When I learned how important zinc was to the vital functioning of our bodies I wondered if I could add more zinc to my diet simply by using herbs high in zinc in my cooking. So, I did some research and found the 10 herbs highest in zinc:
Herbs high in zinc are
- Poppy seed
- Mustard seed
- Caraway seed
- Anise seed
- Dill seed
Let’s look at exactly what makes these herbs so zinc-rich and delicious at the same time. I’ll also mention the herbs that are lowest in zinc so you know which ones to avoid (or at least not rely on for your zinc intake). Lastly, I’ll share some easy ways to include these herbs high in zinc in your diet.
What herbs are highest in zinc?
The herbs highest in zinc are chervil, poppy seed, cardamom, celery seed, thyme, basil, mustard seed, caraway seed, anise seed, and dill seed. As you can tell by the list zinc is most plentiful found in herb seeds rather than in the leaves.
Herb seeds are full of zinc since the plant needs this mineral to develop its first roots and leaves. Once the mineral has been converted to energy it may no longer be present in large quantities in fresh herbs, with the exception of chervil, thyme, and basil.
Let’s look at these zinc-rich herbs in a bit more detail:
|Herb||Zinc / 100g|
|Mustard seed, yellow||6mg|
- Chervil: With 9mg of zinc per 100g, chervil is a powerhouse of zinc. In fact, it’s the herb that contains the most zinc per weight and volume. Chervil can be enjoyed fresh but the minerals are also preserved in its dried state.
- Poppy seed: Another fantastic herb high in zinc are poppy seeds. Commonly found in baked goods in Europe and North America poppy seeds contain up to 8mg of zinc per 100g.
- Cardamom: Frequently used in oriental dishes and native to the Indian subcontinent, cardamom is packed with zinc. You’ll get about 7mg of zinc from 100g of cardamom.
- Celery: Although celery can be classified probably either as an herb or a vegetable I have decided to include it in this list due to its herb-like usage. Just like cardamom, it provides around 7mg of zinc per 100g.
- Thyme: Likely you’ve already heard of this potent Mediterranean herb called thyme. Adding dried thyme leaves to your French and Italian dishes can actually boost your zinc intake by 6mg per 100g.
- Basil: Another herb commonly found in southern Europe is basil with its voluminous and fragrant leaves. Either consumed fresh or dried these leaves provide around 6mg of zinc per 100g.
- Mustard seed: You’ve probably only used mustard on hot dogs lately but did you know you can also use mustard seeds in cooking? There are plenty of Indian dishes that include roasted mustard seeds which are high in zinc. 100g of yellow mustard seeds will give you 6mg of zinc.
- Caraway seed: Also known as meridian fennel or Persian cumin, caraway seeds contain plenty of zinc, up to 5mg per 100g. These zinc-rich seeds can be roasted and then added to flavorful dishes or used in baking.
- Anise seed: Anise is native to southern Asia and provides a distinctly potent flavor. It can be used in baking as well as with a variety of meats and contains 5mg of zinc per 100g.
- Dill seed: This herb is more commonly eaten fresh in salads but you can actually also eat dill seeds. The seeds are higher in zinc than the herb’s leaves at 5mg per 100g.
And there you have it, the top 10 herbs highest in zinc. Of course incorporating all of these into your diet will pose a nearly impossible task, but why not pick a few you like and start experimenting.
Before we go on to the importance of zinc for our health let’s briefly look at some herbs that are particularly low in zinc.
What herbs are low in zinc?
Herbs that are low in zinc are chives, mint, rosemary, and marjoram. Although they may contain traces of this mineral consuming any one of these will not boost your body’s zinc levels in any significant way.
Herbs that are low in zinc are
Why zinc is important
Zinc supports our body in several important functions. It aids with immunity, reproduction and sexual health, and growth and development. Zinc can be especially important for men as it has shown to play a vital role in fertility and sexual function.
Furthermore, zinc works synergistically with vitamin A to support skin cells in creating smooth and glowing skin. Thus, zinc can be especially beneficial for people with skin problems such as acne or eczema.
Free radicals can cause damage to our cells if left to their own devices. However, zinc is an antioxidant that can bind free radicals and prevent them from wreaking havoc.
How to add more zinc-rich herbs to your diet
Adding some of the herbs highest in zinc to your diet can significantly improve your body’s zinc levels. For efficiency’s sake, I will focus on the three herbs highest in zinc which are chervil, poppy seeds, and cardamom.
Here’s how to herbs high in zinc to your meals:
- Cook french with chervil: Chervil is almost exclusively used in French cooking but you don’t have to live anywhere near Paris to add it to your meals. This herb goes well with eggs of any kind – cooked, poached, scrambled, or omelet. And if eggs are not your thing try adding chervil to baked halibut and other mild fish.
- Baking with poppy seeds: Poppy seeds are not easily consumed on their own but can be added to a wide range of baked goods. Whether you are making bread, cakes, biscuits, or bagels, think poppy seeds. In some bakeries, you’ll also find bread and rolls covered with these zinc-rich seeds.
- Chicken & cardamom: Perhaps you’ve only heard of cardamom from your local barista and their superb chai latte but actually there is much more to this herb than meets the eye. Cardamom goes fantastically with Persian and Indian dishes such as cardamom butter chicken or cardamom chicken with rice pilaf.
Adding these herbs high in zinc to your dishes is much easier than you might think. I have found that simply having them around near my cooking area made it more likely that I’d actually use them.
Although seafood and meats are the best sources of zinc, there are many herbs high in zinc that can be easily added to your diet. I’d recommend going through the list above and simply picking the ones you like best.
Look for recipes that include the ones you like and get cooking 😉
“Wild Chervil” by Anne Worner is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0; “Turnip-rooted chervil” by Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel is licensed under CC BY 2.0; “Poppy seed bagel” by Ezra.Wolfe is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0