Yes, deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth in children. Zinc plays an important role in the growth and development of the body, including cell growth and division, wound healing, and the formation of DNA. Without enough zinc, the body can’t properly grow and repair tissues, which can lead to stunted growth. Additionally, zinc deficiency can also impact the immune system, making it more difficult for children to fight off infections and illnesses, which can further contribute to stunted growth.
Zinc role in human body growth
Zinc plays a crucial role in human growth and development. It is involved in the following processes:
- Cell growth and division: Zinc is necessary for the proper functioning of enzymes that drive cell growth and division, which is essential for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body.
- Wound healing: Zinc plays a key role in wound healing by helping to activate immune cells that fight infection and promote tissue repair.
- Formation of DNA: Zinc is a component of the enzymes that help to replicate and repair DNA, the genetic material that controls the growth and development of cells.
- Protein synthesis: Zinc is an essential component of enzymes that help to build and repair the proteins that make up the body’s tissues.
- Hormone regulation: Zinc is involved in the production and regulation of hormones such as insulin and growth hormone, which play important roles in growth and development.
- Immune system: Zinc is important for the function of the immune system and helps in fighting off infections.
Which food has high zinc?
There are many foods that are high in zinc. Some of the best dietary sources of zinc include:
- Oysters: These shellfish are among the most zinc-rich foods, with a 3-ounce serving containing almost 500% of the daily recommended intake.
- Beef: Red meat, such as beef, is a good source of zinc. A 3-ounce serving of beef provides around 40% of the daily recommended intake.
- Pork: Pork is also a good source of zinc, with a 3-ounce serving providing around 20% of the daily recommended intake.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a good source of zinc and a 3/4 cup serving contains around 20% of the daily recommended intake.
- Spinach: Spinach is a good source of zinc, with a cup of cooked spinach providing around 15% of the daily recommended intake.
- Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and flaxseed are all good sources of zinc. A 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds contains around 20% of the daily recommended intake.
- Legumes: Legumes such as lentils, black beans, and kidney beans are also good sources of zinc. A cup of cooked lentils contains around 15% of the daily recommended intake.
- Whole grains: Whole grains like quinoa, wheat, and barley are also good sources of zinc.
Zinc from plant-based sources vs animal-based sources
Zinc from plant-based sources, such as nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, is less bioavailable than zinc from animal-based sources, such as oysters, beef, pork, and other meats. This means that it is more difficult for the body to absorb and utilize zinc from plant-based sources.
One reason for this is that plant-based sources of zinc often contain compounds called phytates, which can bind to zinc and make it less available for absorption. Cooking and soaking can help to reduce the phytate content of plant-based foods and increase their bioavailability.
Another reason is that plant-based sources of zinc are also high in fiber, which can interfere with the absorption of zinc.
It’s worth noting that the bioavailability of zinc from plant-based sources is lower than from animal-based sources, so vegetarians and vegans may need to consume more zinc-rich foods to meet their requirements.