Many of us strive to eat right all the time but rarely do it. Very often we eat in a rush, on the hoof and then fall back on quick snacks or fast food for an instant rush of energy. This really isn’t the way to go. Our bodies are finely tuned machines that need the right fuel to keep us going in the busy lifestyles we lead. As a result of all this, many of us will be deficient in vitamins and minerals but more specifically Zinc. Zinc is a really important part of our diet but not many people know how to up their intake of it without resorting to pills. More specifically we all need to know which foods it can be found in!
Being deficient in Zinc can cause lots of problems such as extreme tiredness, weight loss, lethargy, mental confusion, impotence, poor wound healing if you cut or injure yourself and hair loss. Many people end up seeking medications to help these conditions, perhaps tablets to cure the impotence or embarking on a hair loss prevention program to help with their thinning hairlines and scalp issues. If they took a look at their diet from the get go chances are a lot of their problems could be resolved just by upping their Zinc intake!
It’s more important you get this mineral from your diet rather than resorting to supplements though. Taking a supplement is okay as a last resort, especially if you’re maybe vegetarian or vegan or don’t like any of the foods we’re going to talk about below, but ultimately it’s better to just eat right instead.
What exactly is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral that can be found in many natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and red meat. It’s also added to certain food products like fortified cereals that you might see in the grocery store. Foods you can find it in include:
Beef (particularly in steaks)
Shellfish like Lobster or Crab
Green vegetables like Peas, Broccoli, Beans, Curly Kale and Spinach
Nuts such as Almonds and Cashews
A bowl of oatmeal porridge for breakfast with a sprinkling of almonds and some raisins or other dried fruit on it would not only be delicious and easy to make, but would set you well on your way to reaching your recommended daily amount of zinc. Speaking of which, the recommended daily amount of Zinc for an adult male is 11mg and for an adult female it’s 8mg. As an example, if you were to cook yourself a three ounce portion of steak and serve it with half a cupful of cooked peas, you’d already have 7.5mg of the RDA! That’s hardly anything at all when you look at it, yet you’d be almost there in terms of your requirements. After all, what’s nicer than a steak dinner? Not much, that’s for sure.
It just gets better. There’s been a lot of research done into how good chocolate is for you. Admittedly, not a Hershey Bar or anything like that, but proper good dark chocolate, the stuff that you might only want one or two squares of to satiate your craving. Well, apparently it’s also loaded with zinc too, so you can indulge your sweet tooth a little. Four ounces of really good dark chocolate has around 9.6mg of zinc in it. You probably wouldn’t be able to eat that in a sitting just because it’s so rich, but it’s worth knowing that having a little treat can be good for you.
If you like cocoa, it’s worth nothing that a really good quality dark unsweetened cocoa powder made up with milk would also give you a really good top up of this mineral. For more information on Zinc and Chocolate and for the figures, you might like to read here.
It’s not as hard as you think to make sure you have enough zinc in your diet and it’s not all boring rabbit food either! Eating right can ensure you feel better, sleep better and can go some way to helping out with any of the health niggles you might have. Just taking a step back and evaluating what you put into your system can make a huge difference to your overall well being. This is as good a place to start as any.
Sophie Levy is a nutrition writer and food lover living near London. She regularly writes about the health benefits of eating a balanced diet and what this has to offer in terms of better quality of life and wellbeing.