Zinc is an important mineral for health. It plays a part in many of the body’s functions and has a particular role in growth, sexual development and in healing skin and keeping it healthy.
Who Needs zinc?
Pregnant and breast-feeding women must ensure they are getting adequate supplies of zinc from their diet and/or from supplements, as a lack of this mineral could lead to foetal abnormalities and stunted growth in their babies.
People with skin complaints, and particularly adolescents with acne, should consider supplementation, together with vitamins A, B2, B6 and E. Heavy drinkers, the elderly, convalescents, anyone with a diet high in processed foods and women on the pill MAY require extra zinc intake.
Although we need zinc in only tiny amounts, the body makes use of it in many important ways. As with other trace elements, it is essential for the action of enzymes – the proteins that initiate vital chemical reactions in the body. It is present in the skin, eyes and bones, and in high concentrations in the liver and pancreas. Together with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), it aids in cell formation. It has two other vital uses: aiding growth and sexual maturation, and keeping skin healthy. In the latter role, it has been found to have important healing properties in the treatment of wounds, burns and acne.
At present, there is no RNI* for zinc, but it is thought that an average adult (not including pregnant or lactating women) should consume around 15-20mg per day.
It plays a vital role in the action of enzymes, which are nothing, but the proteins that are responsible for initiating important chemical reactions in the body. Zinc is also required for proper growth and sexual maturation of an individual. The mineral can be easily found in the food items that we eat in the daily course of life. So, if you take a balanced diet, complete with salads and fruits, there will be enough zinc in your body to perform all the necessary functions.
What if you’re not getting the mineral zinc from rich foods?
A number of conditions can arise from a lack of zinc. One of the most important, which also lead to its discovery, was the stunting of growth and the lack of sexual development in adolescent boys; adding zinc to the diet brought about a rapid improvement. Skin complaints such as dermatitis and a condition called acrodermatitis in babies may result from deficiency, and there may be slow healing of burns and wounds. Zinc deficiency may show up as white spots or bands on fingernails. When both zinc and vitamin B6 are lacking in the diet, anaemia may occur. Other symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, insomnia and possibly, emotional difficulties.
Zinc Rich Foods
* All-bran cereal
* Brazil nuts
* Brewers yeast
* Chicken (dark meat)
* Chickpeas (including hummus and falafel)
* Crab, Dungeness
* Kidney beans
* Kiwi fruit
* Lima beans
* Parmesan Cheese
* Pecan Nuts
* Pine Nuts
* Pumpkin seeds
* Soya beans (including tofu products)
* Sunflower seeds
* Sweet potatoes
* Turkey (dark meat)
* Wheat Bran
* Wheat Germ
Benefits Of Zinc
o Zinc is very helpful in skin treatment. It is very useful in treating acne and pimples. Zinc also helps in assisting the body to normalize the amount of oils on the skin. It not only helps in removing the acne and pimples but also keeps the skin supple and smooth. Taking foods rich in zinc will help you keep your skin healthy.
o Eczema is mainly caused because of the deficiency of zinc in the body. Taking zinc supplements or foods rich in zinc will help in restoring the healing property of the body and treating eczema.
o Zinc promotes the synthesis of collagen, which is a necessary element of proper wound healing. Deficiency of zinc can lead to delayed wound healing. Take zinc rich foods on a regular basis.
o The deficiency of zinc can cause enlargement of prostrate which in turn make it vulnerable to cancer. Take zinc supplements or foods rich in zinc such as yogurt, walnut, wheat bran, sweet potatoes to combat the problem.
o If you are planning to lose weight, taking zinc rich food would be your best bet. Zinc not only assists in losing the weight but also controls the appetite making it easier for a person on diet.
o If you are among those for whom a weather change brings about an attack of cold, then taking zinc supplements or zinc rich food would be good for you. Zinc helps in decreasing the severity of cold.
o Zinc is also very essential for the proper functioning and repairing of DNA. Pregnant women should take zinc rich food for the proper growth of fetus.
o It is also helpful in relieving from chronic fatigue. According to the doctors, fish oils contain which is very rich in zinc no other medications are required for curing chronic fatigue except the intake of fish oil rich in zinc content.
o Zinc is also helpful in case of night blindness. Incorporate zinc rich foods in your diet especially, pork, olives, liver etc.
o Zinc also acts as antioxidants and helps in regulating biological functions. It helps in diabetes control, increases immunity, keeps the stress level in check, and regulates the enzyme functions for a proper development.