A key element of healthy nutrition, zinc is critical to several biological processes for humans. Consuming foods rich in zinc serves as an ideal way to promote effective functioning of the immune system, to maintain a strong sense of smell, to manage blood pressure and glucose, to keep skin healthy, to foster DNA development, to trigger the work of key enzymes and more. Zinc plays a crucial role in growth and development at all stages of life, from childhood through to adulthood. It really does pay to learn more about some of the great zinc-rich foods to include in your diet.
Fitness mavens know that zinc facilitates the growth of muscle, impacting almost all stages of this type of growth. Athletes and bodybuilders alike can benefit from eating foods rich in zinc. First, zinc works to boost levels of testosterone in the blood, something which is key to increasing muscle mass. Further, zinc is extremely helpful in that it fosters healthy, deep sleep.
Failing to include sufficient amounts of zinc-rich foods in any daily diet can result in a serious deficiency, particularly when intense physical exertion is the norm. Hallmarks of insufficient zinc levels can include:
* lack of growth in children
* sleep issues
* accelerated hair loss
* exacerbated allergies
* skin conditions including eczema
* low libido
* reduction in appetite
* skin dryness
* fertility problems
* spots on fingernails
* decreased ability to smell and taste
The following are several great zinc-rich foods to include in your diet:
1. Chocolate and cocoa products
It is widely known that dark chocolate and cocoa products offer significant health benefits. In addition to vital antioxidants, cocoa provides a substantial amount of zinc. For instance, 100 grams of dark chocolate may yield upwards of 65% of the recommended daily amount of zinc (10 mg).
2. Pumpkin and watermelon seeds
Seeds, particularly those taken from pumpkins and watermelons are known for their significant zinc content. A serving consisting of 100 grams can provide as much as 70-75% of an individual’s recommended daily amount of zinc, or stated alternatively, 10-12 mg.
3. Red meat products
There can be little doubt about the benefits of red meat in terms of providing a strong source of dietary zinc. Not only that, meats of this type contain a healthy dose of iron, making them important additions to the diets of those afflicted by anemia.
4. Peanut Items
It should be noted that just 100 grams of peanuts that have been roasted contain roughly 22% of our recommended daily amount of zinc.
5. Animal Livers
Liver is a terrific source of zinc, as evidenced by the fact that a portion of approximately 100 grams contains almost 80% of recommended daily dietary intake. Not only that, liver provides a wide array of vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy bodily function.
6. Sea Oysters
Health conscious individuals should take note that just 100 grams of oysters offer between 100 and 1000 percent of an individual’s recommended daily intake, thus taking their place as a leading source of dietary zinc.
Everyone should be advised, however, that in doses substantially higher than recommended daily allowances, zinc can have a toxic effect on the body, interfering with the proper absorption of minerals such as iron.