Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in more than a hundred enzymatic reactions in the body, which is why consuming foods high in zinc is so important. It’s needed in small amounts every day in order to maintain your health and perform important functions. Zinc benefits come from its presence within all bodily tissue — it’s needed for healthy cell division, and it acts like an antioxidant, fighting free radical damage and slowing the aging process.
Zinc deficiency is now known to be a major malnutrition problem worldwide, and inadequate intake of foods high in zinc is one of the main causes. Compared to adults, infants, children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women are most at risk for a zinc deficiency. These groups have increased requirements for zinc, so it’s important that they consume enough foods high in zinc every day or, in the case of infants, get it from breast milk.