Why beef ribs, spinach and chocolate could be the key to fighting off disease

While red meat is often thought to be the enemy when it comes to health, new research has found that food rich in zinc, including beef short ribs, could help to prevent cancer and lead to a longer life span.

New research from USF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) has revealed that four extra milligrams of zinc per day could have a great impact on health. Zinc is found in such food as beef short ribs, spinach and chocolate.

Now researchers say that just including a little bit of extra zinc in your diet could be positive for cellular health as well as helping to fight off infection and disease. Currently, the recommendation for daily zinc is 15 mg. Scientists say that extra zinc can help protect cells from the wear and tear associated with ageing.

Immune system

The study looked at the effect zinc had on the human metabolism, discovering that even a small amount of the mineral reduced DNA damage. Zinc is also understood to help ensure that the immune system stays healthy as well as preventing inflammation and oxidative stress, which can be connected to the onset of cancer and cardiovascular problems.

People who are zinc deficient could also have issues with hair loss, diarrhea and immune function. This latest study suggests that making dietry changes could help long term health. Authors are now suggesting that diet could be the solution in countries where there are widespread zinc deficiencies.

Lead author Dr Janet King said that she and her team were pleasantly surprised to find out that just adding a small amount of zinc into the diet through food could have a big effect on the metabolism. Previous research has shown that taking zinc supplements can reduce how severe a common cold is, and how long it lasts for.

Judith is a qualified journalist who has worked in both the UK and the US, specialising in writing about politics, education and health.