Zinc is one of the most important trace elements. Zinc deficiency is a major health problem worldwide. Causes of a deficiency can be nutritional, genetic or a result of diseases. Severe deficiency results in symptoms like dermatitis, weight loss, diarrhea, and decreased immunity. Supplementation may be necessary in cases of deficiency, but high doses zinc supplementation through a long time can result in copper deficiency or anaemia. Thus a rational use of supplementation in the required time is necessary.
By eating a healthy diet it is relatively easy to get enough zinc. Meats, poultry, and seafood are rich in this trace mineral. Some plant foods like legumes and whole grains are also good sources, but they also contain phytates that can bind to the mineral, lowering its absorption. Based on this information here are some examples of foods that you should eat regularly to assist.
Try adding these foods to add zinc to your diet:
This is a great source of zinc. A single ounce contains 25% of your daily requirement. If breakfast cereal is the start of your day (and look for a fortified variety,) sprinkle a few ounces on top of your cereal and you are halfway there, with few added calories. You can also mix them into yogurt or smoothies.
Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
This is another great source of zinc. At lunch sprinkle a few ounces on your salad and you will again be adding another 20% of your daily requirement. Pumpkin seeds are becoming popular as a salad topping, give it a try.
The legume, pea, or bean family is the third largest family of flowering plants, consisting of over 20,000 species. Legumes are a nutritious staple of diets around the world. They are an inexpensive source of protein, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Try to eat organic varieties to get the most minerals, organic vegetables are a good source of many trace minerals.
Legumes are emphasized by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines (about 3 cups a week) and the DASH Eating Plan of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (4-5 half-cup servings a week). They should be a side of most meals as an in-expensive healthy food.
Beef has lots of good-for-you nutrients, including protein, iron and vitamin B12. A 3-ounce cooked steak gives you 85 percent of daily zinc requirement. And a 3 ounce steak is not that much. Most servings are 6-8 ounces. When it comes to red meat like beef, moderation is key. Eating more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat per week is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Just six cooked oysters give you 472 percent of your daily requirement for zinc (talk about a powerhouse!). Oysters also provide 34 percent of your iron and 457 percent of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is crucial for cell health and helps prevent megaloblastic anemia, per the National Institute of Health.
Spinach (and other leafy greens) seems to have a little bit of everything that’s good for you: folate, plant-based iron, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K and magnesium to name a few. But spinach happens to be one of the few vegetables that have zinc. A 1-cup serving of cooked spinach contains 12 percent of your daily requirement of zinc, 20 percent for vitamin C and 25 percent for vitamin E.
As you can see getting enough zinc in your diet is not that difficult. Zinc deficiency has been linked to poor immune function, so if you find yourself catching colds more often than usual, consider whether you’re eating enough zinc. One quick way to determine if you have a deficiency: take a look at your fingernails. If you have white spots, you might want to get your zinc levels tested.