Zinc is an essential trace element for all forms of life. It plays an important role in the structure of proteins and cell membranes. Loss of zinc from biological membranes increases their susceptibility to oxidative damage and impairs their function.
The National Institutes of Health says this about zinc:
Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system.
Zinc insufficiency has been recognized by a number of experts as an important public health issue, especially in developing countries.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Zinc
- 0 – 6 months: 2* milligrams per day (mg/day)
- 7 – 12 months: 3* mg/day
- 1 – 3 years: 3 mg/day
- 4 – 8 years: 5 mg/day
- 9 – 13 years: 8 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults
- Males age 14 and over: 11 mg/day
- Females age 14 to 18 years: 9 mg/day
- Females age 19 and over: 8 mg/day
*Adequate Intake (AI)
Foods Rich in Zinc
Supplements are available, and it’s often found in many over-the-counter drugs as a cold remedy, but the best way to get zinc into your diet is through food sources. Here are 8 of our favorites.
- Meat (try to stick with SuperFoods like chicken and turkey)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chocolate (Don’t go crazy with this. Stick to your daily allotment.)
Secondary Source: National Institutes of Health