Zinc plays a very critical role in several functions of the body such as neurological functions, immunity, fertility and overall energy levels of the body. It is an essential element required in small quantities by the body. It is a component of every cell, bone, organ and tissue of the body. Some common symptoms of zinc deficiency are low energy, chronic fatigue, decreased immunity, inability to focus, slow wound healing, white marks on nails, thinning hair, acne and ringing in ears. Pregnant and lactating women are especially at higher risk of zinc deficiency.
Why Does the Body Need Zinc?
Zinc is also an anti-oxidant and prevents cell damage by oxidation damage. Zinc is a component of over a hundred enzymes of our bodies that help in various bodily functions. It is also found in the mucous membrane of lungs and throat and has anti-microbial properties.It helps in proper immune function, maintaining skin health, and in promoting sexual health in males and females. Adult males require around 11 mg and females require 8 mg per day.
How Can Zinc Deficiency Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent zinc deficiency is to add foods that are rich in zinc. As part of natural intake, zinc can be found in high quantities in sea fishes, dark meats and other common food items such as:
1 . Pumpkin Seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds can give you 8.4 mg of zinc. For vegetarian eaters this is a great option which tops the list with Zinc forming 57% of the Dietary value of pumpkin seeds. It can be a great healthy snacking option.
2 . Kidney Beans
Rajma or kidney beans are a great non-meat source of Zinc, which is good news for vegans and vegetarians looking to get the Zinc requirements met They can be eaten as a side dish by themselves or added to any entree to boost fiber intake and add additional protein. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (2.79 milligrams), 127 calories.
3 . Egg Yolk
Egg yolks contain a good zinc content besides containing all the vitamins that are in an egg as well. So by eating the, yolk you may be getting more fat but you’re also getting Vitamins A, E, D and K, as well as additional amounts of minerals, which more than make up for any potential drawbacks. Serving Size (100 grams), Zinc (4.93 milligrams), 322 calories.
4 . Dark Chocolate
Cocoa present in chocolates especially dark chocolates is a rich source of zinc with 8-9 mg zinc in every 85 gm. So now you have an excuse to sink your teeth into those sinfully tempting packet of chocolates!
5 . Mushrooms
Mushrooms have a good zinc content which makes them an ideal add-on to any meal.. They have a healthy assortment of vitamins and minerals, and several types of mushrooms have been shown to have anti-cancer benefits. Serving Size of Shiitake mushrooms (100 grams), Zinc (7.66 milligrams), 34 calories.
6 . Chickpeas
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber and minerals including zinc. 1 cup of cooked chickpeas can give you 2.5 mg of zinc. In addition to this, chickpeas are high source of protein and fiber.
So, go ahead and add these foods to your daily diet to ensure that you get a daily dose of zinc naturally. Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy!