Zinc is an important mineral, which participates in many processes in the body. Like other minerals it should also be consumed by regular diet or like supplement. It helps the body to function properly and easily fight diseases.
WHY IS ZINC IMPORTANT?
More than 200 enzymes in the body need this mineral to function properly. Zinc is required for the creation of many hormones, including hormones that tell the immune system to fight when it is attacked by bacteria. Zinc is especially important for those hormones that regulate the growth of the body and the male hormone testosterone. Lack of zinc in males reduces testosterone levels and number of sperm.
Testosterone levels affects the sexual activity, the size of muscle mass, bone growth etc. Therefore, it is necessary for men to pay more attention.
Organism handles easier with colds and flu when there is enough zinc in it, because zinc helps to strengthen the immune system. Furthermore, zinc helps to maintain a good looking skin. It controls the secretion of the sebaceous glands and helps fight acne. Also good eye vision largely depends on zinc.
Most of the zinc in the body is concentrated in the skin, hair, nails and eyes (in males also in prostate).
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
Some of the symptoms that can occur when you have low levels of zinc in the body are: Children slow growth; frequent infections; slow wound healing; Hair loss; Loss of sense of taste; Skin irritation.
Which people have risk of zinc deficiency?
Strict vegetarians. Food of animal origin is the best source of zinc. Fruits almost does not contain this mineral. Therefore, this group is especially at risk of zinc deficiency. People who eat foods high in fiber. Food grains like cereal combines with zinc and thereby prevents its absorption by the body
Pregnant women and nursing mothers.
This group need extra amounts of the mineral, because part of it is passed on to their baby.
People aged 50 plus.
Ability of the body to absorb zinc decreases with the increase of age.
Regular consumption, even a small amount of alcohol, leads to reduced level of zinc in the body.
Recommended daily needs:
- Babies (0-6 months) – 2mg
- Babies (7-12 months) – 3mg
- Small children (1-3 years) – 3mg
- Children (4-8 years) – 5mg
- Children (9-13 years) – 8mg
- Men (14-18 years) – 11mg
- Women (14-18 years) – 9mg
- Men (19 years and up) – 11mg
- Women (19 years and up) – 8mg
- Pregnant women (19 years and up) – 11mg
- Breastfeeding women (19 years and up) – 12mg
Men need to import larger amounts than women. Pregnant women and nursing mothers also have higher daily needs of this mineral.
Foods rich in zinc:
1) Grass-fed Beef
3 oz: 4.9 mg (33% DV)
2) Kefir or Yogurt
1 cup: 2.2 mg (15% DV)
4 oz: 4.6 mg (30% DV)
4) Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
1 cup: 6.86 mg (46% DV)
5) Pumpkin seeds
¼ cup: 2.5 mg (17% DV)
1 oz: 1.6 mg (10% DV)
7) Cocoa powder
1 Tbsp.: 0.3 mg (2% DV)
3 oz: 2.25 mg (15% DV)
1 cup: 1.4 mg (9% DV)
1 cup: 1.4 mg (9% DV)
Daily needs of zinc are best to be imported through diet. Zinc is most abundant in red meat, fish and shellfish, nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and eggs. Fruits and vegetables contain minimal amounts of zinc. Most zinc can be found in pears, walnuts, cherries, beans, peas and lentils.