There is a lot of bad information going around about virus cures. One meme going around is that zinc will prevent Coronavirus. This has led to a run on Cold-EEZE lozenges. The idea behind these lozenges is that if you eat them regularly right at the beginning of a cold, the zinc in them will reduce the time and severity of a cold. There is science to back it up, although it is not a magical cure and it does not prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
The rumor that zinc can prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19) started because someone shared an email that a doctor sent to his family and close friends. He gave all the good advice you hear about avoiding crowds and washing your hands, and one point in his letter suggested that zinc could help.
This is probably good doctorial advice, but not specific to lozenges and it is not advice from the leading expert on coronavirus. Just decent general advice to fight any cold or flu.
I am not a doctor. But I like to write about (and cook) (and eat) food and it seems like a better strategy might be to have healthy amounts of zinc in your diet at all times to ward off any type of illness. The last thing you would want to do is buy those lozenges and be sucking on them every day. Instead, getting more zinc in your diet from your daily food would be a great way to improve your defenses.
Which Foods Have High Zinc?
The highest levels of zinc in foods are red meats and shellfish. The problem with this is that eating them every day would not be good for you. During any cold and flu season though, maybe a few more meals with those things could help.
However, I want to be at a good, even level of zinc in my body all the time and I cannot do it with shrimp and burgers. (wish I could) Instead, there are a number of things that are easy to eat every day and when done regularly will sustain your zinc levels at a higher level.
Beans, Lentils, And Chick Peas Are High In Zinc
Black Beans, Chick Peas and Lentils are the 3rd highest common foods that contain zinc. You need several helpings a day, but it is fairly easy to eat beans with your breakfast, a cup of lentil soup with your lunch and beans as a side dish at dinner. We always have 2-3 helpings a day in our family. It is important to soak the beans before cooking to improve the digestibility and absorption of the zinc. See our easy black bean recipe here.
Seeds Are High In Zinc
Next is seeds. The funny thing about seeds is you can toss them into many dishes to add a health boost. That recipe I just mentioned for healthy black beans has flaxseeds added to them. Talk about packing a zinc punch. Black beans and flaxseed are full of zinc. Other seeds that can be even better are help seeds, squash and pumpkin seeds. These are a bit harder to eat but high in zinc. Sesame seeds are also high in zinc and they can be sprinkled on top of a lot of dishes to make them look great and add benefits.
Nuts Are High In Zinc
Nuts are also a great option for zinc. Peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, and almonds are all good sources of zinc and they can be eaten as a snack between meals or added to salads or sauces. Another option is a serving of peanut butter, which has 0.85 mg of zinc. That is 7.7 % of the recommended daily intake for men and 10.6 % for women.
Beyond that, zinc levels go down but you do get some from dairy and eggs. Some vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, are high in zinc.
Lastly, it might be time to indulge in some sweets. Dark chocolate which is less sweetened can contain a high amount of zinc, but also has a lot of calories that make it something you do not want to try to use as your exclusive source of zinc to fight off the coronavirus or other illnesses.
Viruses going to be a major concern to people, but the advice in this article is good for getting better levels of zinc from natural sources which has been proven to improve health and fight off viruses or at least reduce their severity. And most of the food listed here is great for you anyway.