Zinc, found in an extensive range of food sources, is an essential mineral that the body needs for its smooth functioning. Although it is required only in small doses, almost 100 various enzymes need it as a part of chemical reactions. Zinc plays an essential role in DNA reaction, growth of cells, restoring tissue, and protein building. To top that, it plays an integral role in taste and smell too. Toh kaunse kaunse khaane mein zinc hota hai? Chalo, dekhtein hai.
5 Benefits Of Zinc
1. Boosts The Immune System
The integral role that zinc plays in the growth and healing of cells makes it an essential component for immune health. Lack of sufficient quantities of zinc makes the body susceptible to contracting infections like pneumonia. Experts believe that taking zinc within 24v hours of getting a cold prevents the health condition from prolonging.
2. Initiates Healing Of Wounds
Just as zinc assists in cell growth, it is important for healing of wounds and skin repair. Individuals with low quantities of zinc suffering from skin ulcers should increase the intake of this mineral for health benefits.
3. Reverses Symptoms Of Diarrhoea
Zinc has proven to control the symptoms of diarrhoea and also reduce its duration. The importance of zinc in treating diarrhoea becomes evident on observing the increased incidence of death among malnourished populations due to the lack of intake of zinc in sufficient quantities. Hence, UNICEF and World Health Organizations recommend that children diagnosed of diarrhoea take a zinc supplement for 10 to 14 days.
4. Controls Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye condition related to blurring at the centre of the eyes, which causes distorted vision. It is common among people over 55. Several researches have shown that the mineral may be beneficial in reducing the risk of aggravation of the eye condition with age and also slow the pace of its progression.
5. Prevents The Onset of Various Other Health Conditions
Zinc is at the root of preventing the onset of several health conditions like delayed sexual development, impotence in men, slow growth among infants and children, hair loss, weight loss, reduced alertness, loss of appetite, skin and eye sores, among others.
Read: 17 Calcium-Rich Foods To Include In Your Daily Diet
12 Foods Enriched With Zinc
All seeds are good sources of zinc. However, pumpkin seeds deserve a special mention. Roast and sprinkle some salt on it for a yummy evening or afternoon snack.
Like seeds, nuts are also rich in zinc, cashews and almonds being the best source of this mineral among all the other varieties of nuts. Cashews offer a healthy punch of protein, fibre, and healthy fats when taken in restricted proportions. Almonds, on the other hand, are leaden with fibre, protein, and vitamin E, apart from zinc.
Not just the above two, other nuts like pine nuts are a good source of zinc, other than being rich in fibre, good fats, and several other minerals and vitamins. They make for a tasty snack when paired with dried fruits. What’s more, nuts have also been found to reduce the risk of serious health conditions like heart diseases and cancer. They also add years to your life, enabling you to live longer.
Read: 10 Calcium-Rich Alternatives For Milk
3. Dairy Products
Cheese should come to your mind first when you want to stock up on some zinc through dairy products. So, the next time you want to avoid cheese as it adds to your calories, you now know why you should include a bit of it in healthy proportions. Another dairy product rich in this mineral is yoghurt. Apart from zinc, yoghurt is also high in protein, probiotics for gut health, and other nutrients.
4. Whole Grains
The family of whole grains include wheat, rice, quinoa, oats – all of which contain some zinc. They contain phytates, an anti-nutrient that inhibits the optimal absorption of zinc in the body as much as animal products do. Hence, they are not as effective as a source of zinc as compared to meat sources. Refined grains contain more of this anti-nutrient that reduces their efficiency as a source of this mineral, although they are far better for your health. Apart from zinc, whole grains also contain magnesium, vitamin Bs, fibre, selenium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus. To top that, they boost longevity and reduce the risk of medical conditions like heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
5. Rolled Oats
Made with a whole lot of whole food grains, rolled oats are evidently a high food source for zinc. Being easily digestible implies that your body gets to make the most of the zinc that these oats contain.
A great breakfast cereal like oats, they are also enriched with the goodness of zinc. The mixture of seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and nuts make it a food source that has the best of zinc-rich foods in it.
Legumes refer to lentils, beans, peanuts, and chickpeas, which are high in protein and fibre, apart from being enriched with zinc, of course. Chickpeas tops the list when it comes to you making the most of zinc from these good sources. Baked beans also contain zinc. However, legumes also contain phytates. However, legumes remain an effective source of zinc for vegetarians and vegans. Incorporate it in your diet in the form of soups, salads, and stews as they are also rich in protein and fibre.
Although most vegetables and fruits are not great sources of zinc, there are some exceptions to the list. They can prove to be beneficial if you are a vegetarian or vegan. These vegetables include potato, sweet potato, green beans, and kale. They also control the risk of you developing chronic diseases like heart conditions and cancer.
A moderate source of zinc, eggs can help you meet the daily target for the mineral. One large egg also contains various other minerals like protein, healthy fats, choline, selenium, and vitamin Bs.
Shellfish are a low-calorie source of zinc that you must include in your diet once in a while, if not every day. Molluscs like oysters are especially enriched with this mineral – twice the amount of zinc per gram that other types of shellfish like Alaska king crab, and other smaller varieties like mussels and shrimps. Although not as enriched with zinc as oysters, crabs are a healthy source of zinc. Crab cake, crab legs, or crab rolls – you’ll find enough zinc in any delicacies made from this shellfish.
To add to the list, lobsters are also laden with this mineral. So, pack in as much zinc in your diet as you can through various delicious preparations of shellfish. However, take care to prepare shellfish thoroughly, if you’re pregnant, to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
11. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is not as good a source of zinc as most other food sources that are known to be rich in zinc. But, chicken breast, paired with a few other good sources of protein, serves the purpose. Besides, chicken saves you from the side-effects of red meat on your health.
In general, red meat, most specifically lamb, is a great source of zinc. Lamb shank has the highest level of zinc in comparison to the other parts of the animal.
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