Facts about Zinc: Best Food Sources of Zinc


Zinc is an essential mineral, which is also a micromineral that we need on a daily basis. Other known and common microminerals are manganese, calcium, iron, copper, iodine and molybdenum. Although, we need zinc in a very small amount (about 50 milligrams) but it plays many important roles in our body. Some of the major body functions done by zinc and lack of zinc in the body or zinc deficiency can lead several health problems. Zinc mineral can be found in the very cell in the body but it is found in greater amount in the in brain, adrenal glands and the pancreas. Because zinc has an influence on some of body’s major functions, we should not underestimate the importance of zinc. Adequate zinc nutrition is absolutely essential for body’s growth and development.


Among the many essential roles that zinc plays in the body, gene transcription is one of the most important ones. Gene transcription is a process of gene-reading or reading genetic instructions. In the each cell of the body there’s a nucleus. Nucleus contains almost hundred thousand of genes and these genes provide instructions to the cell. Without the help of the zinc cells cannot read the instructions and thus cannot work properly. Therefore, zinc is extremely important for the cells and gene transcription.

Zinc mineral is essential for good metabolic rate as well. Zinc deficiency leads to drop of metabolic rate and reduction of insulin response (which destabilizes the blood sugar levels). Zinc is involved in other functions such as protein synthesis, wound healing, immune function and growth and development during pregnancy. Lack of zinc mineral in the body can result in low levels of the male hormone testosterone, limit sperm formation and decrease sperm mobility. A daily intake of adequate amount of zinc is required because body has no natural way to store zinc mineral.

Zinc can be found in both plant foods and animal foods. Given Below is the list of best food sources of zinc.

  Best Food Sources of Zinc – Plant Foods (Vegetables) 


Best Food Sources of Zinc – Plant Foods (Nuts and Seeds) 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds



Best Food Sources of Zinc – Animal Foods 
  • Oysters
  • Lobsters
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Crab


Best Food Sources of Zinc – Other 


Zinc deficiency is characterized by lack of growth in children, depression, weak immune system, frequent cold, lack of appetite, weight loss, sexual problems and unstable blood sugar levels. Zinc is an important mineral in the prevention and treatment of health conditions and diseases such as Anorexia nervosa, Diabetes, Inflammatory bowel diseases, Infertility (male), Alzheimer's disease, Common cold and PMS.


Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Zinc:

Age
Male
Female
Pregnancy
Lactation
0–6 months
2 mg*
2 mg*


7–12 months
3 mg
3 mg


1–3 years
3 mg
3 mg


4–8 years
5 mg
5 mg


9–13 years
8 mg
8 mg


14–18 years
11 mg
9 mg
12 mg
13 mg
19+ years
11 mg
8 mg
11 mg
12 mg

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Zinc 

Age
Male
Female
Pregnant
Lactating
0–6 months
4 mg
4 mg


7–12 months
5 mg
5 mg


1–3 years
7 mg
7 mg


4–8 years
12 mg
12 mg


9–13 years
23 mg
23 mg


14–18 years
34 mg
34 mg
34 mg
34 mg
19+ years
40 mg
40 mg
40 mg
40 mg
Source: ODS

Excess amounts of zinc can have adverse effects in the body including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.






            
    

                  


                   


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