Autumn is on the horizon and with the shorter days and cooler weather comes seasonal bugs and sickness. However, I believe that if you keep your immune system strong and healthy, you should breeze through it all!
Zinc is one of those minerals which is essential for a healthy immune system. Yet it does so much more! It’s needed for growth & development, and to help the immune system fight off infections and to make cell proteins. It’s also a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells.
As zinc helps cells to grow it is essential in childhood, adolescence and pregnancy.
Throughout the year we may need to top up on different minerals and vitamins in line with the seasonal changes. This is also true for our lives, especially women as our bodies go through distinct changes and phases as we get older.
It’s important to check in with what our bodies need as we will have different nutritional needs at different times.
In this article I’ll talk about why we need zinc in our bodies, good food sources and how much we need daily.
Why do we need zinc?
Zinc is a trace mineral that is needed for the body to function properly. It’s essential for development and growth and for a healthy immune system to fight off infection.
Zinc is vital for our health. It’s involved in over 200 chemical reactions and functions in our bodies. Our body relies on zinc for growth, maintenance, and many other functions.
Yet many of us are zinc deficient. Primarily because this mineral is found in animal sources, so vegans and vegetarians are at the greatest risk of deficiency, as are the elderly.
The top 10 benefits of zinc
Here are my top 10 benefits of zinc as part of our quest for physical health and well-being:
- It strengthens our immune system.
- Speeds up wound healing.
- Is good for skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema.
- Supports fertility and our sexual organs.
- Reduces cell damage and inflammation.
- Promotes healthy digestion.
- Balances blood sugar levels.
- Prevents age-related vision loss.
- Can help with depression.
- Supports our 5 senses.
9 Signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency
It’s not always easy to test for zinc deficiency and some of the symptoms are synonymous with other deficiencies. If you experience any of the following, it may be time to look at whether you have enough zinc in your diet.
- Infertility and a low libido.
- Constant infections, colds, sickness bugs.
- A loss of appetite.
- Slow or poor wound healing.
- Hair loss.
- Brain fog.
- Changes in taste and smell.
- Skin conditions.
Foods containing zinc
Our bodies do not create zinc by themselves, meaning we have to get it from our food.
I always recommend eating a balanced diet and cooking everything from scratch. If you can, go organic where possible.
As always, try to eat freshly prepared food using fresh ingredients. Cut out or cut down on processed foods and foods with little nutritional value, excessive sugar and alcohol.
You can find zinc in the following foods:
- Nuts and seeds; pecans, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and pine nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
- Seafood such as oysters, clams, haddock and crab.
- Green peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
- Chicken, turkey and red meat (always go organic).
- Eggs and dairy products.
- Brown rice, quinoa and oats.
- Vegetables such as turnips, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, ginger, garlic and courgettes.
Sometimes, we need a little extra help. I would always recommend a good quality supplement from an independent health store.
The best supplement is zinc picolinate as it’s easier to absorb. Zinc citrate and glycinate are also well absorbed by the body.
Consumption Daily Recommendations
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Zinc is:
- Women: 8mg per day
- Men: 11mg per day
- Therapeutic doses range from 15-50mg.
Before taking any supplement, please consult with a qualified nutritionist and always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement if you are on medication. Zinc interacts with certain medications so very important you mention it to your doctor if you are taking medication.
I hope you have found this article useful. If you would like a bespoke health and nutrition plan then get in touch via my Facebook page. I work with women on their weight, health and overall vitality.