Good Nutrition

Zinc

Zinc is a component of every living cell in the body. It is essential for the structure and function of over 50 enzymes. It is important for growth, sperm production, night vision, appetite, sense of taste and smell, maintaining a strong immune system and for wound healing. Zinc is widely distributed in foods, but the amounts available for absorption vary.

  • Beef and lamb have a high zinc content. Red meats, especially kidneys and liver, are higher in zinc than poultry, cheese, grains, legumes or vegetables. Beef and lamb are the most commonly eaten sources of zinc in New Zealand.
  • The type of protein in foods such as beef and lamb promotes zinc absorption. This means zinc is more easily absorbed from meals containing meat. Plant foods such as grains and legumes often contain phytates and dietary fibre, which inhibit zinc absorption.

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