Helping to boost nutrition in the food item, Zinc Oxide is one of known food additive used to add zinc to food. Naturally, Zinc Oxide occurs as the mineral zincite, yet most zinc oxide is produced synthetically due to its rarity in the wild. It is a chemical compound that creates a white powder insoluble in water. Although the compound is safe to use in food, but it is also used in inedible chemical products such as paint and makeup.
In spite of being widely used in various field (edible products, pharmaceutical,rubber, ceramic and glass industries), the versatile zinc oxide (ZnO) is currently listed as generally recognized as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is commonly used as a food additive, given that zinc is an essential trace element which participates in a number of metabolic reactions in the human body.
As a food additive, Zinc Oxide purposefully adds nutrients to food to increase its nutritional value. It acts as fortifiers which help to improve the appearance, flavor, texture, and storage properties of the food. Zinc Oxide is also often found in nutrition bars and breakfast cereals. Meanwhile, there are also foods naturally rich in zinc, for example red meat, yogurt, cashews, and pumpkin seed. Food high in protein are also generally high in zinc. People who are not getting enough zinc in their daily intake might want to consider looking for foods that contain added zinc oxide, taken into account the fact of its importance.
Zinc deficiency can lead to a serious condition such as diarrhea, hair loss, extended wound healing time, vulnerability to infection, night blindness, poor appetite and delays in growth and sexual maturation in children. Although lack of zinc can affect anyone who does not eat a balanced diet, the deficiency most commonly occurs in people who does not eat a variety of foods. According to The Office of Dietary Supplements, people over the age of 60 may be most at risk for deficiency. Even so, it does not mean that eating fortified foods can provide all the zinc needed by the human body. Taking a zinc supplement might also be a way for those who do not eat a diet high in foods that naturally contain zinc.
With that said, the mostly overlooked zinc oxide is actually crucial for human body to be able to function properly. In the world’s major producer of a wide variety of agricultural tropical products country such as Indonesia, the needs of zinc can easily be fulfilled through variety of legumes easily grown on the land. Daily intake of ZnO contained aliment would definitely help to maintain our general health. Keep in mind that nowadays, Zinc Oxide can also generally found in form of food additive, and it is totally safe.