Zinc, also known as “essential trace element” as this mineral is necessary for a healthy immune system. Although required in small traces, it is very vital for a number of functions in the human body, and it also helps stimulate the activities of a lot of different enzymes. The unique characteristic of zinc is that the human body cannot store excess of it, and hence it must be consumed daily. It is needed for the proper growth and maintenance of human body. Even though a very small amount of zinc is required by the human body its deficiency could lead to various health issues. Zinc is naturally present in some food, added to others and also available as a dietary supplement. It is also a part of numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It also plays a crucial role in immune function, wound healing, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and cell division.

Benefits of Zinc

Zinc helps in controlling and regulating the immune system. It also protects the body against infectious and cancerous cells. Zinc can be an effective treatment against diarrhea and also prevents it from reoccurring. It is present in high concentration in the eyes, and helps maintaining a healthy vision. It has a major effect on memory and learning because it plays a key role in regulating how neurons communicate with one another. Zinc helps in treating common cold. It plays an important role in wound healing. It is often used in skin creams to treat rashes.

Zinc Deficiency

Insufficient dietary intake is one of the major reasons for zinc deficiency. Other factors responsible include malabsorption and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, skin cell disease and malignancy. Zinc deficiency causes loss of appetite, anemia, slow wound healing, abnormal taste and smell, depressed growth, diarrhea, hair loss, mental lethargy, skin conditions such as acne or eczema. In severe cases it may cause delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. Zinc deficiency during pregnancy could lead to a lot of complications.

Recommended Daily Zinc Intake

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
Birth to 6 months2 mg2 mg
7–12 months3 mg3 mg
1–3 years3 mg3 mg
4–8 years5 mg5 mg
9–13 years8 mg8 mg
14–18 years11 mg9 mg12 mg13 mg
19+ years11 mg8 mg11 mg12 mg
SOURCE : [1]

Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc is available in a lot of food items. A few of them are listed below.

1Oysters

The eastern oysters which are also called Wellfleet oyster, Atlantic oysters, Virginia oyster or American oyster are native to eastern north and South America. It is also farmed in Puget Sound, Washington. They usually grow three to five inches in length, but can reach a length of eight inches. Oysters are relished as a delicacy around the world. They are a rich source of Vitamin D, copper, zinc and manganese. They are rich in nutrients and low in calories, and hence they give you proper nourishment without increasing weight. Oysters are famous as an aphrodisiac, as it is high in zinc content which may treat sexual dysfunction in men.

  • Per 100g of cooked eastern oysters (wild) has 78.6 mg zinc in it. [2]
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