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36DaysOfType

Zinc Deficiency

 
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Here's a deficiency you don't often hear about, but one that affects 312 million people in India alone.

Zinc is one of the essential elements in nature. Plants get their zinc from the soil, and humans get their zinc from plants. In India, the soil is one of the most zinc-deficient in the world, ergo so are our people. 

The effects of zinc deficiency in humans are varied, sometimes manifesting as stunted growth, poor immune systems, and, in children, impaired physical and neural development - leading to decreased brain functions that will remain into adulthood.

Zinc deficiency affects children the hardest - weakening their immune systems, and making them more vulnerable to diarrhoea and pneumonia, the main causes of death among children under the age of 5, especially in developing nations like ours.

And, being a developing nation, basic access to food for most of the population is often tough enough as it is, so a "balanced diet" of meat, fish, dairy and whole grains is a whole other challenge entirely.

Enter Zinc Saves Kids - an initiative by the International Zinc Association (IZA) - which works with UNICEF's zinc programmes to improve the chances of survival, growth and development of undernourished kids worldwide.

If you're vegetarian, or just not a fan of the foods we listed above, Tarla Dalal offers up some other recommendations - mushrooms, garlic, pumpkin seeds and spinach. So cook up something special this weekend, and make Tarla proud.