Zinc – a cornerstone of immunity

-Apr 3, Jenny Paul , Nutrition -

Zinc is an important nutrient for healing, healthy growth and development, muscle repair, DNA synthesis, immune function, cell replication and protection from free radical damage.

Zinc contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails. It is needed by more than 100 enzymes and is thought to be involved in more body functions than any other mineral.

As a water-soluble mineral, zinc is easily depleted from soils by rain and from food by cooking. Refining grains also removes zinc content from cereals and so a vegetarian diet is likely to be deficient as zinc is most successfully absorbed from animal foods where it is bound with proteins. Stress, excess sweat, alcohol, weight loss, injury and surgery all deplete our levels of zinc.

What is zinc and what is it used for? 

Zinc is critical in chemical detoxification and our ability to handle environmental chemicals and toxins. It helps the liver detoxify alcohols. 

Zinc is also thought to help the body utilize and maintain levels of vitamin A. Through this action, zinc helps maintain healthy skin cells and generate new skin after injury or surgery. 

By helping collagen formation, zinc aids in healing wounds and, by regulating the skin’s oil glands, may help improve acne. 

Zinc also plays a key role in maintaining vision and is present in high concentrations in the eye. It has been shown to be beneficial to vision-related diseases, such as macular degeneration, night blindness and cataracts.

Which foods contain zinc?

Zinc is found in pumpkin seeds and wheat germ, both of which are an easy addition to breakfast. “Just 100g of pumpkin seeds can provide you with over 60% of your RDA of zinc, although it’s advisable to eat them raw rather than roasted,” explains Naomi Buff who is a holistic nutritional wellness coach.

She adds: “Meat is also rich in zinc. 100g of beef contains over 80% of your RDA so meat eaters are less likely to be zinc deficient than vegetarians.”

Shellfish are also high in zinc, and while many fruits are not, pomegranates, avocados and berries are rich in the mineral. 

For an easy boost of zinc Naomi suggests snacking on pumpkin seeds or adding them to your morning oatmeal or smoothie.

What are the benefits of zinc? 

Zinc can help curtail the progression of viral flu and cold symptoms, as well as the herpes virus; it also lessens allergies and environmental sensitivities.

FAQ: What is the recommended daily dosage of zinc? 

Lumity contains 3mg of zinc, an essential trace mineral, which is 30% of the RDA. Some health conditions warrant higher doses of zinc supplementation but these should always be taken on advice from your doctor. The best way to increase your zinc levels naturally is to increase your intake of zinc-rich foods.

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