Zinc is one of the most crucial minerals that your body requires to be healthy. It is usually found in food, in the form of supplements and from other sources. It is responsible for various functions in one’s body, making it a must-have nutrient in your body.
Unfortunately, zinc deficiency has become an increasing global health condition affecting many people daily. Of course, inadequate consumption of foods rich in zinc is one of the major causes of this malnutrition condition. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), zinc deficiency is the fifth cause of diseases across the globe. Statistics show that millions of people worldwide usually take diets that have inadequate amounts of zinc.
Could it be because of ignorance of the foods that contain zinc? Or lack of time to prepare such meals? Or poverty? Well, although ignorance and these other factors may have played their part, there is also having digestive disorders that make it hard for an individual to absorb zinc.
The importance of having enough zinc in your body cannot be overemphasized. Zinc plays a significant role in cellular metabolism activities like:
• Catalytic activities
• In boosting immune activities
• Protein synthesis
• Healing wounds
• Synthesis of DNA
• Cell division
• Supports the growth and development of the fetus
• Important in tasting and smelling
• Used in maintaining proper condition of the body
Zinc is one nutrient that every pregnant and lactating mothers should continuously be taking if they want their babies to develop normally. Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has come up with recommendations of how much zinc one should consider taking. From their recommended daily intake, lactating mothers who are above 19 years should take 12mg daily.
7 Super Foods to Take for Zinc
Research has shown that animal products usually contain more zinc than plant-based foods. It is also notable that the zinc fraction that is often retained and beneficial to the body is higher in animal products than in plants. Seafood is also a significant source of zinc.
The presence of sulfur and the absence of zinc inhibiting activities in various animals and seafood could be the sole reason why the zinc absorption of animal foods is higher. Most of the plants that contain zinc usually contain phytic acid, which makes absorption of zinc slower or inhibits it completely. This poses a threat to most vegans who need to take 50% more of zinc.
Fortunately, they can easily deactivate this acid by doing some exercises like heating, fermenting, soaking, and leavening. That explains why most of our grandmothers used to soak beans overnight before boiling them the following day. If you can have 2 to 3 servings of the following foods daily, you can be sure of obtaining an optimal level of zinc needed by your body:
Lentils are a great source of zinc that is suitable for vegetarians. They are known for their awesome health benefits that they give. They are rich in some nutrients like polyphenols and even micronutrients. They are also very rich in protein. The beauty with lentils is that it has less phytic acid, making the zinc in it to be easily absorbed.
They are high in fatty acids and protein. These nuts strike a balance between copper and zinc in your body, maintaining good health in you. They help in fighting heart diseases, promote healthy bones and healthy brain, weight loss, and reduction in inflammation.
Probiotics are a great type of food that you will need in relieving gas. It supports healthy and proper digestion, boosting your mood, and immune system. Besides, it is excellent in promoting cardiovascular health. Yogurt is also rich in zinc.
Many people have known spinach for their high level of zinc. It is a great protective food that helps in reducing obesity, heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes, among other conditions. With spinach, you get more than zinc.
Avocado is an excellent fruit that is not only tasty but very rich in zinc. It is well-packed with multiple nutrients that make it an excellent fruit for a healthy body. According to research, avocado boosts nutrient absorption and makes your diet better.
If you are looking for a way of increasing zinc content in your body, this could be a great source. If you are not a vegetarian, you will need chicken for vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamin B12 is essential in maintaining a healthy heart, boosting moods, maintaining skin condition, and energy levels.
According to research in Nutrition and Cancer, pumpkin seeds are great in reducing breast cancer in women who have hit menopause. It is an excellent food for maintaining prostate health and mental health. Some other foods that contain large volumes of zinc include Oysters, beef chuck, beef patty, breakfast cereals, lobster, pork, and beans, among others.
According to a survey conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals (CSFII), infants, children, and most adults usually take enough amount of zinc. However, the elderly who are above 60 years take less zinc, which is alarming.
Our bodies will always need other nutrients, but zinc is one essential nutrient that we need the most. People with gastrointestinal disorders, pregnant and lactating mothers, individuals suffering from sickle cell condition, and alcoholics are at risk of zinc deficiency hence the need for more of this crucial nutrient.