Zinc is an important mineral that must be included in your diet. It helps in maintaining a healthy immune system, helping you cope with stress and protecting you from diseases. It also helps in maintaining the nervous system, leading to good mental and emotional health. It is also essential in building up proteins, enzymes, and DNA materials, and in strengthening the teeth and bones. It also prevents the development of degenerative diseases by reducing the blood concentration levels of homocysteine.
Another reason why zinc must be included in the diet is because its deficiency may lead to a variety of medical conditions, such as poor appetite, stunted growth, slow wound healing, severe and chronic diarrhea, skin rashes, and hair loss. Thus the proper amount of zinc must be included in the diet. Depending on age, the normal amount of zinc is around 2-15mg. In women, greater amounts of zinc must be consumed during pregnancy and lactation. Here are the foods that contain high amounts of zinc.
One of the richest sources of zinc is meat. It is more abundant in red meat than in white meat. Examples are roast beef, containing 10mg zinc per 100g, and lamb meat, containing 4-9mg of zinc per 100g. Other meats include ham, pork, chicken, and turkey, which contain around 2-3mg of zinc per 100g. Although zinc cannot be seen on the nutrition facts on the label of these food products, do not worry, because they still contain zinc.
To get the most amount of zinc, cook the meat in a little amount of water within a short time. Overcooking cause the zinc in the meat to become depleted.
Animal livers also contain high amounts of zinc, and the veal liver contains the greatest amount. Each 100g serving of veal liver contains 12 mg of zinc. Livers can be steamed or cooked with herbs and onions.
Another source of zinc is seafood. Oysters contain the highest amount of zinc. For every 100g of oysters, 16-182 mg of zinc is provided, depending on the type of oyster. Crabs also contain high amounts of zinc. The Alaska King crab provides 7.6mg of zinc per 100g serving. Other seafood rich in zinc includes fish, lobsters, and scallops.
Peanuts are also a good source of zinc. Oil roasted peanuts are better because these provide twice the amount of zinc than the dry roasted peanuts.
For vegetarians, seeds can be included in the diet because these also contain high amounts of zinc. Examples are watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Milk, cheese and yogurt are also good options for vegetarians.
For dessert, dark chocolate can be consumed, as this contains around 10mg of zinc for every 100 g of chocolate serving. The unsweetened type gives the most amount of zinc.
Although consuming foods with high amounts of zinc is good for your health, excessive amounts can still be dangerous to your health. It causes zinc poisoning, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Remember to consume only the right amounts that you need.