Zinc, like magnesium, is a mineral that’s present in many of the body’s functions. Though not as ubiquitous as magnesium, zinc is still very important when it comes to your diet, since the body lacks a specialized zinc storage system (and therefore you need to keep up your zinc intake!).
While there are many benefits of zinc, there are three in particular that can have a large impact on your daily health:
Zinc supports your immune system. Your immune system doesn’t need more than a little zinc to function well, but a deficiency can have bad consequences, since zinc is a necessary ingredient in T-cells. T-cells are important because they attack infected and cancerous cells and they also help to control and regulate your immune responses. Therefore, it’s important to maintain T-cell function by having adequate amounts of zinc!
Zinc contributes to healing wounds. The protein collagen maintains the structure in skin and other kinds of connective tissue, and zinc helps in the production and remodeling of collagen - a key property that boosts tissue growth in and around a wound, thus promoting healing.
Zinc can help you with that nasty cold you caught. Many people find that zinc lozenges can help to cut down on the severity and duration of a cold. Some studies have even shown that this zinc remedy can reduce the length of a cold by 40%! This could be because zinc can help to reduce inflammation in the mouth and throat, where much of the cold virus resides.
Now that you know some of the benefits of zinc, let’s talk about sources of zinc! Some great sources of zinc include oysters, red meat, lobster, and poultry. For vegetarians, try beans, nuts, dairy products, and whole grains.
Since zinc isn’t stored in the body, individuals who are prone to zinc deficiencies either have problems absorbing it, take in too little, or use up too much. In particular, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding use a lot of zinc for their baby’s needs and may also run low. It’s important not to take this mineral for granted, and the only source of zinc comes from what we eat (either from food or supplements). So, think zinc!