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Zinc is a mineral that's vital to your body . . . and not just to the thinking part of it! If you don't get enough of an essential vitamin or mineral, that's called a deficiency. In kids, zinc deficiency can harm the body's natural defenses against disease. Or it can slow growth.

It can even limit how well the brain works. As many as two-thirds of school children in Thailand and one-third of Chinese preschoolers may get too little zinc. The problem is much less in the United States, where about 6 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys don't get enough zinc.

So, how can you make sure you get enough zinc from your diet? Good sources are oysters, beef, pork, liver, dried beans and peas, whole grains, fortified cereals, nuts, milk, cocoa and poultry.

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