Zinc is a trace element used in more than 300 enzymes with very important functions for our body. It plays a very important role in the metabolism, immune system and physical development, as well as the proper function of most tissues. Our body does not produce zinc nor does it store it, therefore we need to take it daily from our diet. It has been estimated that a man needs approximately 11 mg of zinc a day, while a woman needs 8 mg. But if a woman is pregnant, then she needs 11 mg too, while if she's breastfeeding her baby, she needs 12 mg. The lack of zinc in the diet is common, mainly in children, teenagers and old people, as well as in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Fortunately, zinc is contained in many foods, so it's relatively easy to fulfil your needs with a healthy and balanced diet. Today we're talking about the foods that are particularly rich in zinc, which you should include in your diet to guarantee a sufficient amount of this necessary and useful element. Meat. Meat is a very good source of zinc, because it contains such large amounts of zinc that small amounts of meat can cover a large part of our daily needs. Only 100 g of beef contain 4.8 mg of zinc, which is 44% of our daily needs. However, large amounts of zinc are also contained in lamb, goat and pork. Let me remind you that processed meat has been associated with heart diseases and cancer, so you'd better avoid it. Shellfish. Shellfish are a very good source of zinc too, as just one oyster covers half our daily needs in zinc. Although oysters are particularly rich in zinc, the other shellfish are very rich in it too, as are shrimps. 100 g of shrimps or mussels cover 14% of our daily needs in zinc. Let me remind you that if you're pregnant, you should properly cook shellfish before eating them, and you should not eat them raw. Legumes. All legumes are very rich in zinc too. For example, 100 g of raw lentils contain 5 mg of zinc, which cover about half our daily needs. It has been estimated that a packet of lentils contains 500 g. Therefore, 100 g of lentils are one fifth of the lentils contained in one packet. Unfortunately, zinc in plant-based foods is harder to absorb, therefore you should aim at higher intake, to make sure that you cover your daily needs. Of course, cooking, soaking, fermentation and the production of sprouts increase the bioavailability of zinc for absorption. All these ways lead to increased absorption of zinc from legumes. Dried nuts and seeds. Seeds and dried nuts are particularly rich in zinc, and you'll find significant amounts in pumpkin seeds, flax and sesame. Cashew nuts are very rich in zinc too, because 100 g cover half our daily needs. Unfortunately, 100 g of cashew nuts contain too many calories, therefore it's not the ideal solution for people that want to limit the calories that they consume per day. On the other hand, dried nuts and seeds are amazing foods that should be included in everyone's daily diet. Dairy. One glass of milk covers one tenth of our needs in zinc. Better dairy sources are fermented dairy products such as live yogurt, buttermilk and kefir. Fermented dairy products are also healthier and these are the ones you should consume almost exclusively. Eggs. Eggs contain a little zinc too, as one egg covers 5% of our daily needs. Unprocessed cereals. Whole-wheat cereals contain small amounts of zinc, although, as you've understood by now, the absorption is much more limited compared to animal products. On the other hand, taking account of the fact that studies show that the consumption of unprocessed cereals reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes mellitus and heart diseases, you'd better include them in your daily diet. Vegetables. Vegetables have a low content of zinc, and what complicates things even further is that zinc from vegetables is harder to absorb. However, 100 g of green beans cover 3% of our needs, while a large potato covers approximately 10%. Although vegetables do not contain much zinc, you should consume large amounts of them, because they're very beneficial for your health. Chocolate. Dark chocolate that contains at least 70% of cocoa contains considerable amounts of zinc. It has been estimated that 100 g of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa covers 30% of our daily needs, which is really noteworthy. On the other hand, 100 g of dark chocolate contain approximately 600 calories, so people that try to limit the consumption of calories don't consider it their best choice. These foods guarantee sufficiency of zinc in our body, and you'd better include them in your diet, so that you don't lack this necessary trace element. Thank you!

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