Millennials who are turning their backs on traditional meals in favor of trendy Instagram-able dishes are putting themselves at risk for zinc deficiency. No doubt, most people would jump on board a cheesy pasta train as it pulled out of the station rather than taking a slow-moving bus, the traditional healthy meal that involved, say, liver.
These decisions are having a direct effect on the lives of busy millennials, though, and it doesn’t look good. The Meat Advisory Panel has cautioned that many millennials are deficient in their levels of zinc because they are turning away from the tried and true meals of their grandparents which included lots of zinc heavy meats.
At fault? Social media.
Nearly 70% of millennials participating in a study said that social media influenced their dining choices. On the flip side, less than half of those between ages 35 and 54 are influenced by social media.
The older generations typically follow diets that are better for their health, including zinc-rich foods. In the UK, nearly 90% of those middle-aged or older still follow the same diets as their parents served them.
Zinc deficiency is approaching epidemic proportions, per Professor of Neurobiology Robert Pickard of the University of Cardiff: “Our diet has changed drastically over the years, and as foods such as liver, cockles, and kippers have been lost from the menu, we have also lost some of our key sources of zinc.”
He goes on to explain the importance of Zinc rich diets: “Zinc plays an important role in the body, from contributing to the growth of cells to helping maintain the immune system and healthy skin, hair and nails.”
Robert did offer a little hope, though. “We don’t need to resurrect some of the old-fashioned classics however to help us increase our zinc levels, as lean red meat is one of the best sources of dietary zinc.”
In other words, even if you’re not into a zinc rich diet, you can get your zinc doses through lean red meats such as beef, or lamb and pork. Millennials can eat these meats moderately, as they are trying to balance a healthy diet and the end of the world.
About one-third of our recommended zinc levels come from these meats or meat products, so if you don’t eat red meats, you are placing yourself at high risk of zinc deficiency. Zinc found in lean meats is absorbed more efficiently by the body than vegetable-based zinc, so if you enjoy meat don’t hold back. Have a lamb chop or lean burger for lunch.