|Like the zinc metal, zinc nutrient makes our body protected from diseases and activates our enzymes. / Photo by: jarous via 123RF|
Zinc is a nutrient that we often neglect when it comes to keeping healthy and fit, but in reality, this nutrient is as important as any other nutrients in our body. The purpose of zinc is worth learning as it provides many different benefits that aid the overall function of the body, turning it into a well-oiled machine.
Zinc as a nutrient needed by the body
|Cocoa powder, one of the foods rich in zinc. / Photo by: Anton Starikov via 123RF|
Zinc is a dietary mineral that’s often underrated compared to other more famous minerals. However, the truth is that there are at least 300 zinc-dependent enzymes in our body that function during metabolism. This means that zinc is far more important than how we often regard it to be.
The problem with zinc is that it is difficult to obtain the necessary daily amount needed even with a diet rich in zinc. Obtaining 11 milligrams of zinc often needs a planned change in diet in order to incorporate foods rich in zinc.
Zinc: Uses and Functions
|A man doing push ups. / Photo by: kantver via 123RF|
The operation of the immune system, particularly the T-cell and lymphocyte, depends on the amount of zinc in the body. Zinc uses as a mineral in the body include increased metabolism, improved immune system, and development of the body for teenagers. Men also benefit from zinc as it helps improve the condition of the prostate and help in reproductive health.
It is important to have sufficient amounts of zinc in the body so that your immune system remains to be strong and capable of handling any free radicals that may affect the body.
Effect of Zinc: Health Benefits to the body
|A family eating a healthy meal. / Photo by: Wang Tom via 123RF|
Aside from helping the body achieve a stronger immune system, zinc also helps provide other health benefits to the body. Cancerous cells and activation of the immune system are both controlled by zinc. Health benefits also include improved learning and memory as zinc helps the neurons perform better and transmit information more smoothly.
The recovery of the body from common cold and wounds is also affected by the amount of zinc in the body. By improving metabolism, zinc helps the body obtain the nutrients it needs to recover from an infection or damages in the skin.
Proper Zinc Dosage for a healthy body
|Kids eating their healthy lunches prepared by their parents. / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF|
Proper zinc dosage depends on your age and condition. Children need more zinc in order to have continuous growth and development of the body as well as a stronger immune system to prevent any common illnesses. Children 1-8 years old need 3 up to 5 milligrams of zinc a day, while those 9-13 years old need 8 milligrams of zinc every day.
Females age 14-18 require 9 milligrams a day, but after the age of 18, only 8 milligrams of zinc is needed by females. Males age 14 and above need at least 11 milligrams of zinc every day, and this daily amount needed doesn’t change even as males grow old. Women that are pregnant or are lactating need a higher dosage of zinc every day, with at least 11-13 milligrams of zinc being needed daily.
For a zinc-rich diet: Food with a lot of Zinc
|Foods that are rich in zinc. / Photo by: Tatjana Baibakova via 123RF|
Lamb is one food with a rich source of zinc available per serving. Three ounces of lamb meat already gives 6.7 milligrams of zinc. Aside from zinc, lamb meat also provides vitamin B12, phosphorus, and iron among other available vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are another perfect source of zinc as each cup provides as much as 6.6 milligrams of zinc in one serving.
Other foods that you might want to consider include cocoa powder, cashews, yogurt, and mushrooms as these can easily be eaten as part of a snack and they offer around 1.4 up to 2 milligrams of zinc per cup or usual serving.
Harms and Risks of Zinc Deficiency and Overconsumption
|A woman suffering from headache. / Photo by: Viktor Gladkov via 123RF|
People that rarely eat live meat or those that love processed foods too much are at risk of incurring zinc deficiency due to their diet. Those that have zinc deficiency often experience stunted growth and weaker immune system which can lead to an increased risk in getting inflammatory diseases.
However, overconsumption of zinc is also a problem. Processed foods fortified with zinc are often the cause of zinc overconsumption for children. Overconsumption of zinc is a sign that children aren’t getting a balanced diet and are probably lacking in other important nutrients due to processed foods that are only zinc-fortified.