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The Importance of Having Zinc in Your Diet

February 13th, 2012 Healthy Living

Zinc plays a number of important roles in your body - it's involved in cellular metabolism, can help maintain healthy immune function and even helps sharpen your senses of taste and smell, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH also notes that your body has no means of storing zinc, so you should try and work some into your diet every day. Luckily, it's found in a number of foods as well as nutritional supplements.

It's recommended that male adults above the age of 19 receive 11 mg of zinc a day, and that females consume eight. For most Americans, your zinc will probably come from red meat - about three ounces of beef contains nine milligrams of zinc. If you're trying to limit your meat intake and would prefer to not take any supplements, you may have to work a bit harder to receive proper amounts of zinc.

According to The World's Healthiest Foods, an ounce of sesame seeds will give you the zinc you need for the day. Spinach is also very high in the nutrient, but you may want to eat it raw, as a lot of the zinc will be lost upon cooking it.

Of course, you can always take a supplement to help boost your levels of zinc, but remember that there's no need to go overboard. Because your body has no way of storing it, any extra zinc you bring into your diet won't do very much good. If you suspect you have a zinc deficiency, whether because of impaired taste or smell or a more easily compromised immune system, it may be a good idea to take a supplement until the problem clears up.