Zinc is an essential micro nutrient, important for many bio processes in the human body. Eating zinc rich foods is important for proper immune system functioning, the sense of smell, protein synthesis, healthy skin, controlling blood sugar levels, DNA creation, triggering enzymes and support of growth during pregnancy, childhood and adulthood.
In the fitness world, zinc is known as a mineral that can help muscle growth. It affects virtually all phases of growth.There are two most important benefits of zinc rich foods for bodybuilders and fitness athletes. The first is the ability of zinc to increase testosterone levels. (which can lead to increased muscle mass). The second one is the aid that zinc provides for better sleep.
Not eating enough foods high in zinc, coupled with intense training will lead to zinc deficiency. Some symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
-Problems with sleep
-Slow growth (in children)
-Eczema and other skin conditions
-Lack of sex drive
-Loss of appetite
-Loss of smell and loss of taste
-White spots on your fingernails
Here is a list of foods high in zinc:
1. Cocoa and chocolate – Cocoa and dark chocolate are known for their high benefits. Besides antioxidants cocoa powder contains high amounts of zinc. A 100 gram dark chocolate can contain up to 65% of daily values of zinc. (or 10 mg of zinc)
2. Watermelon and pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds and especially watermelon seeds contain high amounts of zinc.A 100g of serving can contain 10-12mg of zinc (or close to 70-75% of the daily needs)
3. Red meat – Red meat is known as a zinc rich food. It also rich in iron and is recommended as a remedy for anemia.
4. Peanuts – 100g of roasted peanuts have about 22% of the recommended daily quantity of zinc.
5. Liver – contains close to 80% of the recommended value in a 100g portion. Besides the high content of zinc, liver contains many more minerals and vitamins.It usually is served with fried onions.
6. Oysters – a hundred gram serving of oysters can provide anywhere from one hundred to one thousand percent of the recommended daily amount, making it one of the best foods high in zinc.
You should also know that when consumed in doses that are higher than the recommended, Zinc can be toxic, disrupt the absorption of iron and cause anemia. (iron deficiency)