Even if our intake requirements are modest, zinc is still essential for maintaining overall good health. It can help reduce symptoms of a cold and can even prevent and treat acne by decreasing oil production in the skin and protecting against bacterial infection and inflammation. Since your body doesn't naturally produce zinc, you must obtain it through food or supplements.
Benefits of zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral used to support eye, skin and hair health, but that's not all. It also strengthens the immune system, promotes hormonal balance and protects cells from damaging free radicals.
It has also been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold by up to 33%, when 80-92 mg of zinc were taken every day.
Furthermore, a little known zinc fact, it is actually fundamental in our ability to taste and smell, as one of the enzymes needed for these senses is dependent on this mineral. So, a deficiency in zinc can actually impact one's sensory capabilities and their culinary experiences.
Zinc is required for numerous processes, including;
- Gene expression
- Immune function
- Enzymatic reactions
- Wound healing
- Protein synthesis
- Growth and development
Although severe zinc deficiencies are not common, it can occur in people with rare genetic mutations, people with alcohol addictions, breastfed babies whose mothers are deficient in zinc and anyone taking immune-suppressing medications.
Symptoms of severe zinc deficiency can include impaired development and growth, chronic diarrhea, skin rashes and compromised wound healing.
On the other hand, mild cases of zinc deficiency are far more common. It is said that more than 2 billion people worldwide are zinc deficient due to insufficient dietary intake.
Symptoms that may be linked to a lack of sufficient zinc intake can include; diarrhea, decreased immunity, thinning hair, dry skin, fertility issues and delayed wound healing.
Zinc deficiency - people at risk
People at risk of zinc deficiency are:
- People with poor gastrointestinal health
- Vegans and vegetarians
- Pregnant and breastfeeding woman
- People that abuse alcohol
- People with malnourishment issues
Foods that provide the highest amount of zinc
Many foods; including animal and plant-based ones, contain adequate amounts of zinc. This makes it accessible and easy to get your daily dose no matter your diet.
Here are a few foods that contain zinc;
- Nuts and seeds; pepitas, cashews, hemp seeds and almonds
- Legumes; chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans
- Whole grains; oats, quinoa, brown rice
- Vegetables; kale, peas, mushrooms and asparagus
In addition to your regular food consumption, there are other healthy daily supplements you can take to ensure adequate zinc levels in your body. For example, Bio-Strath, is an all-natural food supplement that comes in a complete bio-available form, making it a more favorable option with significant benefits over synthetic vitamins and elemental minerals.
Clinical research has proven that Bio-Strath increases your body's natural zinc absorption seven times. Alongside zinc, Bio-Strath contains 61 other essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids necessary for optimal health. Taking zinc and other minerals through this food supplement provides a better assimilation and absorption than if they were taken in an isolated, individual form. It is good and safe for the whole family, ages 4 and above!
What blocks zinc absorption?
There is no part of the body that stores zinc, making it important to have a regular dietary intake. Unfortunately, some foods and supplements can inhibit zinc absorption. Being aware and limiting or avoiding these can help ensure a healthy level of zinc intake.
- Soy and other legume proteins
- Iron supplements; supplemental iron can inhibit the absorption of zinc when taken at the same time.
Daily recommended dose
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Canadians is:
- 2 mg/day for young infants,
- 3 to 7 mg/day for children to age 12, and,
- from the age of 13, 9 mg/day for males and 8 mg/day for females.
Zinc-rich recipe idea
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free yogurt
- 1 or 2 teaspoons of Bio-Strath Elixir
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- Place the oats, milk, yogurt and maple syrup in a bowl. Mix together, then cover and pop in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning place the blueberries in a pan with a dash of water and cook on a medium heat for 5 mins. Once the berries start to soften and release their juices you can pour over your pre-made oats. Finally, drizzle some almond butter on top for extra protein, zinc and flavour!