These days we’re all looking for ways to boost our immunity. Discover all about Zinc and Discover all about Zinc and strengthen your immunity!
Immunity building is now the talk of the town. The Covid-19 pandemic has suddenly shifted the focus on how building our immunity is the key to staying in good health at all times. There are a lot of posts, articles, and forwards that now talk about how we can boost our immune system with the help of our diets and lifestyle. If there’s one thing common in all of these, it’s the importance of zinc in boosting our bodies’ inherent capacity to fight off diseases.
But the whole question is – how much zinc do our bodies actually require? They do ask us to pop in the supplements, but what if you end up taking more than what our bodies need? Well, if you’ve had these questions in your mind, it’s time we have an elaborate talk about zinc today.
We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about zinc. Once you understand these benefits well, you’ll also know why zinc is one of the essential elements we need to include regularly in our diets. So let’s get started with zinc, the key to boosting your immunity:
What is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential nutrient that our bodies require for so many different purposes like growth and development, wound healing, gene expression, strong immune function, protein, and DNA synthesis. However, as zinc is an essential nutrient, our bodies cannot produce or store zinc. This also explains why we need to constantly consume zinc to ensure the zinc levels in our bodies are up to the mark.
What Happens When We Don’t Take in Enough Zinc as Required?
Around 2 billion people in the world are deficient in zinc due to different causes. While some have a proper dietary intake, their bodies cannot absorb zinc. The others do not have enough sources of zinc in their diets at all.
Typical symptoms of zinc deficiency are impaired growth and development, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea, and difficulty in wound healing. The deficiency of zinc in children can also lead to behavioral issues.
Who is At Risk of Zinc Deficiency?
Those who are malnourished or suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia usually suffer from zinc deficiency. Additionally, pregnant women, people with gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic kidney diseases face a high risk of zinc deficiency. Older infants who are only breastfed are also more likely to suffer from zinc deficiency.
Lack of zinc is one of the significant reasons for depleted immunity among kids. In older people, the symptoms typically are dry skin, fertility issues, thinning of hair, and mood swings.
How to Detect Zinc Deficiency?
Merely running lab tests wouldn’t help detect zinc deficiency in our bodies. The only ways to ensure that we have enough zinc in our bodies are to consume food sources rich in zinc or opt for supplements.
How Much Zinc Do We Actually Require?
Women above the age of 19 require almost 8 mg of zinc every day, whereas the number increases to 11mg for pregnant women. Further, a lactating mother should have 12 mg of zinc every day. On the other hand, men require 11 mg of zinc daily. Therefore, on average, 10-11mm of zinc is essential for us to stay strong against illnesses.
What are Natural Sources of Zinc?
Although many animal-based foods are sources of zinc, there are many plant-based sources of zinc as well. Tofu, hemp seeds, oatmeal, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and shiitake mushrooms have the highest quantities of zinc per cup. We also need to include lots of green peas, spinach, chia seeds, avocados, flax seeds, and asparagus in our diets to ensure we have ample zinc supply to our bodies regularly.
What are the Consequences of Excess Zinc Consumption?
Excess zinc in the body can lead to toxicity. The consequences vary from vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, cramps, and even diarrhea. So while zinc helps improve our immunity, we also need to be watchful not to overdose on zinc.
We hope this insight into zinc has helped you understand this essential nutrient better. Irrespective of whether there’s a pandemic or not, we need to keep up the zinc levels in our bodies to ensure we stay healthy throughout.