Zinc and Health

Want to avoid getting sick this cold and flu season? Then make sure you’re getting enough zinc in your diet. When the body is deficient in zinc, it is more prone to seasonal colds and.  Zinc, a trace element, boosts the immune system, helping to ward off illness, as well as aid in the speed of recovery.  Zinc is also essential for normal growth and development, aids in wound healing and recovery, proper DNA synthesis, and is necessary in the development of our sense of taste and smell.

The body does not store zinc, but rather requires a steady intake on a daily basis. Zinc is found naturally in a large variety of foods, and some of the healthiest vegetarian zinc-rich food choices that include chickpeas, almonds, beans, mushrooms, asparagus, wild caught oysters and fish.

Indicators of a zinc deficiency include a compromised immune system (does it seem like you are always coming down with one ‘bug’ or another?), alopecia (hair loss), dysentery, impotency, eye and skin incisions and a loss of taste and the sense of smell. In children the main symptom is retarded growth and development.  Zinc is also a very important mineral necessary for fertility, so if you are trying to get pregnant both parties should be particularly careful to consume sufficient amounts of zinc-rich foods.

Zinc deficiency is usually not easy to recognize, because many of the symptoms do not develop until later in adulthood.  Even then, it is often overlooked.  If when you examine your diet you find that you are not taking in enough zinc, just start adding in some zinc-rich foods as mentioned above.  If you feel you might have health symptoms that indicate a possible zinc deficiency, you might also want to start supplementing with low daily dose of zinc, in addition to making some dietary changes.  Zinc is a powerful immune booster, so making sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet, will help make you more resistant to colds, flu and other common ‘bugs’.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews