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Zinc-Based Diet Extends Lifespan, Prevents Cancer, Heart Disease & DNA Deterioration; How Much Do You Actually Need?

Update Date: Jan 10, 2017 08:30 AM EST

A new study reveals that adding an extra amount of zinc a day can have a positive impact in one's health. Beef, chocolate and spinach are rich with this mineral.

The study from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in California found that an extra 4 mg of zinc a day will be beneficial. Eating lean short beef ribs which contains 38.7 mg of zinc can already provide more than the study recommends. A cup of cashew nuts contain 7.7 mg of zinc while a cup of chocolate has 5.9 mg.

Led by senior scientist Janet King, the research looked into 18 men in a randomized, controlled study for six weeks. The subjects were given a low-zinc and rice-based diet. During the first two weeks, they were given six mg of zinc per day. It was later titrated to 10 mg for the next four weeks.

Results showed that adding zinc in the diet has reduced the damage on DNA strands, limit inflammation and oxidation that are associated with cardiovascular diseases and cancers. King said that they are pleased with the findings as it "presents a new strategy for measuring the impact of zinc on health and reinforce the evidence that food-based interventions can improve micronutrient deficiencies worldwide."

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily recommended amount of zinc for women is 8 mg and 11 mg for men, which can also vary slightly depending on a person's age.

The best source of zinc is oysters, but red meat, poultry, crabs and lobsters are also rich in this mineral. Some breakfast cereals are also zinc-fortified. Beans, dairy products, nuts and whole grain are also recommended by health experts as good sources of the vitamin.

While a diet rich in zinc may have beneficial impact on one's health, excessive intake can also be harmful. Too much zinc can lower copper level, impair immunity and lower good cholesterol level.

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