Zinc is an essential mineral the body needs in small amounts. Although the total quantity of zinc that is need is very low, the functions that zinc preforms makes it an important nutrient to pay attention to for proper health. Zinc is necessary for many basic bodily functions including the conversion of carbohydrates into energy and the synthesis of protein. Zinc is also vital the central nervous system allows transmission of neural messages throughout the body. Zinc is also vital in normal brain functioning including stress management and memory. Zinc is also a vital link in the processes that involve insulin production..
There are many symptoms that become evident in an individual who has zinc deficiency. The most noticeable are the loss of the sense of taste and smell. Hair loss or poor hair quality is also a frequent symptom of zinc deficiency along with poor skin health. Finally, because zinc is so vital in metabolism, lethargy and muscle weakness are often seen in patients with low zinc levels.
There are many foods that contain decent amounts of zinc, but for the most part is it easy to achieve the recommended daily allowance of 20mg per day by having a well balanced diet that includes foods from many different food groups. For those with a history of zinc deficiency, or for those experiencing the symptoms listed above, there are a number of foods that do contain high levels of zinc.
1. Oysters – The king of zinc. one oyster contains over 100% of the zinc needed in a day. This is problematic however because zinc poisoning is a danger when eating large quantities of oysters. Abnormally high levels of zinc in food will result in the in ability of the body to absorb other minerals like iron. If this is a chronic situation, severe complications can result from the iron deficiency.
2. Liver – A normal size portion of liver, either beef or veal has about half the zinc we need for a day. In general, liver is one of the most healthy meats we can eat as it is packed with large amounts of many different vitamins and minerals
3. Seeds – Most edible seed types contain good amounts of zinc. Adding seeds to a salad is a good way to increase the nutritional value of the salad. Also, roasted pumpkin and watermelon seeds are a great source of zinc.
4. Chocolate – We have to celebrate every time chocolate appears in a list of nutritious foods, but in the case of zinc, chocolate deserves its spot here.
6. Bran cereals – Along with heavy grain breads, or a good source of zinc as well as many other important minerals.
While these foods contain a lot of zinc, it is fairly easy to achieve proper zinc levels just by eating a normal diet that consists of lots of fruits and vegetables. While the amount they have is small, it easily is enough to satisfy the needs of our body.