Importance Of Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral, which is required by your body in trace amounts. It is important for a healthy immune system and protein synthesis. Zinc is also important for the growth and development of the body. A lack of zinc may lead to many conditions like diarrhea in children, stunted growth, and slow wound healing.
The recommended dietary allowance for zinc is 11 mg per day for adult men and 8 mg per day for adult women.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the intake is 11mg and 12mg per day respectively.
Food rich in zinc
100 g of Lamb contains 4.8 g of zinc. It is the best source of zinc for non-vegetarian people. Besides zinc, lamb also contains other essential nutrients like Vitamin B12, selenium, iron, phosphorous, protein, and niacin.
1 cup of pumpkin seeds contains 6.6 mg of zinc. They are a great source of fibre and plant-based protein. Eat a tsp or two pumpkin seeds every day to fulfil your daily zinc requirement.
1 cup of chickpeas contains 2.5 mg of zinc. If you are a vegetarian, then chickpeas are the best source of zinc for you. They are also high in fibre and protein.
1 cup of lentils contains 2.5 mg of zinc. Lentils are also rich in polyphenol and micronutrients. They are also an excellent source of plant-based protein.
2 Tbsp of hemp seeds contain 5 mg of zinc. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with zinc. They are also good for your heart health.
100 grams of chicken contains 1 mg of zinc. Non-vegetarians can choose from a wide variety of zinc-rich foods. Chicken is not only high in zinc but is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and lean protein.
100 g of Oysters contain 16 g of Zinc. Oysters have the highest amount of zinc. If you want to increase your zinc levels, then you should include oysters in your diet.
2 Tbsp of cashews contains 1.6 mg of zinc. Cashews are great to munch on and fulfil your daily requirement of zinc. Along with zinc, cashews are rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, copper, folate, protein, and healthy unsaturated fats.
1 cup of yoghurt contains 1.4 mg of zinc. Yoghurt is a probiotic food that promotes good bacteria for a healthy gut. It is a good source of zinc and supports healthy digestion, boosts immunity, improves gut health and cardiovascular health.
1 cup of mushrooms contains 1.4 mg of zinc. Mushrooms are an excellent vegetarian source of zinc. In addition, they have anti-inflammatory properties and help to boost immunity.
Benefits of zinc
Zinc Improves Immune System
Zinc activates the cells called T- lymphocytes in our body that are important for proper immune function.
These cells help in protecting the body from infections and also to fight cancer.
An inadequate amount of zinc in the body can weaken these immune cells.
As a result, people deficient in zinc suffer from low immunity and are more susceptible to falling sick, recurrent infections, skin conditions, and other chronic diseases.
Zinc Boost Eye Health
Zinc activates Vitamin A, which is essential for good eye health.
It helps the transfer of Vitamin A from liver to the retina and also produces Melanin that protects eyes from UV rays.
Zinc can reduce inflammation and oxidation and improve eye vision.
A study on Zinc by the American Optometric Association explains the role of zinc supplements in preventing AMD (Age-related macular degeneration).
Zinc-rich foods can significantly improve your overall eye health.
Zinc Promotes Wound Healing
An adequate amount of zinc in the body helps to fasten the process of healing.
For example, it helps treat infections and heals the wounded skin.
This trace metal helps in formation of platelet cells and haemostasis, cell proliferation and reduces inflammation.
Conversely, low levels of zinc in the body lead to a delay in wound healing and deficiency of zinc can cause skin lesions, growth retardation, etc.
Zinc Promotes Skin Health
Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat various skin conditions, like acne and skin infections.
It also protects skin from UV rays of the sun, treats melasma and rosacea.
This is the reason for the popularity of Zinc based sunscreens in the market.
A study discusses the benefit of Oral intake of zinc-rich foods daily to get rid of acne naturally.
Zinc Promotes Muscle Growth and Repair
Zinc promotes cell growth and maintains muscle health. It also helps release the growth hormone, testosterone, and encourages muscle mass building and fastens muscle repair.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
While zinc deficiency is rare, it has a higher chance of occurring in certain groups. They are as follows
Individuals with gastrointestinal disorders
Pregnant or lactating women
Older infants who are exclusively breastfed
Vegetarians and vegans
People who have sickle cell disease
Those who suffer from alcohol addiction