Can This Mineral Help You Boost Your Immune System?
You need a daily dose of minerals for a healthy body and mind. Calcium, Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, and Zinc are essential for the effective functioning of numerous bodily functions. They maintain a healthy heart rate, develop strong bones, produce hormones, and increase brain function.
Did you know that ZINC is the second most prevalent trace mineral in the body after iron? And that it’s required for many critical functions, such as immune system maintenance and healing?
So, what does it do?
Zinc influences several elements of our immune system. It is central to the growth and functioning of cells and enzymes that form the first line of defense against harmful materials that enter your body. Zinc is also vital for healthy skin, nails, and hair.
What happens when there’s not enough zinc in your body?
Some effects of zinc deficiency include:
- Skin diseases such as acne, rough-dry patches, and eczema
- Decrease in senses of smell and taste – this is because one of the enzymes required for proper taste and smell depends on zinc.
- Mental drowsiness and weakened immunological defenses against infection
- Loss of appetite
- Delayed wound healing
- Autoimmune diseases, where the immune system starts attacking its own tissues
- Problems with learning and memory
Including Zinc in Your Diet
Our bodies don’t store excess zinc for later use, so a daily zinc intake is necessary to keep your immune system up and running.
While zinc naturally exists in some foods, you can also take it with your meals as a dietary supplement. However, since the body absorbs micronutrients more easily, I recommend that you get zinc through a healthy diet in addition to simply taking a multivitamin.
Here are some yummy zinc-rich food sources that will boost your immune system and keep you healthy!
If you enjoy a nice handful of seeds in your salad, I have some good news for you. Some seeds like hemp, pumpkin, squash and sesame seeds contain significant amounts of zinc. For example, 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds contain 31% and 43% of the recommended daily intake for men and women, respectively.
A fistful of cashews is, indeed, a delicious something to munch on, and they are loaded with healthy fat. But have you heard that cashews are also high in zinc content? Just one portion fulfills approximately 20% of your daily zinc needs.
Eggs contain a good amount of zinc and can help you meet your daily target. For example, 1 large egg contains around 5% of the DV. This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats and a host of other vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and selenium.
Great news! dark chocolate is a good source of zinc. In fact, a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar of 70–85% dark chocolate contains 3.3 mg of zinc! However, chocolate is also high in calories. So make sure that you are eating it in moderation.
If you can handle the flavor, cow liver is a wonderful source of zinc. A three-ounce serving contains more than half of the daily recommended amount of zinc. Try incorporating chopped beef into meatballs, meatloaves, or ground beef patties.
Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium, but it also has a fair amount of zinc. A serving of eight ounces provides 1.34 milligrams of zinc. Not so terrible for a quick snack or breakfast, is it?
If you’re a vegetarian, I got you!
Make lentils, nuts, and seeds your best friend. Nonetheless, due to the poor absorption of zinc coming from whole grains and its lower availability in other plant-based foods, if you feel like you’re not getting a sufficient amount of zinc in your body, you might want to consider getting a zinc supplement.
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