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Small Increase in Zinc Foods May Help Fight Disease: Some Foods That Contain Zinc

Zinc Foods

Zinc is an important mineral for human health, but are you sure you are getting enough?


Here in the US, many of us eat too many refined grains, such as polished white rice. Not only are these devoid of fiber, they are also lacking in an important mineral – zinc.

Zinc is critical in ensuring a healthy immune system. Zinc also helps limit inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which is associated with chronic cardiovascular disease and cancer.

It is a trace mineral, meaning that it takes a relatively small amount to meet our needs. However, if you are limiting your diet of foods rich zinc, you may want to start focusing on making changes.

Researchers with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Research Institute (CHORI) stress that just a small increase could have a profound impact on our health. In a six-week study, the team found that not reaching the recommended daily dietary amount of zinc can compromise DNA repair.

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But thankfully, it only takes about 4 milligrams extra a day for optimal cellular health. You could easily meet those needs with just 3 ounces of beef or with ¾ cup fortified breakfast cereal. Just the simple change of eating brown rice over white rice can add nearly 1 mg of additional zinc per day to the diet.

Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.

The current RDA for zinc in adults is 11mg for men and 8 mg for women.

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Journal Reference:
Sarah J Zyba, Janet C King et al. A moderate increase in dietary zinc reduces DNA strand breaks in leukocytes and alters plasma proteins without changing plasma zinc concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016; ajcn135327 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.135327

Photo Credit:
By ProjectManhattan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons