What I find crazy is just how much the body depends on such a minute amount of something in order to function. Take zinc for example, a trace nutrient that the body only requires a tiny amount of and yet it’s impact on the body is incredible.
I’d really only ever known zinc to boost the body’s immune system, however that is just one function amongst many others as listed below –
- Reproductive health (required for ovulation, fertilisation, and it also assists in the formation and maturing of sperm. Oh and it helps with the composition of all the baby’s organs)
- Cell division
- Intestinal function
- Growth and development for all ages
- Wound healing
- Brain development
Zinc also helps the body to breakdown of carbohydrates.
So how small of an amount do we require daily? Men require 14mg per day, whereas women only require 8mg. To give you an idea of how ridiculously small this amount is, a teaspoon of pure zinc weighs 35,000mg.
How is it that this one little nutrient can be so powerful? As they say, good things come in small packages 😉
Both plant and animal sources provide dietary zinc, although absorption is enhanced with the intake of protein, as zinc binds to protein. In saying that, absorption may change substantially if protein is low in the diet. Considerable amounts of dietary zinc can be found in cereals and dairy foods, however the highest concentrations of zinc are found in lean red meat, poultry, legumes, nuts & seafood. Apparently pumpkin seeds are also a good source. Below is a short list of zinc found in certain foods:
Canned oysters – 90mg per 100g
Beef eye fillet – 11mg per 100g
Baked beans – ½ cup = 2.9mg
Chickpeas – ½ cup = 1.3mg
Ricotta Cheese – ½ cup = 1.8mg
Chicken – 1.7-2.9mg per 100g
Egg (cooked) – 2 large = 1.2-1.3mg
Octopus (cooked) – 3.3mg per 100g
Milk – 1 cup = 1mg
A special note to vegans/vegetarians: Due to plant sources having a lower bioavailability of zinc, these intakes are 50% higher for vegans and vegetarians, being 21mg per day for men and 12mg per day for women.
Short and sweet as always!