Zinc is an essential mineral that is a major player in growing cells, healing wounds, supporting brain function, vision, and the immune system.
One 100g serving (about the size of the palm of your hand) of New Zealand pork provides about a third of an adult’s zinc requirements, making it a great way to top up your zinc levels.
Zinc is better absorbed from meat such as New Zealand pork, than from other sources like legumes, nuts, breads and cereals, as these tend to also contain inhibitors, which can reduce absorption of the zinc.
Who is at risk of zinc deficiency?
It is not uncommon for Kiwi children and adults to be low in zinc, but zinc is especially important for the following groups.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
Women need increased zinc levels when pregnant and breastfeeding to help provide for the baby’s growth and development.
Zinc stores in a mother’s breastmilk are likely to be depleted by the age of 6 months. Therefore, it is important that the first solids given to an infant contain zinc. A good option is pureed meats.
Common signs of zinc deficiency
- Decreased immunity
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Depression and anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Acid reflux, indigestion or heartburn
- Hair loss
- Infertility, especially in men
- Slow development in children