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How do you get zinc in your diet: The request could not be satisfied


Zinc | The Nutrition Source

Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning that the body only needs small amounts, and yet it is necessary for almost 100 enzymes to carry out vital chemical reactions. It is a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting a healthy immune system. [1] Because it helps cells to grow and multiply, adequate zinc is required during times of rapid growth, such as childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy. Zinc is also involved with the senses of taste and smell.

Recommended Amounts 

RDA:  The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults 19+ years is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg for women. Pregnancy and lactation requires slightly more at 11 mg and 12 mg, respectively.

UL:  The Tolerable Upper Intake Level is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause harmful effects on health. The UL for zinc is 40 mg daily for all males and females ages 19+ years.

Zinc and Health


Because zinc supports the growth and normal functioning of immune cells, even a mild or moderate deficiency can slow down the activity of lymphocytes, neutrophils, and macrophages that protect the body from viruses and bacteria. Zinc deficiency is a common health problem in children from low and middle-income countries that contributes to stunting of growth, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. [2] The elderly who may have low zinc intakes from a poor appetite due to multiple diseases and medications are at risk for infections, such as pneumonia and skin ulcers, as reviewed in the next section.

Wound healing

Adequate zinc is needed to create new cells, particularly collagen and fiber-like tissues, a necessary function in repairing damaged cells. Zinc also supports immune cell activity that combats inflammation from a wound. Therefore the greatest benefit of zinc appears to be in people who are deficient in the mineral and who have severe wounds such as decubitus ulcers or extensive burns. Because people with these conditions have higher zinc needs and may have poor appetites, supplements or topical creams are used rather than relying on food intake alone. In these cases, zinc is often combined with other nutrients like protein, vitamin C, and L-arginine that also promote wound healing such as in a nutritional shake. [3] However, a benefit of zinc supplementation has not been shown in people with skin ulcers who have normal blood levels of zinc. [4]

Food Sources

Meats, poultry, and seafood are rich in zinc. Some plant foods like legumes and whole grains are also good sources of zinc, but they also contain phytates that can bind to the mineral, lowering its absorption.


Zinc is available in supplement form as pills and lozenges. Excess zinc can interfere with the absorption of iron and copper. High doses can also cause nausea and even vomiting. Therefore it is important not to take supplemental zinc unless it is known that the diet is low in foods containing zinc or a zinc deficiency is confirmed. A registered dietitian can help to evaluate one’s diet and determine if zinc intake is low.

In the 1990s, a new proposed remedy for the common cold in the form of zinc lozenges became almost as popular as chicken soup. The lozenge form was important because the zinc needed to dissolve slowly to coat the mouth and throat, where a cold virus thrives. Other forms like nasal and throat sprays were not preferred due to causing a loss of smell in some people.

Zinc is believed to prevent cold viruses from spreading and by reducing inflammation, which may shorten the duration of a cold. Research has shown mixed results of their effectiveness due to differences in the form of zinc, the dosage, and how long it was used. Yet some clinical trials support its effectiveness. A Cochrane review of clinical trials found that zinc lozenges did not prevent colds, but if taken within a day of the onset of cold symptoms (sore throat, sniffles), the lozenges could tame its severity. [5] However, it is noted that some of the trials were funded by pharmaceutical companies who may have had financial interest in or produced zinc lozenges.

Zinc lozenges can carry a few unpleasant side effects like having a metallic flavor and causing nausea, but some people would gladly trade these symptoms for a bout with a nasty cold.

Signs of Deficiency and Toxicity


A zinc deficiency is rare and is seen most commonly in people who do not absorb zinc well due to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases or who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery. Those with chronic liver or kidney disease are also at risk. Excessive or prolonged diarrhea can lead to a zinc deficiency, as well as severe conditions with increased zinc needs like burns and sepsis (an infection caused by harmful bacteria entering the blood). Zinc is more efficiently absorbed when taken in smaller doses and in people who are deficient in the mineral.

Other groups at risk for zinc deficiency:

  • Pregnant women. Increased zinc needs for the fetus and during lactation.
  • Low amounts of zinc in human breast milk. High amounts of calcium and phosphorus in cow’s milk can lower zinc absorption.
  • Vegetarians/vegans. Zinc intake is limited to plant foods like whole grains that have lower bioavailability than from animal foods.
  • Decreased absorption and increased loss of zinc through the urine.

Signs of deficiency include:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Poor appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased immunity
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss


Toxicity occurs almost exclusively from zinc supplements rather than food. There have been no reports of eating too much zinc from the diet alone. [1]

Signs of toxicity include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea 

Did You Know?

Zinc oxide was used in ointments to treat wounds, as noted in ancient Greek medical texts. Today, zinc oxide is still a popular over-the-counter treatment skin treatment. It can defend against sunburns by reflecting and scattering ultraviolet rays so they do not penetrate the skin. It is also used to treat inflamed skin conditions like burns, eczema, bedsores, and diaper rash. The compound forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, repelling away moisture and allowing the skin to heal. It may also aid enzymes to break down damaged collagen tissue so that new tissue can be formed. No negative side effects have been reported.


  1. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc: a Report of the Panel on Micronutrients. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222317/ Accessed 10/17/2019.
  2. Mayo‐Wilson E, Junior JA, Imdad A, Dean S, Chan XH, Chan ES, Jaswal A, Bhutta ZA. Zinc supplementation for preventing mortality, morbidity, and growth failure in children aged 6 months to 12 years of age. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014(5).
  3. Ellinger S, Stehle P. Efficacy of vitamin supplementation in situations with wound healing disorders: results from clinical intervention studies. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. 2009 Nov 1;12(6):588-95.
  4. Wilkinson EA. Oral zinc for arterial and venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2014(9).
  5. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364.

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The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.

Benefits, intake, sources, deficiency, and side effects

Zinc is a nutrient that supports growth during childhood and the immune system. Low zinc levels can increase a person’s risk of disease and illness.

Zinc supports a number of functions in the human body. As well as supporting the immune system, it enables the body to make proteins and DNA, contributes to wound healing, and plays a role in childhood growth and development. It also has antioxidant properties.

Zinc occurs naturally in many foods, such as beans, meat, and fish. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

This article looks at the health benefits of zinc, what happens if a person does not have enough zinc, and useful sources.

Zinc is crucial for various functions in the body, including:

1. Immune function

The body needs zinc for the immune system to work properly. Low levels of zinc can increase the risk of infections, such as pneumonia.

How can you stay healthy with a weak immune system?

2. Treating diarrhea

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend zinc supplements for infants with diarrhea.

There is evidence that it can shorten bouts of diarrhea, especially in those who do not have a nutritious diet.

3. Wound healing

Zinc plays a role in maintaining healthy skin.

People with long-term wounds or ulcers often have low zinc levels. Healthcare professionals may recommend zinc supplements for people with persistent wounds.

Research from 2018 notes that zinc plays a key role in every stage of wound healing, from skin repair to preventing infections. The authors call for more studies to identify precisely how zinc works in healing wounds. This, they say, could lead to new treatments for wounds that are hard to heal.

Find out how to make a wound heal faster.

4. Chronic disease

Zinc has antioxidant properties. As such, it can help reduce oxidative stress. Scientists believe that there is a link between oxidative stress and chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other aspects of metabolic syndrome.

Research from 2018 suggests that zinc may help prevent metabolic syndrome. They recommend further studies to identify how zinc affects health and to see whether supplementation might be useful as a therapy.

5. Age-related macular degeneration

Zinc prevents cell damage in the retina, and it may help delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, it is unlikely to prevent the degeneration.

The authors of research from 2020 have found that a zinc deficiency may play a role in developing this degeneration. They call for further studies and suggest that zinc might contribute to new treatment approaches.

Overall, some studies suggest that supplementation may help, but the evidence is not conclusive.

6. Sexual health

Low zinc levels may lead to delayed sexual development, fertility problems, and other sexual health issues in males.

The authors of research from 2018 describe zinc as essential to male sexual health. Reasons for this could include zinc’s roles as an antioxidant and hormone balancer.

However, while a zinc deficiency can have a negative impact, too much zinc may lead to toxicity, which could be harmful to sperm.

Anyone considering zinc supplements to support their sexual health should speak with a doctor.

There is some evidence that zinc may help treat some skin diseases, as it plays a role in wound healing.

Research suggests that zinc may help treat:

Here, learn more about using zinc to treat acne.

8. Osteoporosis

Zinc plays an essential role in bone formation and health and may help prevent osteoporosis, according to research from 2020.

However, it remains unclear whether zinc supplementation can prevent or treat this condition, and further research is necessary.

Find out how to increase bone density naturally.

9. Neurological symptoms

A small study from 2020 concluded that there may be a link between low zinc levels and neurological symptoms.

Researchers looked at 63 people who had headaches, tingling, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as deficiencies in zinc and other micronutrients.

After treatment for these deficiencies, the participants reported improvements in their neurological symptoms. However, the researchers acknowledge the need for further research.

10. The common cold

A review of studies from 2011 suggests that zinc lozenges may help shorten the duration of the common cold, but only with daily doses of over 75 milligrams (mg).

On the whole, studies looking at the use of zinc for colds have been of poor quality. There is no reliable evidence that taking zinc prevents colds.

Also, the NIH warn that zinc can affect the sense of smell. Speak with a doctor before using nasal sprays or gels that contain zinc, as the damage may be long-term or permanent.

Get some tips on treating a cold.

11. Learning and memory

Some research in rodents suggests that zinc may boost cognitive function. In a 2017 study, rats that received zinc supplements performed better in tasks that involved thinking and memory.

There does not appear to be sufficient evidence that zinc can improve memory or learning in humans, however

Get some tips for improving memory here.

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

Some researchers have suggested that maintaining adequate zinc levels could possibly offer some protection against COVID-19.

One 2020 review notes that zinc helps boost the immune system and maintain mucous membranes. People with zinc deficiencies appear to have a higher risk of various infections, including pneumonia.

It is important to note, however, that while zinc may boost a person’s overall health and ability to resist disease, there is currently no evidence that it can prevent or treat COVID-19.

Moreover, some zinc products may lead to a permanent loss of smell.

Here, find 29 myths about COVID-19.

An adequate zinc intake is especially important for children because it plays a role in their development.

The following table shows the recommended daily allowance of zinc, based on a person’s age and sex:

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, a higher intake of zinc is necessary, because newborns and infants up to 6 months obtain zinc through breast milk.

Good sources of zinc include:

  • beans
  • meats
  • nuts
  • fish
  • seafood
  • whole-grain cereals
  • dairy products
  • some fortified foods

Anyone with a plant-based diet may need additional zinc, because the zinc available in these foods is harder for the body to absorb.

Zinc is available in capsules, tablets, creams, ointments, and a liquid form.

Adults aged 19 years and over who are interested in using zinc supplements should be careful to consume no more than 40 mg per day. Too much zinc can cause health problems.

Zinc supplements are available to purchase online. However, consult a doctor before trying them.

A zinc deficiency can increase the risk of various problems, including:

  • delayed growth in children
  • a loss of appetite
  • changes in taste
  • a higher risk of infections
  • fertility problems
  • diarrhea
  • problems with wound healing
  • eye and skin lesions
  • problems with thinking

According to research from 2017, there is strong evidence that low zinc levels can increase the risk of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, measles, and pneumonia.

A zinc deficiency usually results from an insufficient dietary intake, but it can also result from malabsorption and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and sickle cell disease.

Here, learn more about zinc deficiencies.

Zinc has many health benefits, but consuming too much can be harmful. Possible adverse effects include:

Over time, the NIH note, an excessive intake of 150–450 mg a day may lead to:

  • low copper levels
  • changes in iron function
  • reduced immune function
  • reduced levels of “good,” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • urogenital problems

Zinc may also interact with antibiotics and diuretics.

Zinc is essential for health, and it plays a key role in childhood development, the immune system, wound healing, and other functions.

It is best to obtain zinc from foods, such as beans, seafood, and fortified products. A doctor may prescribe supplements if there is a risk of a deficiency.

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or following a plant-based diet require extra zinc. However, as always, check with a doctor before using a supplement.

20 Foods High in Zinc to Add to Your Diet

We know that getting enough vitamins in our diet is important, and the same goes for minerals. And one mineral in particular that deserves a spotlight is zinc. Did you know that after iron, zinc is the most abundant mineral in the body? And that it’s needed for a ton of important processes, like maintaining the health of your immune system and allowing your body to heal?

“Zinc is going to be found in all of your tissues, and it’s required for the metabolism of protein, fats, carbohydrates. It also stabilizes cells and organ structures, helps with thyroid function, is important for vision, blood clotting, wound healing, and immune function,” says nutritionist Jessica Ash, CNC, HHC, FDN-P and founder of Jessica Ash Wellness. “It’s also important for cell division, so if we’re talking about pregnancy or women who are growing a baby, it’s very important for when cells are rapidly dividing.”

Why do you need zinc in your diet?

The recommended daily amount of zinc is eight milligrams for adult women (11 during pregnancy), and 11 milligrams for adult men. So how do you know if you’re getting enough zinc in your diet (besides getting tested)? Two tell-tale signs include whether you get sick frequently and how your fingernails look.

“Zinc deficiency has been linked to poor immune function, so if you find yourself catching colds more often than usual, consider whether you’re eating enough zinc,” says Melissa Groves, RDN, LD, CLT, and founder of Avocado Grove Nutrition. “One quick way to determine if you have a deficiency: take a look at your fingernails. If you have white spots, you might want to get your zinc levels tested.”

Other issues that can come up from a zinc deficiency include slow wound healing and a poor appetite, according to Groves. Ash notes that gut and digestive issues are commonly related to low zinc levels, as are acne, mood issues, hair loss, blood sugar issues, thyroid problems, and even reproductive issues.

Getting enough zinc in your diet through the food you eat is important because your body uses it frequently, and can’t store it, according to Ash. “Zinc is not stored in the body, so you have to be getting it regularly from dietary intake since it is used all the time,” says Ash.

What are the best zinc foods?

“I’d recommend aiming to include shellfish in your diet weekly, as well as other meats throughout the week,” says Groves. If you don’t eat meat or any animal products, you can still get some zinc from your food, but you may need to consider a supplement. “If you’re on a vegetarian diet, focus on nuts and seeds, and you might want to consider a zinc supplement if you’re not getting enough,” Groves says.

Keep reading below for the top 20 food sources of zinc to find out how to incorporate enough of the important mineral into your diet.


Oysters are hands-down the richest source of zinc. Just three ounces of oysters gets you a whopping 66.81 milligrams of zinc, exceeding your daily recommended zinc intake. Incorporating oysters even once a week is a great way of making sure your zinc needs are met.

With just three ounces of Alaskan king crab, you’ll be well on your way to getting your daily dose of zinc. (As if you needed another reason to go to Red Lobster.)


Ground beef is a great source of zinc, with just a four-ounce serving clocking in at over half of your daily need for zinc. Beef is also rich in protein and B-vitamins, making it a great option to have in your diet a few times a week.


If you can stomach the taste, beef liver is a great source of zinc. You can get over half of the daily recommended value of zinc in a three-ounce serving. If liver and onions are not your cup of tea, try adding chopped beef liver into your ground beef patties, meatballs, or meatloaf.


Looking for a reason to splurge on that lobster at dinner? Here’s one. A three-ounce serving of lobster has three milligrams of zinc, nearly 40 percent of your daily value.


If you love a warm bowl of oats in the morning, good news. Your daily serving of oats gets you nearly three milligrams of zinc, which clocks in at almost 40 percent of your daily value of zinc.


Pumpkin seeds aren’t just for fall—they make a great snack, salad topping, or addition to your trail mix any time of the year. Plus, just one ounce of pumpkin seeds gets you almost 40 percent of your daily value of zinc.


Pork loin is a popular and tasty protein option for dinner. And did you know that a four-ounce serving has two milligrams towards your daily needs for zinc? That’s 25 percent of what you need in a day.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.


A handful of cashews is a tasty snack full of satisfying, healthy fat. But did you know that cashews are also a good source of zinc? In fact, a one-ounce serving will get you nearly 20 percent of your recommended total daily zinc.

Deryn Macey/Unsplash

Chickpeas are arguably one of the most versatile foods. From hummus (yes, that’s chickpeas!) to chickpea pasta and so much more, they are the stars of many plant-based eaters and vegans or vegetarians alike. With 1.53 milligrams of zinc per each 100-gram serving, it’s a smart choice for making sure your daily zinc needs are met.


Chicken, specifically the dark meat like the thighs and legs, is a great option for making sure you’re getting enough zinc in your diet. One three-ounce serving of chicken thighs contains more than one milligram of zinc, making it a great addition to your weekly menu.


Not only is yogurt a good source of protein and calcium, but it contains a decent amount of zinc, too. An eight-ounce serving contains 1.34 milligrams of zinc. Not bad for your go-to snack or breakfast, right?


Peas may not have been your favorite vegetable growing up, but chances are you feel differently about them now. And if you do, good news. A 100-gram serving of green peas contains more than one milligram of zinc.


Whether you enjoy it on cereal, in smoothies, or straight from the glass, milk is one way to pack in a lot of nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D. And milk contains zinc—specifically, 1.17 milligrams of it per cup.


Who doesn’t love cheese? And if you need another reason to grab a slice, then good news. Swiss cheese contains a pretty good amount of zinc—almost one milligram per slice—which is not bad when you’re working towards that daily goal.

Tetiana Bykovets/Unsplash

While they may not be as good of a source of zinc as cashews, almonds also contain some zinc, with almost a full milligram of the mineral in a one-ounce serving. Try adding them into your favorite snack mix or trail mix, slice them on top of salads, or you can try almond butter or almond flour in your recipes.


Swiss isn’t the only type of cheese that contains zinc; cheddar makes the list too. With almost one milligram of zinc per slice, cheddar cheese gets you closer to your total zinc daily value. Add a slice of cheddar to your grass-fed beef burger and you’ll meet about 75 percent of your total daily zinc goals.


Surprisingly enough, dark meat chicken specifically gets you the most zinc per serving. But If you prefer the chicken breast, you’ll still get some zinc, with 0.696 milligrams per 87-gram serving. Maybe just try a leg, wing, or thigh next time you’re looking to boost your zinc?


One 100-gram serving of kidney beans is a great source of fiber and protein. It’s also a good source of zinc. Kidney beans taste great in soups, stews, or even the classic dish, red beans and rice.

If you enjoy fish, try deviating from your usual choice and go for a three-ounce serving of flounder. The white fish is mild in flavor and will get you a little bit closer to your total daily requirement of zinc.

Now that you know a variety of foods that will help you get more zinc into your diet, there’s no excuse for not eating enough of it.

What You Need to Know about Zinc


**** Dietitian support during COVID-19****

Zinc is a mineral that your body needs to be healthy. Zinc supports your immune system and helps in normal growth and development at all ages. Read on to learn more about which foods have zinc and how much you need.

How much zinc do I need?

The amount of zinc you need depends on your age, sex and life stage. The table below shows you how much you need:



Amount needed per day

Men 19 and older

11 mg

Women 19 and older

8 mg

Pregnant women 19 and older

11 mg

Breastfeeding women 19 and older

12 mg


Which foods have zinc?

Although zinc comes from a variety of different foods, the best sources are high protein foods like seafood, meat, beans and lentils. Some dairy products also have zinc. If you are eating a variety of foods based on Canada’s Food Guide, you will likely get the zinc you need.

The table below shows foods that contain zinc:


Serving Size

Zinc (mg)

Oysters (Eastern, Pacific, wild and farmed)

75 g (2 ½ oz)



75 g (2 ½ oz)

4 to 9

Wheat germ cereal

30 mL (2 Tbsp)



75 g (2 ½ oz)

2 to 4

Heart of palm, raw

2 hearts (66 g)


Cheese (cheddar, swiss, gouda, brie, mozzarella)

50 g (1 ½ oz)

1 to 2

Ricotta cheese

125 mL (1/2 cup)



175 mL (3/4 cup)


75g (2 ½ oz)


Baked beans, canned

175 mL (3/4 cup)


Lentils, canned

175 mL (3/4 cup)



Do I need to take a zinc supplement?

No. You do not need to take a zinc supplement if you are eating a variety of foods and you have no health conditions.

Here are some of the reasons why you may need a zinc supplement:

  • You are recovering from surgery on your digestive system.

  • You have a disease like Ulcerative Colitis,  Crohn’s, or chronic liver disease.

  • You are a vegetarian and not eating a variety of plant based protein sources with zinc.

Before taking zinc supplements, it is best to speak with your healthcare provider. Zinc can be harmful if you take too much. At any age, it is important to have no more than 40 mg of zinc per day from foods and supplements.

Can zinc supplements prevent colds?

Research has shown that if you take zinc acetate supplements (often found in cold lozenges) while you have a cold, they may reduce symptoms and how long the cold lasts.

Meal and snack ideas to include more zinc in your diet

Try the tips below to get more zinc in your diet.

  • Lean beef is a tasty protein option. Try this vermicelli beef and broccoli pasta.

  • Ricotta cheese and yogurt are sources of zinc and make excellent snacks. Spread ricotta on whole wheat crackers or add sliced fruit to your favourite yogurt.

  • Purée beans or lentils with a little water and add it to hamburger mixtures, casseroles, soups, stews or pasta sauces. 

  • Add some spice to your turkey dish by trying this Thai Curry Turkey.

Try these other nutritious recipes that are rich in zinc:

Banana Whole Grain Griddle Cakes
Black Bean Couscous Salad

And try these recipes from Cookspiration:

Baked eggs with lentils, peppers and tomatoes
Beef and lentil burgers
Savoury Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

Last Update – January 7, 2021

Getting Enough Zinc? These 7 Types of Food Are Packed with It

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

There’s a group of nutrients we need that are tiny but mighty. We only need small amounts of them—generally numbers that are pretty easy to hit through our diets—but they play a role in numerous essential functions in our body. Zinc, a mineral and trace element, is one of them. And even though the recommended dietary allowance is only 11 mg per day for adult men and 8 mg per day for adult women, a deficiency can be debilitating.

Zinc affects not only your ability to taste and smell and continue a normal hair growth cycle, but it also maintains wound healing, boosts immune function, fights off the common cold, and forms DNA and proteins. This crucial mineral also touches our metabolisms in many ways, from affecting our levels of the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin to helping produce vital thyroid hormones. Its health benefits include normal functioning of all of these processes as well as potentially slowing age-related macular degeneration, which is a disease of the eyes.

  • While the recommended dietary allowance of zinc is only 11 mg per day for adult men and 8 mg per day for adult women, a deficiency can be debilitating.
  • Zinc supports wound healing, boosts immune function, fights off the common cold, and forms DNA and proteins. 
  • Some surveys have found that 20–25% of Americans age 60 and older don’t get enough of the mineral, even with zinc supplements. 
  • A range of foods can provide can boost your dietary intake of the mineral and get closer to consistently fulfilling your daily zinc needs.

Although, as you’ll see, it’s easiest to get your dietary zinc from red meat and seafood, vegetarians and vegans have plenty of options as well. Older adults should try to incorporate more of these zinc-rich foods in their diets as surveys find that 20–25% of Americans age 60 and older don’t get enough of the mineral, even with zinc supplements (NIH, 2019). Try to incorporate several of these foods into your daily diet to boost your dietary intake and get closer to consistently fulfilling your daily zinc needs.

The absorption of zinc into the body actually competes with the absorption of copper, which is also necessary for certain bodily functions. If you are increasing your intake of zinc, you may also want to think about increasing your intake of copper.

If there’s one source of zinc that everyone knows about, it’s oysters. Just one Eastern oyster packs 5.5 mg (USDA, 2019), while one larger Pacific oyster will give you 18.9 mg, making it one of the best sources of the mineral out there. But if you’re not into raw seafood, you can also reach for crab (3.81 mg of zinc in 100 g) (USDA, 2019), shrimp (1.64 mg in 100 g) (USDA, 2019), or mussels (3.19 mg in 100 g) (USDA, 2019). Pregnant women should make sure their seafood is cooked, so, for them, raw oysters and shrimp cocktail are off the menu.

Although red meat is the greatest source of dietary zinc in the carnivorous area, chicken is also an option and can help you meet your daily recommended allowance. You’ll get 4.23 mg of zinc in 100 g of ground beef (weighed raw) (USDA, 2019), but you can swap that out for the same amount of pork for 1.93 mg (USDA, 2019), lamb for 3.41 mg (USDA, 2019), or bison for 4.59 mg (USDA, 2019). Other cuts, such as flank steak for beef or pork chops for pork, have good zinc content. They’re all excellent sources of the vital trace mineral, and you can rotate through them for variety in your menu without compromising your zinc levels. Opt for white meat like ground chicken, and you’ll get 1.47 mg (USDA, 2019) toward your daily dietary zinc from the same 100 g.

Speaking of things that are small but mighty, nuts and seeds are good sources of zinc. Leaning on them heavily for your zinc intake might not be an option since they are high-calorie, but they can help get you closer to your RDA. Grab 1 ounce of almonds (about 23 kernels) for 0.885 mg zinc (USDA, 2019) or 1 ounce of cashews for 1.64 mg (USDA, 2019). Sprinkle 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds or three tablespoons of hemp seeds on your soup or salad for an additional 2.21 mg (USDA, 2019) or 2.97 mg (USDA, 2019), respectively, of the essential mineral.

We know you’re wondering about peanuts. These beloved legumes aren’t the best source of dietary zinc, and one tablespoon of peanut butter contains just 0.402 mg (USDA, 2019 )of the essential mineral. While it does count toward your daily intake, you’re better off relying on other legumes such as chickpeas and lentils. Each is a good source of zinc—chickpeas pack 1.08 mg per 100 g serving (USDA, 2019), lentils 1.27 mg (USDA, 2019)—though both also contain phytates. These compounds can bind with zinc, making it harder to absorb, but reducing them is as easy as soaking, sprouting, fermenting, or cooking plant foods.

You really can’t go wrong with beans, though, so don’t feel limited to these options. They’re some of the best foods to get enough zinc for those following vegetarian diets. So whether you reach for chickpeas or kidney beans matters less than making sure they’re consistently present in your diet.

Whole grains contain phytates like legumes, which means it can be hard for your body to absorb zinc from them. Still, they offer a whole host of health benefits in addition to being food sources of zinc, and they’re well worth taking the time to soak in order to get their mineral content. Quinoa, for example, packs 2.02 mg in a 1 cup serving (USDA, 2019). Sourdough bread is an easy option since one slice provides 1.45 mg (USDA, 2019), and the grain has already been fermented, which is what makes it sour.

Some breakfast cereals are also good options and potentially a way around phytate-zinc interactions. Choose a whole-grain cereal that has been fortified, and you’ll get around 4.68 mg per 1 cup serving (USDA, 2019). Plus, vitamins and minerals added through fortification don’t seem to be blocked by phytate the same way as naturally occurring nutrients (Lönnerdal, 2000).

They’re not only delicious; dairy products may be some of the best ways to get enough zinc. That’s because products like milk and cheese not only contain large amounts of zinc, but it’s also bioavailable (Roohani, 2013), meaning your body can more easily absorb the mineral. A stick (28 g) of low-fat cheddar contains 1.26 mg of zinc (USDA, 2019), and a cup of skim milk boasts 1.02 mg (USDA, 2019).

This is probably the most delicious way to boost your intake of zinc and prevent zinc deficiency. We don’t recommend trying to get all of your zinc from dark chocolate—as delicious as that sounds—since large amounts can be quite caloric. But 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 70–85% cocoa solids will give you a respectable 0.938 mg (USDA, 2019) of the mineral. Try to look for a bar with relatively low sugar content, so you’re not getting additional calories along with this essential nutrient.

  1. Lönnerdal Bo. (2000). Dietary Factors Influencing Zinc Absorption. The Journal of Nutrition, 130(5S Suppl), 1378S–1383S. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.5.1378s
  2. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. (2019). Health Information: Zinc. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/zinc-HealthProfessional/
  3. Roohani, N., Hurrell, R., Kelishadi, R., & Schulin, R. (2013). Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 18(2), 144–157. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724376/
  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Oysters, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/337923/nutrients
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Crab, canned. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/337908/nutrients
  6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Crustaceans, shrimp, cooked. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175180/nutrients
  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Mussels, steamed or poached. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/337922/nutrients
  8. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Ground beef, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/336864/nutrients
  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Pork, ground, 96% lean / 4% fat, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169190/nutrients
  10. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData CentraL: Lamb, ground, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174370/nutrients
  11. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Bison, ground, grass-fed, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175293/nutrients
  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Chicken, ground, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171116/nutrients
  13. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Nuts, almonds. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients
  14. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Nuts, cashew nuts, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients
  15. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170556/nutrients
  16. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Seeds, hemp seed, hulled. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170148/nutrients
  17. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Peanut butter. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/339463/nutrients
  18. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Chickpeas, canned, low sodium, fat not added in cooking. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/339324/nutrients
  19. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, with salt. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175254/nutrients
  20. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Quinoa, cooked, fat not added in cooking. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/340447/nutrients
  21. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Bread, french or vienna (includes sourdough). Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172675/nutrients
  22. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Cheerios. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/340558/nutrients
  23. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Cheese, Cheddar, reduced fat. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/336712/nutrients
  24. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Milk, fat free (skim). Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/336079/nutrients
  25. U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central: Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170273/nutrients

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Zinc Requirements and Dietary Sources

Zinc is a trace mineral you need for normal growth and healthy immune system function. It’s involved in protein production, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc is also necessary for hundreds of enzymes that function in different chemical reactions and is also crucial for a normal sense of smell and taste.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division has set dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for zinc based on age.

Dietary Reference Intakes

1 to 3 years: 7.0 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 12 milligrams per day
9 to 13 years: 23 milligrams per day
14 to 18 years: 34 milligrams per day
19+ years: 40 milligrams per day

Dietary zinc is found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Oysters are particularly high in zinc. Legumes, nuts, whole grains and dairy products also contain zinc. Your body doesn’t have a good storage system for zinc, so you need to eat foods that contain zinc every day.

Vegetarians, older people, pregnant or nursing women, people with sickle cell anemia, older infants who are exclusively breastfeeding, and people with digestive system conditions or alcohol use disorder may benefit from eating foods rich in zinc or by taking supplements (speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist first). Zinc toxicity is possible if you take too much zinc as a dietary supplement.

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

Zinc deficiency can result in loss of appetite, impaired immune system function and slower growth in general. Severe deficiency can cause hair loss, eye and skin problems, diarrhea, weight loss, and hypogonadism and impotence in men. Deficiency may be due to a lack of zinc in the diet or problems with absorption.

People with short bowel syndrome (SBD), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or certain types of gastrointestinal surgery may have difficulty absorbing zinc. Pregnant women may be at a greater risk because the fetus requires large amounts of zinc. Vegetarians may need extra zinc because many of the plant sources of zinc are also high in phytates, which reduce absorbability.

Deficiency isn’t common in developed countries, and it’s rarely found in children and young adults. Zinc deficiency is often difficult to detect because the amount of zinc in serum (the part of blood that is tested) doesn’t represent the amount that’s found in the cells.

Zinc Toxicity

Taking too much zinc as a supplement all at once can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. Taking megadoses of zinc (150 mg to 450 mg) every day for an extended period can cause problems such as low copper status and altered iron function, reduced immune system function, and lowered HDL cholesterol levels. Zinc supplements can also interact with some medications, such as diuretics and antibiotics.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division set the daily tolerable upper intake (UL) for vitamins and minerals. The UL is the maximum level you can take every day (from both foods and supplements) that should not cause any health problems.

Daily Tolerable Upper Intakes for Zinc

  • Adults: 40 milligrams per day
  • Teens: 34 milligrams per day
  • Children ages 9 to 13: 23 milligrams per day
  • Children ages 4 to 8: 12 milligrams per day
  • Children ages 1 to 3: 7 milligrams per day
  • Infants ages 7 to 12 months: 5 milligrams per day
  • Infants up to 6 months: 4 milligrams per day

A Guide To Zinc & Your Immune System

Zinc is a key micronutrient that our body needs for a number of roles, from supporting growth and development to helping neurological functions. It is also essential for our immune system.1

As it is an element (Zn), our bodies cannot make zinc so it needs to come from our food – you can find it in beans, shellfish, whole grains and dairy.

If you are low in zinc, you may find cuts and scrapes take longer to heal, you may have diarrhoea, and you are more prone to getting ill.2

Why do we need zinc?

Zinc can help support:3

  • DNA synthesis
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Normal cognitive function
  • Fertility and reproduction
  • Bone health
  • Eye health
  • Immune function
  • Healthy hair, skin and nails

How zinc helps your immune system

There are a number of ways zinc supports the immune system but primarily it activates enzymes that break down proteins in viruses and bacteria so they are less able to spread.4

Zinc also increases the activation of cells responsible for fighting infection.5

In 2011, French researchers discovered that zinc helps cells destroy microbes such as E. coli by overloading them.6 Essentially, this poisons them, killing them off.

Don’t worry though – the daily RDA for zinc is 7mg for women and 9.5mg for men.7 You’d have to consume at least 25mg a day for it to cause any problems.8

A 2017 US study carried out over six weeks found that taking just 4mg extra of zinc a day made a major difference to the health of cells, which in turn makes your body better able to fight infections and diseases.9

The team concluded that zinc reduces ‘oxidative stress and damage to DNA’ that helps protect against chronic diseases.

Zinc’s effect on inflammation

A growing area of research is looking at how zinc reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, depression and dementia.

A 2013 study by Ohio State University found that zinc is ‘lured’ into cells that fight infection, to help stop the immune system spiralling out of control.10

The scientists concluded that if there wasn’t enough zinc to support this response, then excess inflammation is triggered – potentially damaging cells and the body.

A study by Jagiellonian University Medical College in Poland in 2017 discovered that zinc ‘exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity’ which can potentially deter ill-health.11

Zinc cuts the length of a cold

A meta-analysis of research published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases in 2017 found that zinc acetate lozenges can speed up recovery from colds. On the fifth day of the cold, 70% of sufferers who took zinc had recovered compared with 27% of those who took a placebo.12

In 2015, an Australian trial also found that high-dose zinc lozenges (80mg a day) cut the duration of nasal discharge by 34%, nasal congestion by 37%, scratchy throat by 33%, and cough by 46%.13

Zinc is good for fertility

Zinc has long been associated with a positive impact on male fertility. One study of 200 men published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2002 confirmed that normal sperm count increased after taking combined zinc sulfate and folic acid, in both fertile and sub-fertile men.14

How much zinc do you need?

The recommended daily amount of zinc is 7mg for women and 9.5mg for men. There’s currently no reliable way of testing your zinc levels, but a deficiency is relatively rare in the West, where we tend to eat a varied and balanced diet.15

However, it has been found to be more common in old people – who may be eating less – while vegetarians and vegans can also be at risk, as one of the richest sources of zinc is meat and shellfish. The good news is plenty of plant sources are also rich in zinc: lentils contain around 1.3mg per 100g, and firm tofu contains 2mg per 170g.16

How much zinc do children need?

  • 1-3 years – 5mg a day
  • 4-6 years – 6.5mg
  • 7-10 years – 7mg
  • 11-14 years – 9mg17

Zinc deficiency: What are the symptoms of a zinc deficiency?

Most people get enough zinc from their diet, but those at risk of deficiency include breastfeeding women, and vegetarians and vegans. It’s thought that a naturally occurring type of plant compound called phytates – found in wholegrain cereals, beans and legumes – can bind to zinc and prevent it being absorbed properly by the body.

Symptoms of a zinc deficiency include:18

  • loss of appetite
  • poor immune function
  • poor growth in children and pregnancy
  • impotence
  • wounds that won’t heal
  • decreased sense of smell and taste

What happens if I consume too much zinc?

Excessive intakes of zinc can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.19

It can also inhibit the absorption of the minerals copper and iron.20 This can lead to anaemia and weak bones. The NHS recommends avoiding taking more than 25mg of zinc a day.21

Which foods are high in zinc?

Foods high in zinc include:

  • shellfish
  • cheese
  • meat
  • legumes including chickpeas
  • nuts and seeds
  • wholemeal bread
  • fortified vegan foods


Good vegetarian sources of zinc are:

  • chickpeas
  • beans
  • lentils
  • nuts, including cashews, brazils and almonds
  • seeds, particularly hemp, pumpkin and sesame
  • milk
  • cheese
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • tofu

Your zinc-packed menu

Try the suggestions below to up your zinc intake.22 Remember that not all brands will contain the same levels of zinc.


Porridge made with 170g of oatmeal = 1mg of zinc

Mid-morning snack

28g of cashew nuts = 1.6mg


Half a tin of baked beans = 2.9mg
Slice of wholegrain toast = 0.52mg

Mid-afternoon snack

Small pot of low-fat yoghurt = 0.8mg
1 tablespoon of flax seeds = 0.45mg


Falafel burger made with 200g of chickpeas = 1.2mg
28g of whole milk mozzarella = 0.9mg
Large wholemeal pitta bread = 1mg

Total = 10.43mg of zinc

Avoid eating more than 25mg of zinc a day.

Zinc supplements: When should I take zinc supplements?

Eating a healthy, balanced diet should help you get all the zinc your body needs, but vegetarians, breastfeeding women and those with digestive disorders, like Crohn’s disease, who have trouble absorbing nutrients could consider a supplement.23,24

 Should women take a zinc supplement in pregnancy?

No, you should be able to get all the zinc you need from a healthy, balanced diet.

What are the benefits of taking a zinc supplement?

Studies have found zinc supplements may:

  • shorten the duration of the common cold25
  • support immune health26
  • support memory and concentration27

Last updated: 26 March 2021

90,000 Five zinc-rich foods to boost your immune system

Eggs are an important source of zinc
Photo: pixabay.com

During periods of infection, the usual proportion of zinc in the diet should be slightly increased.

Zinc is found in many medicines for cold and flu symptoms because it boosts immunity and prevents inflammation.Therefore, as a preventive measure, experts recommend eating more zinc-rich foods. The MedicForum portal has prepared a list of five such products.

Meat . Any meat, beef or chicken, is a great source of zinc. 100 g of raw minced meat contains about 40% of the RDA for zinc.

Legumes . For vegetarians, legumes are the best meat substitute. A cup of cooked beans provides up to 38% of your daily zinc requirement.A cup of chickpeas – up to 18%. In addition, legumes are rich in fiber, folate, and iron.

Pumpkin seeds. 40 g of pumpkin seeds can provide up to 15% of the daily value of zinc in the body. Also, this product provides other substances useful for immunity: magnesium, proteins and antioxidants.

Yogurt . All dairy products are a source of zinc, but yogurt contains the maximum amount: one glass contains up to 11% of the daily value.In addition, it contains probiotics that strengthen the intestinal microflora.

Eggs . One large chicken egg contains approximately 5% of the RDA for zinc. As additional elements that strengthen the immune system, it also contains B vitamins, selenium and choline.

90,000 Zinc supplements to improve the health and survival of infants under six months

Review Question: Does zinc supplementation reduce mortality, morbidity and growth in infants under six months of age?

Relevance: Zinc deficiency is widespread in the world.Adequate zinc levels help reduce mortality, disease and growth in all populations, especially in developing countries. Some beneficial effects have been shown when zinc is added to the diet of older children.

Study Profile: We searched for studies in January 2020 that included healthy infants under six months of age who received zinc supplements for at least six months.We included eight studies comparing zinc supplementation to placebo; zinc and riboflavin were compared with riboflavin only; zinc, riboflavin and B complex were compared with riboflavin and B complex

Key results and certainty of the evidence: Zinc was not associated with a reduction in mortality or morbidity in children under 12 months of age. Moderate to good evidence from three studies suggests an increase in weight-for-age weight-for-height Z-scores for zinc supplementation for six months versus placebo alone for six months. months.Only one study could analyze the use of zinc and riboflavin supplements versus riboflavin alone, and the results suggest a reduction in weight deficit at 24 months after supplementation and an increase in height at 21 months.

Conclusions: Given this evidence, we cannot definitely recommend that clinicians prescribe zinc supplements to children under six months of age. We are also supporting the development of clinical trials looking at the use of zinc supplements, as well as other micronutrients in this age group, and evaluating outcomes such as death, illness, side effects, and growth.

How certain hormones affect your appetite and how to keep them under control

Hormones are vital substances that set our bodies in motion. They are so ubiquitous and powerful that they can change our mood as they please, regulate our metabolism, cause primitive hunger, apathy and even a sudden desire to say hello, giggling silly, “with that handsome young man.”

There are a great many hormones: you have probably heard before about serotonin, better known as the hormone of happiness, the main male hormone testosterone, or about the hormone that lowers blood glucose levels, insulin.A whole army of different hormones also takes part in the regulation of our appetite: we’ll talk about them now.


Estrogen is the hormone of real women. If you imagine the symbol
“Yin and Yang”, testosterone would be appropriate to compare with the light male “yang”, and estrogen – with the dark female “yin”. Low estrogen levels in the body lead to depression and irritability (for many women, this translates into that difficult and incomprehensible period, which we call PMS).

In such a situation, fiber saves us – it removes excess estrogen from the body. Therefore, during this period, lean on bran, vegetables and beans – this way you can calm down the raging estrogen and restore your good mood.


Despite the fact that this hormone is considered male, it is also present in small quantities in the female body. The hormone is responsible for weight regulation, muscle growth, and even sex drive. If the level of this hormone in the blood is too high, serious problems arise with the purity of the skin.And if it is too low, there is a tendency to gain weight.

In order to balance between these two extremes and keep your testosterone normal, you just need to exercise regularly and include in your diet plenty of fiber and zinc rich foods, various greens and healthy saturated fats, which are found, for example, in avocados. …


Another name for ghrelin is hunger hormone: it stimulates the appetite and increases the frequency of meals, therefore, its concentration in the body is high before a meal, and then low.It is he who causes terrible hunger in everyone who is on strict diets.

To trick the feeling of hunger and force your body to produce this hormone less actively, try to eat more vegetables, salads and soups – foods with a large volume, due to which there is a long-term feeling of fullness. Again, no one has canceled physical activity: with age, the level of ghrelin in the blood increases and, as a result, promotes weight gain.


Leptin is a satiety hormone, it regulates energy metabolism in the body and suppresses appetite, so a low level of leptin in the blood leads to obesity.Despite its anti-overeating reputation, this insidious hormone is produced in our fat cells, which drastically reduce leptin production when you try to cut calories, disrupting appetite and pushing the losing weight towards a breakdown.

In order for leptin in your body to behave well, try not to skip workouts and eat right, excluding unhealthy fats from the diet, adding more lean meats and fish, vegetables, fruits and consuming at least your normal daily calorie intake.


The hormone cortisol regulates carbohydrate metabolism in our body, but it is best known as a stress hormone: its level in the blood rises when we find ourselves in any stressful situation, be it high physical activity or stress at work. If we are too often sleep deprived or overworked, cortisol levels rise, and we feel acute hunger.

To normalize the raging cortisol, try to just lead a healthy lifestyle: eat fractionally and often (hunger is still stress for the body), get enough sleep, give up foods that stimulate the synthesis of cortisol (alcohol, coffee, white sugar).As you work tirelessly and constantly face stress, remember that instead of sticking to your problems with candy, it will be better and more effective to relax in a different way.

How to avoid a deficiency of vital microelements – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Our body needs almost all chemical elements. But some we can only get with food. And therefore, improper nutrition sometimes leads to serious illnesses. After all, the fashionable diets today, or even just the habit of hastily eating canned foods – all this inevitably leads to a deficiency of many vital minerals and substances.What micronutrients do we especially need, why and how to determine their lack?

Here are just five elements from the periodic table. We need very few of them, but without fail:

1 Iron (Fe) – is a part of blood hemoglobin (60-75% of iron in our body is contained in erythrocytes – red blood cells). Hemoglobin carries the oxygen we breathe to all organs and tissues, so life is impossible without it, just like without oxygen.With iron deficiency in the body, cellular respiration worsens, which leads to tissue and organ dystrophy, then anemia develops, and in advanced cases, blood cancer.

A person should receive 15-20 mg of iron per day. It is found in cottage cheese and hard cheese, legumes, cereals, beets, animal liver. The best absorption of iron from food is facilitated by citric and ascorbic acids and fructose, which are found in fruits, berries, and their juices.

For example: buckwheat, beans, peas, chocolate, blueberries contain about 4 mg of iron per 100 grams of product.

2 Copper (Cu) is a chemical element that prolongs our youth, as it is responsible for the elasticity of tissues. Premature gray hair, wrinkles, and sagging skin are sure signs of a copper deficiency. With a lack of this element in the body, the following are observed: growth retardation (in children), anemia, dermatoses, depigmentation of hair, partial baldness, loss of appetite, severe emaciation, a decrease in hemoglobin levels, atrophy of the heart muscle, varicose veins, the cause of which is the same violation elasticity of tissues.

The human body needs 1-3 mg of copper per day. It is rich in liver, kidneys and meat of animals, sea and freshwater fish; seafood, cereals (pearl barley, wheat, buckwheat, oatmeal), potatoes, dill, some fruits and berries – black currants, raspberries, cranberries, apricots, gooseberries, pears, strawberries. By the way, beer promotes the absorption of copper from food.

For example: 100 grams of cod liver contains 12 mg of copper, cocoa powder – 5 mg, beef liver – 4 mg.

3 Zinc (Zn) is an element that is especially important for men, as it is found most of all in semen.In addition, it affects the activity of the sex and gonadotropic hormones of the pituitary gland, participates in fat, protein and vitamin metabolism, in the processes of hematopoiesis. A sure sign of zinc deficiency is loss of smell and taste. Children with a lack of zinc suffer from pustular diseases of the skin and mucous membranes. In adults, this manifests itself in overexcitation of the nervous system, rapid fatigue, weakening and loss of hair, thickening of the skin, edema of the mucous membranes of the mouth and esophagus. Zinc deficiency also leads to infertility.

Zinc promotes wound healing, so it must be taken before and after any surgery. In addition, zinc helps in the treatment of cataracts, slows down the destruction of the retina. Like vitamin C, zinc completely stops viral infections if caught early enough.

On average, we need to consume 10-20 mg of zinc daily. And for pregnant women up to 30 mg. The richest in this microelement are bran, sprouted wheat grains, coarse bread.

For example: in 100 grams of yeast 10 mg of zinc, in boiled beef – 7 mg, in pumpkin seeds 7.4 mg, in cocoa powder – 6.3.

4 Calcium (Ca) – this element is not only responsible for the strength of our skeleton, but also participates in all life processes of the body. Normal blood clotting occurs only in the presence of calcium salts. Calcium plays an important role in neuromuscular tissue excitability. With a lack of calcium, there are: tachycardia, arrhythmia, muscle pain, unreasonable vomiting, constipation.Hair becomes coarse and falls out. The nails become brittle. The skin thickens and hardens. The lens of the eye loses its transparency. Any fall can lead to serious injury as bones become brittle.

On average, a person needs about 1000 mg of calcium per day. But this value differs for people of different ages. A lot of calcium is found in sesame, nettle, hard cheese, halva, parsley, sardines, cabbage.

For example: one hundred grams of Dutch cheese contains about 1000 mg of calcium, and 100 grams of halva contains 824 mg.

5 Potassium (K) – this element is responsible for the cell membranes, making them permeable for the passage of salts. Therefore, it is necessary for clarity of mind, getting rid of toxins, and treating allergies. A lack of potassium leads to a slowdown in the growth of the body and a violation of sexual functions, causes muscle cramps, interruptions in the work of the heart.

We need up to 2000 mg of potassium daily. This element can be replenished by adding meat and offal, black currant, oatmeal, prunes, watermelon, corn to the menu.

For example: one medium-sized banana contains 450 mg of potassium, a cup of milk 370 mg, one orange 250 mg.

By the way

In addition to microelements, we also need ultramicroelements, which are contained in the human body in very small quantities. These include chromium, vanadium, selenium, boron, nickel, tin, silver, gold, etc. This is how their deficiency affects:

Lithium. It is believed that its deficiency causes a state of aggression, depression and, as a secondary phenomenon, drunkenness.

Chromium and vanadium – their deficiency leads to diabetes, loss of vision.

Tin – without it, a person suffers from early baldness. And with a prolonged shortage, deafness also develops.

Boron – its deficiency leads to osteoporosis, as this element helps to keep the calcium in the bones.

Selenium – its lack hits the heart. It is responsible for the normal functioning of the heart muscle, as well as for the antitumor activity of the body.

Cobalt – saves from anemia, since without it vitamin B12 (which cures anemia) is not formed.

Diet for immunity

Each of us is born with a certain immunity. But to keep it in good quality, you need to follow the basic rules of a healthy diet.

In order to achieve a quick result, young people tend to get involved in extreme diets with restriction of energy, calories, and nutrients. But this has a very bad effect on immunity, because it limits the intake of the necessary substances into the body.

Nutritionists insist: nutrition should be balanced. To maintain immunity, all elements must be present in the diet.

The basis of a diet to strengthen the immune system is, of course, a correct balanced diet . To adequately withstand adversity and misfortune, the body must receive all the substances it needs, from proteins, fats and carbohydrates to vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, all foods traditionally considered harmful, for example, fried, fatty, sweet, will weaken the immune system.

During periods when the immune defense is especially important for the body, you can additionally slightly adjust the diet. And here’s how.

Focus on animal and vegetable proteins . Immunoglobulins – antibodies to everything foreign entering the body – are synthesized by the body from amino acids, so your diet should include meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, fish, soybeans and mushrooms. 1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight every day and your immune system will be on full alert.However, you should not consume more of it (if you do not exercise), this will create additional stress on the kidneys and liver.

Increase the amount of fat . Of course, the majority should be healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, however, animal fats in the diet for immunity will also find a place, albeit in smaller quantities. Up to 30 g of fat per day will not have a significant effect on the figure, but the immune system will be of undoubted benefit.After all, fats are the building blocks of the cell membranes of lymphocytes, macrophages and other defenders of our body. Therefore, we add nuts, avocados, seeds, fatty fish, olive and butter to the diet. Here, too, do not overdo it, as with proteins. Excess fat will not only not help the immune system, but will also reduce the defenses of your body.

Fiber and complex carbohydrates are also needed to strengthen the immune system. They can be obtained from raw vegetables and fruits, bran, whole grains, and breads made from wholemeal flour.All these products will have a positive effect on intestinal motility, become an excellent source of energy and building material for the body’s immune cells. Together with these products, as well as yeast, the body will receive vitamins of group B, in particular B6, which are necessary to activate the immune system during periods of stress and increased activity.

Other vitamins are also needed by the immune system of our body, so include in your menu more foods rich in vitamins A, E, C . These vitamins are not only antioxidants, protect us from carcinogens, but also increase the body’s barrier resistance.At any time of the year, citrus fruits, rosehip broth (from a pharmacy), bell peppers, carrots, apples, cabbage, fresh herbs, kiwi, cod liver and other products are available to us.

In the summer, black currants will be added here, which is also a supplier of bioflavonoids (vitamins of the P group) , which are antioxidants and stimulants of the immune system. You can find them in eggplant, dark grapes, blueberries, red wine.

Let’s add quail eggs here, which will bring you not only protein, vitamins A and E, but also zinc .This element has a positive effect on immunity, in particular, by increasing the number of T-lymphocytes and other antibodies in the blood. Zinc is also found in citrus fruits, apples, figs, herring.

Will help the immune system and selenium , which can be found in bacon, pistachios, dried porcini mushrooms, garlic, corn. It is an antioxidant and stimulates the formation of antibodies.

And since good blood supply is important for the functioning of the immune system, you should include in your diet foods containing copper and iron, for example, buckwheat and pomegranates.In addition, the immune system will be helped by calcium and magnesium, which are responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses, as well as potassium , which the heart needs. Sources of the former will be dairy products and green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweed, egg yolk and olives, while potassium can be obtained by consuming potatoes, bananas and dried fruits.

Vitamins and minerals are best absorbed from food, however, getting all of them from a diet with calories of about 2000 kcal is very problematic, even if you carefully compose your menu exclusively from foods rich in them.Therefore, during periods critical for immunity, your body must be supported with 90,034 synthetic vitamin complexes. A to ensure maximum compatibility of vitamins and minerals, it is advisable to choose not multivitamins, but individual complexes of compatible elements. And ideally, before using them, you need to consult a doctor.

And it is not for nothing that they say that most of the human immune system is located in the intestines. You can support the body’s defense system by adding more fermented milk products containing beneficial bacteria to the diet .

Even a couple of weeks of such nutrition will help the body to mobilize its defenses.

Eat right and don’t get sick!

Deputy Head of the Central State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs E.A. Lebedeva

Going Gray: 15 facts about why, how, genetics and hair care

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As disturbing as it may seem, you see a strand or piece of gray adorning your locks, know this: this shouldn’t be a bad sign.

Gray has a bad reputation in a world that seeks to harm our path forever, but reputation is all it takes – and it can be changed. You can rock your grays like a rock star, paint them to wait for new ones to appear, or even take a closer look at your diet for potential nutritional gaps – because the truth is, grays aren’t sudden.

Before you rush to hug your grays, here are a few things you should know.

1. Gray hair is actually different hair

Graying is usually attributed to the loss of pigment (aka melanin) in the hair shaft. Typically, these hairs have a different feel and texture than their pigmented counterparts. Gray hair has been reported to be coarser, thinner, and “less manageable” – but there are products to help with that! Consider Gray is a new stage in life that you can learn to perceive in your own way.

2. Look at your family to see when graying occurs

There are many reasons why people experience gray hair, but in many cases it just comes down to natural aging and genetics.This means that it is simply happening because it is the commonality of your family’s genes. Check when your relatives or parents have turned gray and see if it fits with your schedule.

3. Your lifestyle can cause gray hair

Environmental and nutritional factors can also be attributed to graying, especially premature graying. “Stress, smoking and unbalanced eating habits are some of the reasons why we can start to experience premature graying,” explains nutrition expert at Maple Holistics, Caleb Buck.

But while stress is the most cited cause, is it true?

When our body responds to stress, it often damages healthy cells. In one study, researchers found that in mice, the stress response damages DNA that builds up over time. While another study in mice has shown a link, there is no human scientific evidence to illustrate a direct link between stress and gray hair.

4. Smoking plays a huge role with grayness

According to a 2013 study, smoking was found to be significantly associated with the appearance of gray hair before the age of 30.This makes it one of the most pressing lifestyle reasons.

5. An improper diet can also lead to graying

Deficiencies in certain nutrients have been found to play an important role in premature graying. One study found that low ferritin, calcium, and vitamin D-3 levels affect graying, while another study found that low levels of copper, zinc, and iron lead to premature graying.

6.By the time you’re 50, your hair can be 50 percent gray

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Just like the reasons for graying, when a person starts to go gray, depends on that person. For example, Caucasians are more likely to experience gray hair than Africans or Asians. With that said, a 2006 study states that by age 50, half of people have up to 50 percent gray hair.

7. Changing your lifestyle can change gray

First things first, if you smoke, talk to your doctor about how best to quit smoking.This obvious step can seriously push back the age when you start to turn gray. If you find quitting smoking stressful, try substituting other activities for smoking. (Although stress was not directly related to graying, daily stress relief never hurt anyone.)

8. Walnuts, fish and zinc can help with gray hair

Backe recommends adding certain foods to your diet to make up for nutrient deficiencies.First, he suggests adding walnuts to your diet. “It is a great source of copper, which helps in imparting pigment to the hair follicles.” He also suggests adding fish, seeds and leafy greens like kale and broccoli as sources of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc, “which are essential for promoting healthy hair and even restoring color.”

9. If your diet does not help, choose vitamin B supplements

Chicken, if consumed in large quantities, can provide vitamins B-12 and B-6, which Bake explains can reduce the appearance of graying hair.But if you’re not a big meat lover, supplements can help. “Vitamin B supplements help increase your body’s ability to prevent gray hair,” explains Bake. “Just make sure you balance the rest of your diet with plenty of roughage, leafy greens, and plenty of water.”

10. The fact that you are gray does not mean that you have to paint it

“It’s so frustrating when all of a sudden there are gray annoying roots and you don’t have time to get to the salon,” says TRUHAIR founder Chelsea Scott.When hair dye isn’t going well, or if you don’t have enough gray to wiggle the look, Scott suggests just parting your hair differently. “If you part your hair on the opposite side of your daily hair, there will be less regrowth on that side, so you won’t see gray.”

11. Makeup can help you deal with amazing gray roots

You can also use temporary home staining techniques to mask the roots. Mincho Pacheco, master hairdresser and colorist at James Joseph’s salon, recommends using some makeup to cover the grays.”If you need to quickly cover them, you can apply a small amount of makeup primer to the roots of gray hair and then apply eyeshadow to temporarily cover gray hair.” Scott also has TRUEHAIR Color & Lift with thickening fibers that come in five different shades. “This allows you to instantly brush away the gray,” she says.

12. For women, French braids and curls can work wonders too

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Scott recommends using large barrel tongs to create waves.“Gray roots are always less visible on wavy hair,” she says. If you prefer a hairstyle, Pacheco offers crossed and french braids, which will also help hide grays (or enhance the look with colored weaves).

13. Gray is beautiful and natural

When all is said and done, gray is a natural part of life and there is no reason why you should feel the need to hide it if you don’t want to. “Gray hair is beautiful,” says Pacheco.“Ultimately, what matters is how you’ve taken advantage of the past years.” If you fall into this category and just want to fully embrace the gray hair life, visit a hair stylist and let them know! They can provide great ways to completely elevate your look.

14. Maintaining gray hair is not the same process as before

“Keep in mind that it’s important to keep your hair looking bright, shiny and healthy,” says Scott. “Gray hair tends to take on a dull yellowish color that can age, so try to keep it shiny and vibrant.”You can do this with purple toning shampoos. Popular options include Aveda Blue Malva Shampoo, Davines Alchemic Silver Series, and Joico’s Color Endure Violet.

15. Gray hair needs SPF

Melanin helps protect hair from free radicals such as UV rays. Since gray hair lacks this pigment-forming protein, this means that it is also much more susceptible to UV exposure. Recent research indicates that without this protection, UV light melts the bark, leaving hair more brittle and damaged.Just like your skin, you need to protect your gray hair from the sun. An easy way is to use a protective spray like Rene Furterer Solaire Protective Summer Fluid.

Invest in hair care

But when it comes down to it, gray hair still resembles dyed hair. A contraction can make or break your new before. Pacheco advises keeping the haircut clean and fresh to show the enviable gray style. “Something layered that gives the hair life,” he says.”The goal is to keep gray hair from appearing static and will add a year to your look.”

Do you know anyone who may be experiencing a gray hair phase? Let them know that there is more than one correct path to gray.

Emily Rextis is a New York-based beauty and lifestyle writer who writes for many publications, including Greatist, Racked, and Self. If she’s not writing on her computer, you will likely find her watching a movie about the mafia, eating a hamburger, or reading a book on New York history.See more of her work on her website or follow her on Twitter.

Diet for the health of your eyes

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It is known that carrots and blueberries are the main products responsible for good vision.What other foods are good for the eyes and why are these benefits? The principle behind nutrition for the eyes is very simple: you need to eat as many foods as possible containing vitamins A, C and E.

Vitamin A. Extremely important for vision, as it is an integral part of the retinal pigment. Lack of this vitamin causes “night blindness” (vision weakens at dusk and with the onset of darkness). However, its regular intake into the body is necessary for any visual impairment.It is the high content of vitamin A that makes carrots such a valuable product for the eyes. This vegetable is a plant source of beta-carotene, which is converted in the body into the very same vitamin A. Less well known is that in yellow bell peppers and avocados there is much more of it than in carrots. And the leader in this indicator is apricot. Moreover, it is useful both fresh and dried. The daily dose of vitamin A is contained in 2 egg yolks.

Vitamin C. Even for the same person, who has perfect vision or is nearsighted, vision can fluctuate both during the day and throughout the year and depend on the state of health, on pressure, which, in turn, is associated with blood circulation …Therefore, the eye cannot be regarded as an isolated organ. At high pressure, the blood supply to the retina is abnormal. Consequently, the condition of the eye is primarily associated with the blood vessels. And the main protector of blood vessels is vitamin C. That is why it is so important for eye health. Since they are very rich in blueberries, you need to eat at least 10 glasses of fresh berries during the season. Blueberries, rubbed with sugar, will support vision in winter. The daily dose of vitamin C is contained in one orange.

Vitamin E. This is a strong antioxidant – a substance that reduces the risk of premature aging of the eye tissue, the appearance of degenerative changes in the retina and iris. Regular intake of this vitamin also counteracts the threat of ocular tumors. Now in large supermarkets you can buy wheat and rye seedlings. One tablespoon of crushed seedlings contains the daily dose of the third “eye” vitamin. In addition, it can be obtained from 50-100 g of hazelnuts or Brazil nuts.

Inna Lvovna Savelyeva, a doctor at the Excimer ophthalmological clinic, talks about the nuances of the diet for the eyes.

  • Can eye diseases be cured with vitamins?
    The claim that eye health is achieved by any specific diet is incorrect. Because the state of the eye is determined at birth and is characterized by anatomical features. For the eye to see well into the distance, it must have a certain length – about 24 mm. If this length is greater, the eye becomes myopic, if it is less, it becomes farsighted. There are only 6-7% of people who have a proportional eye shape.The rest have a deviation in one direction or another. Increased intake of vitamins will not affect it. Vitamins are extremely important, but you cannot rely only on them in the treatment of eye diseases.
  • Is it fair to say that certain foods can improve vision?
    Yes, this is true. The constant use of products that contain the aforementioned vitamins improves vision “by one or two lines”, that is, by 7.0–20%.It is not the amount of vitamins consumed at a time that is important here, but the regularity of their receipt, since it is known that a person needs vitamins only in the amount of the daily requirement. Everything that the body receives in excess of that is excreted from it. Unfortunately, we cannot store vitamins, so those with vision problems need to build their diet in such a way that it constantly contains foods rich in calcium, zinc, vitamins A, C and E.
  • Computer radiation is known to be harmful to the eyes.What can you recommend for people who spend a lot of time at the computer?
    First, and most importantly, you need to take breaks from work, give your eyes a rest, move away from the computer and look into the distance – out the window, deep into the corridor. Secondly, at this time it would be beneficial to eat a carrot, orange, or drink a glass of juice. In this regard, carrots are convenient because you can always take them with you. Even if you eat an apple, it will be good for the eyes, as this fruit contains pectins, which are important for the functioning of blood vessels.As for the influence of any drinks, both positive and negative, it is absent. Contrary to the opinion of some nutritionists, tea, coffee and alcohol are not directly capable of having any effect on the eyes.

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