Zinc: essential for health
You may currently take zinc when you have a cold or flu. However, did you know that your cells need zinc on a daily basis? The adult body contains approximately 2.0 to 3.0 g of zinc, mostly stored inside your cells. Zinc has far reaching actions which affect the health of your whole body.
Are Your Zinc Levels Low?
If you experience any of the following symptoms, your zinc levels may be low:
- Recurrent colds, flus and/or infections;
- Poor appetite, reduced sense of taste and/or smell;
- Sluggish digestion;
- Slow growth and development;
- Slow healing, acne and other skin conditions;
- Sugar cravings; and/or Stress, anxiety, and depression.
The LowDown on Zinc Deficiency
Many people are deficient in zinc. Inadequate dietary intake, increased physiological needs, or a diet high in sugar or alcohol and profuse sweating are common causes of zinc deficiency.
Nourishing Your Body from A to Zinc
Zinc protects your cells from free radical damage, providing antioxidant defence. Zinc’s actions include supporting healthy immunity, and improving appetite and digestive function. Its ability to increase the healing rate of acne and wounds makes it indispensable for skin health. Zinc also plays a key role in blood sugar metabolism, improving blood sugar control.
Zinc aids growth and development, and is an important nutrient during pregnancy for both mother and baby. Zinc is also important for male health, fertility and sperm production - increasing sperm motility and concentration, therefore enhancing the chances of conception.
Zinc is found in high concentrations in the hippocampus area of the brain which controls thought and memory. Recent research has shown zinc to be good for the brain, reducing stress and having a positive impact on mental function and mood.
Foods high in Zinc
You can top up your zinc levels by increasing the intake of zinc rich foods: Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc, with red meat next in line. Non animal sources include nuts, tahini, dark leafy greens and some legumes. If your diet is mostly plant based it can be a challenge to get enough zinc - overeating nuts and tahini isn't wise.
Zinc For Greater Absorption
If you need more zinc than what your diet provides, supplementing with zinc is low cost and effective. Specific supplements can provide enhanced cellular uptake, increasing the availability of zinc to your body. The better zinc is absorbed, the greater benefits it will deliver in improving your health.