Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body to maintain a good sense of smell, to maintain a healthy immune system, to build proteins, to trigger the work of enzymes and to create DNA.
Zinc also helps the communication of the cells of the body as it functions as a neuro-transmitter. A zinc deficiency can lead to growth retardation, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, skin and eye injuries, appetite problems and poor immunity. Conversely, in the short term, excessive consumption of zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and headaches and in the long term, can alter the absorption of copper and iron. As a general rule, foods of animal origin are better sources of zinc than vegetable foods. The recommended daily value (% DV) of zinc is 15 mg.
Next, the list of the 10 richest foods in Zinc
Depending on the type and variety of oyster, these can provide from 16 to 182 mg of zinc per 100 g serving. This represents between 110% -1200% of the RV for zinc. The variety richest in zinc is Eastern Wild Oyster, which provides 182 mg per 100 g serving, 76 mg (509% VD) in 6 oysters and 154 mg (1,029% VD) in a 3 oz. Serving.
Toasted wheat germ
The wheat germ is ideal for sprinkling on any food. You can try it in salads, rice or steamed vegetables. The roasted wheat germ provides 17 mg (112% VD) of zinc per 100 g serving, which represents 19 mg (126% VD) per cup and 1.2 mg (8% VD) in a single spoonful. Raw wheat germ (unroasted) provides 12 mg (82% VD) of zinc per 100 g serving, 14 mg (94% VD) per cup and 1 mg (6% VD) per tablespoon.
The liver of any animal is full of vitamins and minerals, and this is regularly consumed in the form of liver pate. Veal liver contains the most zinc, with 12 mg per 100 g serving, which represents 81% of the RV, that is, 8.98 mg of zinc (60% DV) in a cooked portion of liver (80 g) . The liver is healthier when it is steamed or sofrito with onions and herbs.
Low-fat beef contains approximately 10 mg (70% DV) of zinc per 100 g serving, 18 mg (119% DV) per 1 kg and 9 mg (59% V D) in a 3-oz. Serving. If you buy pre-processed roast beef, check the nutritional information on the type of cut and make sure it is low in fat.
Pumpkin seeds / pumpkin
Pumpkin seeds are a very popular food in the Middle East and East Asia. It contains approximately 10 mg (70% VD) of zinc per 100 g portion, 6.6 mg (59% VD) per cup, and 3 mg (19% VD) per ounce (~ 85 seeds). When preparing the pumpkin, store the seeds and serve them in the oven. To consume them, you must break the outer shell and eat the seed that is inside.
Watermelon Seeds / Dry Pin
Like pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds are a popular food in the Middle East and East Asia. You can eat them raw when you eat watermelon or you can roast them in the oven. Watermelon seeds, dried, provide 10 mg (70% DV) of zinc per 100 g portion, 11 mg (74% DV) per cup, and 3 mg (19% VD) per ounce.
Black chocolate and cocoa powder
Every day more, chocolate will show the health benefits of dark or bitter chocolate. The baking and unsweetened chocolate provides 9.6 mg (64% VD) of zinc per 100 g portion. Cocoa powder, without sugar, provides 6.8mg (45% DV) per 100 grams, or 5.4 mg (39% DV) per cup, 0.3 mg (2% DV) per tablespoon. Most milk chocolates provide around 2.3 mg (15% DV) per 100 g serving.
Lamb is a common meat in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and most of Europe, but its popularity in the Americas is increasing every day. The lamb provides between 4.2 and 8.7 mg of zinc per 100 g portion (28% – 58% VD) depending on the cut. It can provide up to 7.4mg (49% VD) in a 3 oz (85 gram) serving.
Peanuts are an excellent source of zinc. 100 grams of roasted peanut oil will provide 6.6 mg (44% DV) of zinc, 8.8 mg (59% DV) in 1 cup of chopped peanuts and 1.9 mg (12% DV) per ounce (~ 39 units). Roasted peanuts will provide half the zinc: 3.3mg (22% DV) for each 100 gram serving, 4.8 mg (32% DV) per cup, and 1 mg (6% DV) for each ounce.
Almost any type of crab will be a great source of zinc. Alaskan Spider crab, in particular, provides a good amount: 7.6 mg (51% VD) of zinc per 100-gram serving, which equals 10.2mg (68% VD) on a medium-sized wheel and 6, 5 mg (43% DV) in a 3 ounce serving.
- Healthy Immune Function Even a mild to moderate zinc deficiency can depress the immune system due to a diminished function of macrophages and neutrophils and their associated effects. Zinc is also essential for the creation and activation of lymphocytes. In addition, low levels of zinc have been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children and the elderly.
- Relief of the Common Cold (* Controversial) There are contradictory studies as to whether zinc supplementation may or may not alleviate the symptoms of the common cold and shorten its duration. At least one study confirms the reduction in the duration of cold symptoms, however, other studies report that there is no positive effect. Since no harm has been reported, increasing the intake of zinc could only help.
- Healing of cuts and wounds Zinc is essential for the skin and maintenance of healthy mucous membranes. Appropriate levels of zinc are necessary for the healing of wounds.
- Reduction of severity and duration of diarrhea Studies show that increasing zinc intake can reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea, especially in malnourished children with infections.
- Prevention and Reduction of eye damage related to age Consumption of zinc, as well as vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, have been associated with a reduction in macular degeneration related to age.
Groups at high risk of developing a zinc deficiency
- Alcoholics 30-50% of alcoholics have low levels of zinc since alcohol decreases the absorption of zinc and increases its secretion through the urine.
- Vegetarians The bioavailability of zinc is higher in meats and therefore is more easily absorbed. Legumes and whole grains contain phylates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption.
- Pregnant and lactating women A developing fetus requires a high amount of zinc, in the same way, there is a high amount of zinc lost through breast milk after birth.
- Children with exclusive breastfeeding Babies over 6 months of age should eat foods that are age-appropriate and that provide zinc because the amount in breast milk is no longer sufficient.
- People with sickle cell disease For unknown reasons, 44% of children, and 60-70% of adults with sickle cell disease have low levels of zinc.
- People with Gastrointestinal diseases Gastrointestinal surgery, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, short bowel syndrome and other digestive diseases can decrease the absorption of zinc and increase the loss of zinc from the body.
- People who consume high doses of iron supplements Iron can interfere with the absorption of zinc, to reduce this effect, iron supplements should be taken between meals to allow time for zinc to be properly absorbed.
- People who take diuretics Thiazide diuretics can increase zinc excretion by 60%, and in the long term, they can deplete zinc stores in body tissues. Be sure to check with your doctor to check your zinc levels; If you are taking these types of diuretics for a sustained period of time, be sure to eat more foods rich in zinc.
- People being treated with certain antibiotics Certain antibiotics such as quinolones and tetracycline antibiotics inhibit the absorption of zinc in the digestive tract. Zinc reduces the absorption of penicillamine, a medication used by people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Taking zinc supplements two hours before or after ingesting penicillamine solves this problem.
Oysters, liver, lamb and cheese are high cholesterol foods that should be consumed in moderate amounts and should be avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.
Pumpkin seeds and peanuts are high-calorie foods and should be consumed in moderate amounts by those with a high body mass index.