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Foods High in Zinc & Folic Acid

author image Kelsey Casselbury
Kelsey Casselbury is a freelance writer and editor based in central Maryland. Her clients have included Livestrong, School Nutrition magazine, What's Up? Media, American Academy of Clinical Chemistry, SmartBrief and more. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Pennsylvania State University.
Foods High in Zinc & Folic Acid
Enriched cereal grains are a good source of zinc and folic acid. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/asife

The human body needs a wealth of trace nutrients for optimal health, and zinc and folic acid — also known as folate or vitamin B9 — are just two of those nutrients. Zinc aids the body's immune system, is necessary to both smell and taste properly and plays a role in would healing, as well as the breakdown of carbohydrates.

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Women need both zinc and folic acid during pregnancy to help the fetus grow properly, and a lack of folic acid could lead to neural tube defects in newborns. Folate, as it's called when it appears naturally in food, is also important for healthy cell growth and function, even if people who are not pregnant.

Although both zinc and folic acid are available in supplement form, they can also be consumed as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Although there aren't any foods that are significant sources of both minerals, you can get both in one meal by combining foods that offer up each nutrient.

Read more: Side Effects of Too Much or Not Enough Zinc

Dietary Sources of Zinc

To get your 6.8 to 9.4 milligrams of zinc daily, the amount recommended for women and men, respectively, start with animal proteins, which are the top sources of the micronutrient.

Just 3 ounces of cooked oysters offers up 74 milligrams of zinc, much more than the recommended daily amount. Other animal sources of zinc include:

  • beef chuck roast
  • Alaska king crab
  • beef patties

However, if you're a vegetarian, don't fret — there are plant-based options for zinc, too. Fortified breakfast cereal contains nearly 4 milligrams of zinc per 3/4 cup serving, while a half-cup of canned baked beans have nearly 3 milligrams. Additional plant-based sources of zinc include:

  • yogurt
  • dry-roasted cashews
  • cooked chickpeas 
  • dry-roasted almonds
  • oatmeal 
Folate is plentiful in foliage, or leafy green vegetables.
Folate is plentiful in foliage, or leafy green vegetables. Photo Credit: Cavan Images/Cavan/GettyImages

Dietary Sources of Folate

Luckily for those who prefer a plant-based diet, folate is plentiful in vegetarian foods. Green leafy greens, also known as foliage, are such ample sources of folate that it provides the basis of the nutrient's name.

Additionally, a half-cup of cooked lentils contains 179 micrograms, a good portion of the 400 micrograms that both men and women are recommended to eat daily. Women who are pregnant should consume 600 milligrams of folate or folic acid per day, and breastfeeding women should consume 500 milligrams daily.

Other excellent sources of folate include:

  • cooked chickpeas
  • cooked asparagus
  • cooked spinach
  • cooked lima beans
  • orange juice
  • enriched spaghetti 
  • enriched white rice
  • enriched bread 

Read more: Natural Vs. Synthetic Folic Acid

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