What is Zinc and What Food Contain Zinc?

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What is Zinc and What Food Contain Zinc? Zinc is a significant component that can be found in almost all the cells of our body, which makes it a very important element in sustaining life. It fuels the movement of more or less 100 enzymes in our body that props up biochemical reaction.

Around three thousand (out of the hundreds of thousands) proteins in the human body has zinc. It helps in keeping the efficiency of our immune system, contributes to the fast healing of wounds, and promotes normal physiological growth and development. That only shows how much work zinc renders each human being.

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What Food Contain Zinc

More than anything else, OYSTERS have more zinc per serving. However, there are still a lot of edibles that contain zinc. In fact, even the usual red meat and poultry that we regularly consume is also rich in zinc. Beans, whole grains, dairy products, breakfast cereals, nuts, and some sea foods contain this important nutrient.

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The USDA-ARS Department (US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Department) has realeased a food composition chart that can clearly show the amount of zinc that we can get from our usual food serving:

Food Serving Zinc (mg)

  1. Oysters  6 medium (cooked) 43.4
  2. Crab, Dungeness 3 ounces (cooked) 4.6
  3. Beef 3 ounces* (cooked) 5.8
  4. Chicken (dark meat) 3 ounces (cooked) 2.4
  5. Turkey (dark meat) 3 ounces (cooked) 3.5
  6. Yogurt, fruit 1 cup (8 ounces) 1.8
  7. Cheese, cheddar 1 ounce 0.9
  8. Milk 1 cup (8 ounces) 1.0
  9. Cashews 1 ounce 1.6
  10. Almonds 1 ounce 1.0
  11. Peanuts 1 ounce 0.9
  12. Beans, baked 1/2 cup 1.8
  13. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 1/2 cup 1.3

US Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Zinc

*based on several different indicators of zinc nutritional status and represents the daily intake that can most likely prevent deficiency.

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Life Stage Age Males (mg/day) Females (mg/day)

  1. Infants  0-6 months 2 2
  2. Infants 7-12 months 3 3
  3. Children  1-3 years 3 3
  4. Children  4-8 years 5 5
  5. Children  9-13 years 8 8
  6. Adolescents 14-18 years 11 9
  7. Adults  19 years and older 11 8
  8. Pregnancy  18 years and younger – 12
  9. Pregnancy  19 years and older – 11
  10. Breastfeeding  18 years and younger – 13
  11. Breastfeeding  19 years and older – 12

General Facts About Zinc and Lack Thereof

  • Zinc deficiency often results to growth retardation, belated sexual maturation diarrhea, impotence, eye and skin lesions, and loss of appetite (this is probably why weight loss is also oftentimes linked to zinc deficiency.)
  • Alcohol weakens the assimilation of zinc in our body. This is basically why alcoholics are at risk of zinc deficiency.
  • Vegetarians 50% more zinc than the non-vegetarians because plant foods do not really absorb zinc as much zinc meat. It is advisable for vegetarians to take in supplements of zinc to live up to the recommended daily allowance.
  • Zinc deficiency sacrifices the efficiency of the immune system. Zinc is compulsory for the growth and activation of T-lymphocytes( a form of white blood cell that aids in battling infection).
  • Zinc deficiency during pregnancy can slow fetal growth.

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