Zinc is an important aspect of nutrition because it is vital for a healthy immune system, promotes healthy growth during childhood and healing wounds. Zinc deficiency in children can lead to growth impairments and increases the risk of infection. It has been suggested also that zinc deficiency among pregnant and lactating women may compromise infant development and lead to poor birth outcomes.
The following are some of the health benefits of zinc:
- Boost the immune system
- Improves growth and heath in zinc deficient infants and children
- Helps treating the common cold and recurrent ear infections, the flu, upper respiratory tract infections
- Prevents and helps to treat lower respiratory infections, swine flu, bladder infections, ringing in the ears, and severe head injuries.
The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
- Skin problems –– acne, dermatitis, and slow wound healing
- Hair loss
- Vision impairment
- Digestive issues such as acute diarrhea
- Continuing infections ––poor immune function
- Reproductive issues for both women and men –– the inability of testes and ovaries to function properly
- Depression/anxiety or other mood disorders
- Reduced ability to taste food
Zinc is known as an essential mineral, meaning it is essential to life and health. According to everydayhealth.com, “Zinc is an essential trace mineral, which means our bodies only need a small amount of it (8 mg for adult women and 11 mg for adult men) to maintain good health. While only a small amount may be needed, don’t underestimate the power of this mighty mineral.”
Our bodies can’t produce zinc, that’s why it must be consumed regularly as part of the diet. Common dietary sources of zinc include red meat, poultry, and fish.
Here are 10 foods that can help us hit our zinc quota every day.
(credit to healthline.com)
100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of raw ground beef contains 4.8 mg of zinc, which is 43% of the recommended daily intake.
Oysters contain particularly high amounts, with 6 medium oysters providing 32 mg, or 290% of a man’s daily recommended intake.
100 grams of cooked lentils contain around 12% of daily-recommended intake.
3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds contain 31% and 43% of the recommended daily intake.
1-ounce (28-gram) cashew serving contains 14% of daily-recommended intake.
100 grams of cheddar cheese contains about 28% of daily-recommended amount of zinc, while a single cup of full-fat milk contains around 9%.
1 large egg contains around 5% of daily-recommended intake.
- Whole Grains
Wheat, quinoa, rice and oats contain some zinc.
Potatoes, both regular and sweet varieties, contain approximately 1 gram per large potato, which is 9% of recommended daily intake. Other vegetables like green beans and kale contain less, at around 3% of recommended intake per 100 grams.
- Dark Chocolates
100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar of 70–85% dark chocolate contains 3.3 mg of zinc, or 30% of recommended amount.