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Foods rich in zinc: its benefits, the recommended daily doses, the consequences in case of excess or deficiency. Which foods have the highest zinc content.
Zinc is a microelement, present in the body in small quantities. In an adult individual the overall content varies between 1.4 and 3 grams; it is mainly found in muscles, bones, brain, liver, skin and hair. However, the highest concentrations are present in the eyes, prostate and seminal fluid.
Zinc is an important mineral for the proper functioning of our body as it participates in the formation of tissues, hormones, some proteins and is involved in most of the enzymatic chemical reactions.
Foods rich in zinc
Zinc reserves are not easily usable, so it is necessary to integrate sufficient quantities into your diet to meet the body's needs. Among the foods most rich in zinc we mention:
Red meat has good quantities of zinc (10 mg. Per 100 gr. Of product). It is preferable to limit consumption to once a week, preferring the leaner and organic one. In particular, calf liver contains a lot of zinc: about 12 mg per 100 grams of product.
Molluscs and crustaceans
Among the shellfish rich in zinc we have oysters: about 16 mg 100 grams of product. Other molluscs with moderate content are clams: 7 mg per 100 grams. Among crustaceans, on the other hand, crab is to be preferred with about 4.7 mg per 100 grams of product
Seeds and dried fruit
Among the seeds with high zinc content we find those of pumpkin and sunflower. They can be eaten as a snack, in muesli, but also in salads or to enrich bread and focaccia. Nuts, such as hazelnuts and almonds, are also rich in zinc: they can provide up to 4 mg per 100 grams.
The egg yolk has a high zinc content, from 3 to 5 mg. every 100 grams of product. Our recommendation is not to abuse this food.
Chocolate is a great ally for our health. A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate has 10 mg of zinc, which is approximately equal to the total recommended daily dose. One hectogram of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 8 mg
It should be noted that the body can only absorb a variable portion between 20 and 30% of the quantities present in food.
Zinc, recommended daily dose
The zinc requirement varies according to age and sex. Generally the recommended amount for an adult is 10/13 mg per day.
The requirement is approximately the following:
- 0 to 6 months: 2 mg
- from 7 to 12 months: 3 mg
- from 1 to 3 years: 3 mg
- from 4 to 8 years: 5 mg
- from 9 to 13 years: 8 mg
- boys from 14 to 18 years: 11 mg
- girls from 14 to 18 years: 9 mg
- Adults: 11 mg
- Adults: 9 mg
- During pregnancy: 11-12 mg
- During breastfeeding: 12-13 mg
Excess of zinc
Zinc, if taken in the right doses, is not toxic to the body, however an excess of this element can cause health problems. Symptoms can be: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, stomach pain, weakness. An excess of zinc can also hinder the absorption of copper, producing a deficit that would lead to anemia, arrhythmia and fatigue.
Cases of over-intake can also be traced back to contamination of food and drinks in galvanized containers used for storage. These containers can in fact release zinc when left open, especially if their content is highly acidic.
Zinc deficiency may be due to insufficient or poor absorption or excessive urinary elimination. Some medications can also cause zinc deficiency, including diuretics, corticosteroids, and MAOIs.
An insufficient intake of this nutrient can cause skin alterations, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, slow wound healing, decreased immune response, hair loss, diarrhea, psychological problems….