Eating foods high in zinc has a vital importance for our body. Zinc plays a very important role for our metabolism. It is a must for a strong immune system and protein production in the body. It helps our scars heal sooner. It also has a role in formation of DNA.
We can take the zinc quantity we need from variety of foods. A man over 19 needs 11 mg of zinc while a woman at the same age needs 9 mg.
The most common zinc resource is red meat. In meat, there it is found in abundant quantity. But it is not he only resource. There is enough zinc in almonds, nuts and vegetables such as chickpea and beans.
Foods High in Zinc
Animal foods: Mussels, beef and other red meats contain a high amount of zinc. For example 6 medium-sized shrimps contain approximately 70 mg zinc.
80 grams of red meat meets approximately half of the daily zinc requirement. Other animal foods such as chicken, milk, yogurt and cheese are also rich in zinc.
Nuts: 30 grams (almost 1 handful) of cashew contains 1.6 mg of zinc, 1 handful of almonds contain 1 mg and again 1 handful of peanuts contain 0.9 mg of zinc.
Consuming 1-2 handful a day from these foods will be enough to meet a significant portion of the need for zinc. In addition, 100 grams of pumpkin seeds daily meets all the of zinc needs.
Vegetables: Vegetables are not very good sources of zinc because our body cannot process the zinc we take from vegetables like zinc from animal foods. However, some vegetables contain a high quantity of zinc.
For example, 1 bowl of cooked spinach contains about 1.5 mg of zinc and 1 bowl of mushrooms contains 1.3 mg of zinc. Apart from these, green peas, okra and asparagus are a good source of zinc.
Complete list of foods with zinc: https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/usdandb/Zinc-Content.pdf
- Deficiency of zinc in the body results in weakening of the immune system. This makes the body vulnerable against infections and other diseases.
- Zinc deficiency lowers the exercise capacity of the body and can cause body to work much faster during exercise. Loss of appetite is another symptom of zinc deficiency.
- You may observe decrease in smell and taste senses.
- Lack of sufficient zinc in the body may cause skin irritation and itching. The healing process of scars may take more time than usual.
- Zinc deficiency can cause confusion in the mind and weaken problem solving ability.
Who are under risk of zinc deficiency?
Alcohol Drinkers: %40 of people who drink alcohol regularly have been observed to have zinc deficiency. This is because alcohol negatively effects the process of zinc by the body.
Vegetarians: Vegetarians are also more likely to have zinc deficiency because animal foods are rich in zinc. The body absorbs the zinc from animal foods more easily.
Pregnant and nursing women: The developing fetus needs a high amount of zinc. Likewise, during breastfeeding after birth, the mother loses a high amount of zinc through milk.
Those with sickle cell disease: 60 to 70% of patients with sickle cell disease have zinc deficiency.
Those having gastrointestinal disease: Zinc deficiency is common in patients with Crohn’s disease. Those with ulcerative colitis, intestinal diseases and other digestive tract problems are likely to have .
Those who take iron supplements: When high amount of iron is taken, zinc absorption can be suppressed and this may cause the zinc level to decrease.
Foods containing zinc such as oysters, liver, lamb and cheese should also be consumed in a controlled way because they contain high cholesterol.
Sesame, pumpkin seeds and peanuts are high calorie, so they can increase the weight.
Some medications, such as antibiotics and penicillamine, may interfere with zinc absorption.