Eating a variety of vegetables daily can provide your body with many essential vitamins and minerals. The mineral zinc, abundant in protein foods such as meat, can be found in some vegetables. The vegetables highest in zinc are a diverse group and include many pantry staples as well as fresh fare found in the garden, farmers' market or grocery store produce department.
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Zinc RDA. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for zinc vary depending on sex, age and health status. In general, men ages 19 and older need 11 milligrams of zinc daily. Women ages 19 and older require a bit less, only 8 milligrams daily. Zinc is not a mineral the body can store, so daily amounts are necessary for optimum health.
Consider adding these zinc-rich vegetables to your plate. All zinc quantities are provided via the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrient database.
- Asparagus: Whether picked fresh from the garden or selected from the market, asparagus pairs well with grilled chicken, pasta and other entrees. One cup cooked has 1.08 milligrams of zinc.
- Chickpeas: Canned and drained, a cup of chickpeas added to a salad or casserole or blended to make hummus can provide your body with 1.59 milligrams of zinc.
- Corn: Yellow, canned corn is a staple vegetable in many pantries. It can be served as a side dish or stirred into soups or stews and is a great add-in to many casseroles. One cup has .56 milligrams of zinc.
- Edamame: Edamame, or soybeans, can be found in the frozen vegetable section of many grocery stores. One cup of this vegetable boasts 2.12 milligrams of zinc.
- Kidney beans: Delicious in chili, soup or stew and in a classic kidney bean salad, 1 cup (canned/rinsed) has 1.17 milligrams of zinc.
- Lima beans: Mix with corn to form succotash or serve on their own. Either way, a 1 cup serving of lima beans offers 1.59 milligrams of zinc.
- Morel mushrooms: Just five morel mushrooms offer 1.3 milligrams of zinc. In comparison, five shiitake mushrooms have 1 milligram.
- Palm hearts:This vegetable may not be as familiar as corn or kidney beans, but 1 cup (canned) of palm hearts has 1.68 milligrams of zinc. They can be substituted in some dishes for artichoke hearts and are often used in various South and Central American salad recipes.
- Peas:A handful of fresh, raw peas from the garden is a treat. One cup of raw peas has 1.8 milligrams of zinc. Canned peas have slightly less zinc per cup at 1.21 milligrams.
- Russet potatoes: One large russet potato has 1.07 milligrams of zinc, while a large sweet potato has only .58 milligrams of zinc.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Delicious in salads, on wraps and more, 1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes has 1.07 milligrams of zinc. A large fresh tomato has only .31 milligrams; however, 1 cup of tomato paste has 1.65 milligrams of zinc.
Before making any dietary changes, talk with your physician. He or she can determine how much zinc you need for your best health.