In this article, we’ll talk about what zinc is, what the benefits are, how much is the recommended daily allowance, seven zinc-rich foods, and what happens if you suffer from a zinc deficiency.
Keep reading for more information!
What is zinc?
Zinc is a trace element that we need in very small amounts.
Zinc is a mineral essential for the normal functioning of cells. It is involved in tissue formation and hormone production, and plays a significant role in the occurrence of most enzyme-related chemical reactions.
Zinc is usually found in muscles, bones, brain, kidneys, and liver. In addition, this mineral is found in abundance in semen, eyes and prostates.
Recommended amount of zinc-containing food
Although zinc requirements vary with age and gender, a recommended daily amount of this mineral is between 10 and 13 mg.
Here is the recommended amount of zinc by age group:
- Babies 0-6 months: 2 mg
- Infants 7-12 months: 3 mg
- Infants 1-3 years of age: 3 mg
- Children 4-8 years of age: 5 mg
- Children 9-13 years of age: 8 mg
- Teenage boys, 14 to 18 years of age: 11 mg
- Adult men: 11 mg
- Teenage girls, 14-18 years of age: 9 mg
- Adult women: 9 mg
- Pregnant women: 11-12 mg
- Lactating women: 12-13 mg
Seven zinc-containing foods
Meat is rich in zinc, especially in the liver. Beef liver can contain up to 7.3 mg of zinc per 100 gm.
Other foods containing zinc include meat, especially beef, as it can contain up to 6.2 mg / 100 g.
Pork and pork liver have the next highest content of zinc.
Poultry meat has the third most zinc. In addition to being healthy and easily available, chicken and turkey can contain up to 5 mg of zinc per 100 g.
In general, seafood is worth eating as it is a zinc-rich food.
Mussels contain the most zinc, as they can contain up to 7 mg / 100 g.
Another good option is a crab with about 4.7 mg of zinc per 100 g.
Nuts, such as hazelnuts and almonds, are also good examples of zinc-rich food, as they can contain up to 4 mg of this mineral per 100 g.
4. Dairy products
Yogurt, milk and cheese are also high in zinc, especially cheddar cheese. However, it should be used in moderation as it is high in calories and salt.
5. Grains and seeds
Using whole grains is a good way to include zinc in your diet, even if your body doesn’t absorb it as much because of the phytic acid they contain. The phytic acid contained in whole grains can inhibit the absorption of some micronutrients.
However, yeast reduces the amount of phytic acid, thus favoring zinc absorption.
For better absorption of zinc, you should eat bread made from wholemeal flour with yeast, oats, pumpkin seeds, and especially brewer’s yeast, as it is high in zinc.
Dark chocolate is useful in many ways. Among other things, it can help protect the immune system. 100g of unsweetened dark chocolate contains 10 mg of zinc, which is about 100% of the recommended daily amount.
In addition, 100 g of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 40% of the recommended daily amount of zinc.
As with other minerals, zinc is also intended as a dietary supplement for people suffering from zinc deficiency.
However, keep in mind that excessive amounts of zinc can also cause health problems, and therefore we recommend that you use supplements only as prescribed by your doctor.
Health effects of zinc
As we mentioned earlier, zinc plays a significant role in many metabolic processes and enhances the function of enzymes, the immune system, and neurological functions.
Zinc is also involved in the development of cell membranes and gene expression.
Some studies have shown that zinc is a potential treatment for the symptoms of the common flu, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, and even HIV / AIDS.
Zinc deficiency can cause pregnancy complications, problems with children’s physical development, and weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infections. That is why it is important to include zinc-rich foods in your diet.
More than 300 mg of zinc a day is toxic. This can lead to stomach problems, blood in the urine or drowsiness. Excessive amounts of zinc can also affect the absorption of copper. It can cause copper deficiency, which in turn can lead to anemia, cardiac arrhythmia, or fatigue.
A balanced and varied diet is always the healthiest way to get all the nutrients you need to keep your body functioning properly.