Millennials could be deficient in zinc after ditching old-school foods for enticing Instagram-worthy dishes.

I’ll be honest, if someone gave me the choice between pasta loaded with enough cheese to create the perfect slow-motion fork-pull, and a plate of kippers, there’s no doubt I’d go for the pasta, and I’d seriously judge anyone who chose otherwise.

However, it seems dismissing traditional meals like kippers, liver and cockles could be having an affect on the health of young people. Even if they do sound like they’re straight out of a pirates’ cookbook.


A study commissioned by The Meat Advisory Panel has revealed millennials could be deficient in zinc because of their diet choices, with less than a quarter of Generation Y having tried foods like cockles and herring, zinc-packed cupboard staples often favoured by our grandparents.

Let’s be honest though, cockles, kippers and liver just don’t sound appetising, do they?

70 per cent of the millennials studied cited social media as an influence in dinner decisions, compared to just 49 per cent of those aged between 35 and 54 who indulge in zinc rich foods because they are good for their health, and are unlikely to be swayed by social networks.

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The study revealed 90 per cent of middle-aged Brits opt for zinc rich foods because their parents used to serve it to them.

Robert Pickard, Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Cardiff, commented on the importance of zinc in the millennial diet, saying:

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.

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.

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.

If kippers and cockles aren’t up your street, lean red meat like beef, pork and lamb is one of the best sources of dietary zinc, helping increase sex drive, boost brain power and fight flu and tiredness.

Eating red meat could be a key ingredient to solving the millennial zinc deficiency dilemma – but only in moderation, because we have to try and save the planet, too. Millennials certainly have a lot to deal with.

Just over third of our average zinc intake comes from meat and meat products overall, and people who consume no red meat can be at much greater risk of a zinc deficiency.

Zinc found in pork, beef and lamb is better absorbed by the body than vegetarian alternatives, so if you’re a meat-eater who just isn’t enticed by the sound of a plate of kippers, maybe cook up a nice lamb chop instead and make sure you get your recommended zinc intake.

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