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Zinc is a fundamental mineral for the body, but it is not produced by the human body, being easily found in foods of animal origin. Its functions are to ensure the proper functioning of the nervous system and strengthen the immune system, making the body stronger to resist infections caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria.

In addition, zinc plays important structural roles, being an essential component of various proteins in the body. Therefore, the lack of zinc can cause changes in sensitivity to flavors, hair loss, difficulty in healing and, even, growth and development problems in children. Check out what the lack of zinc can cause in the body.

Some of the main sources of zinc are animal foods, such as oysters, beef or liver. As for fruits and vegetables, in general, they are low in zinc and, therefore, people who eat a vegetarian type diet, for example, should especially eat soy beans and nuts, such as almonds or peanuts, to maintain their better regulated zinc levels.

What is zinc for?

Zinc is very important for the functioning of the organism, having functions such as:

Strengthen the immune system

Combat physical and mental fatigue

Increase energy levels

Delay aging

Improve memory

Regulate the production of various hormones

Improve the appearance of the skin and strengthen the hair

Zinc deficiency can cause decreased taste sensation, anorexia, apathy, growth retardation, hair loss, delayed sexual maturation, low sperm production, decreased immunity, glucose intolerance. While excess zinc can manifest itself through nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, anemia or copper deficiency.

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Table of foods rich in zinc

This list presents the foods with the highest amounts of zinc.

Food (100 g) zinc 
1. Baked oysters 39 mg 
2. Roastbeef 8,5 mg 
3. Cooked turkey 4,5 mg 
4. Cooked veal 4,4 mg 
5. Cooked chicken liver 4,3 mg 
6. Pumpkin Seeds 4,2 mg 
7. Baked soybeans 4,1 mg 
8. Cooked lamb 4 mg 
9. Almond 3,9 mg 
10. Noz-pec 3,6 mg 
11. Peanut 3,5 mg 
12. Brazil Nut 3,2 mg 
13. Cashew nuts 3,1 mg 
14. Cooked chicken 2,9 mg 
15. Cooked pork 2,4 mg 

Recommended daily intake

The recommendation of daily intake varies according to the stage of life, but a balanced diet guarantees the supply of needs.

The zinc content in the blood should vary between 70 to 130 mcg / dL of blood and in the urine it is normal to find between 230 to 600 mcg of zinc / day.

Age /Gender Recommended daily intake (mg) 
1 – 3 years 3,0 
4 – 8 years old 5,0 
9 -13 years old 8,0 
Men between 14 and 18 years old 11,0 
Women between 14 and 18 years 9,0 
Men over 18 years 11,0 
Women over 18 years  8,0 
Pregnancy in children under 18 years of age 14,0 
Pregnancy in people over 18 years of age 11,0 
Breast-feeding women under the age of 18 14,0 
Women breastfeeding over 18 years of age 12,0 

Ingestion of less than recommended Zinc for long periods can cause delayed sexual and bone maturation, hair loss, skin lesions, increased susceptibility to infections or lack of appetite.

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