Zinc is important for growth and tissue repair (wound healing), reproductive development and the immune system.

Food sources of zinc

The best source of zinc is red meat, although for vegetarians nuts, legumes and bread are also good sources. As with other minerals, the absorption of zinc is restricted by phytates, which are found in unrefined cereals, legumes and nuts. In 2001, a Dunedin study of 330 premenopausal women found that the women who included red meat in their diet had a superior zinc status to those who did not eat red meat.

It is thought that less than 2% of the population of New Zealand are at risk of inadequate intakes of zinc. The principle sources of zinc in the New Zealand diet are beef and veal, bread and milk.