in the fight against the awful cold. An eight-ounce container of plain low-fat yogurt contains almost 2 mg of zinc, which is equal to about 20% of the daily recommended amount.
There many cool ways to enjoy yogurt if you don’t want to eat in plain, it can be great in various smoothies or top it with some tasty granola for more nutrients and fuel. Moreover, you can even cook with yogurt.
#4 – Swiss Cheese
Boost your sandwiches with some healthy and delicious Swiss cheese, or pair it with a few veggie sticks for extra nutrients. If you’re dying to know how many carbs in Swiss cheese, but you simply don’t have to eat a large portion to get some zinc. Actually, 1 ounce of Swiss cheese contains 1.2 mg or about 8% of the daily value.
#5 – Kidney Beans
Half a cup of these dark red beans will provide you with 0.9 mg of zinc (or 6% of your daily value). Also, they are full of antioxidants and iron. You can substitute kidney beans in any recipe that calls for pinto beans, and they are amazing in chili.
These beans can help you fight cold and at the same time offer you many other health benefits. Furthermore, Garbanzo beans are also a delicious way to get a healthy dose of not only zinc but also folate and manganese. Only a ½ cup of the legume has 2.8 mg of zinc.
#6 – Dark chicken meat
There’s an explanation for why we always tend to crave chicken soup when we’re sick: A 4-ounce serving of dark chicken meat will offer you 3.2 mg of zinc. For an advanced fighting ability, purchase an entire pasture-raised chicken instead of individual pieces.
Moreover, combining both light and dark meat on a whole chicken provides a complete nutrition profile with extra zinc.
#7 – Cashews
Cashews are one of the healthiest nuts out there. A small handful of cashews (about 1 ounce) or 1 tablespoon of nut butter has 1.6 mg of zinc. Take your nut game to the next level by adding cashews for a great boost of zinc to prevent the common cold.
For an easy and affordable option, you can make homemade cashew butter by blending unsalted roasted cashews in a blender until smooth. Then, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of homemade cashew butter to a banana, apple slices, or whole wheat toast. This is a nutritionally complete snack.
#8 – Quinoa
Quinoa is an old grain that’s gluten-free and high in zinc and protein. This amazingly beneficial grain has a mild flavor which goes well with pretty much anything! You can basically throw any mixture of vegetables, cheese, beans, or diced meats in it and have a balanced and tasty meal.
There are various creative recipes you can try or invent with quinoa. A 3/4 cup serving of quinoa contains about 2 mg of zinc.
#9 – Oatmeal
It’s time to switch to oatmeal for breakfast since half a cup of oatmeal offers you 1.6 mg of zinc. You can make your plain oatmeal more flavorful by sprinkling with cinnamon and any antioxidant-rich fruit you like, such as berries.
If you want to improve the zinc profile even more, try to add a small handful of sliced almonds to your oatmeal, thus you’ll end up with an easy protein-packed breakfast.
#10 – Broccoli
Broccoli is just incredible. Every ½ cup of cooked broccoli can offer you about 25 mg of zinc. You may have noticed that the total amount of zinc in broccoli is on the low end, compared to other foods on this list, yet, broccoli contains one of the highest zinc levels per kcal of any vegetable.
So while it’s not going to get you to your recommended daily amount, it can play a supporting role in a stir-fry or as a dipper.
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