Did you think Zinc was just for plating and corrosion protection?
It might not be as big as Vitamin C or Antioxidants, but zinc is still a necessary element for overall health. A lack of it can cause a lot of complications, from a weakened immune system to reduced sex drive. Let’s look at what zinc does for your body, and how to make sure you get enough of it.
How Does Zinc Help Your Body?
Zinc is classified as a trace element. This means that the body only needs a tiny amount for it to have a significant effect. So, what are the benefits of taking zinc?
- Healthy immune system
One of zinc’s most crucial roles is in making sure your body’s immune system works properly. It helps in the production of T lymphocytes or T cells. These are white blood cells that attack infection and help regulate the body’s immune response.
It’s also been shown to reduce inflammation from the body’s immune response, as well as lower the risk of inflammatory diseases.
- Makes you recover faster
Zinc helps the body heal and repair itself. It promotes healthy skin structure and makes wounds heal more quickly. It also helps prevent common conditions such as colds and diarrhea.
- Promotes brain health, learning, and memory
According to research, zinc plays an role in optimal brain functioning. In particular, zinc helps regulate neuron activity in our brain. This improves how our brain communicates with the rest of our body, facilitating learning and memory. Normal neural activity also helps reduce epileptic seizures.
- Leads to optimal reproductive health
Zinc is crucial for the healthy functioning of our reproductive system. It’s used to treat low sperm count and erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. Women also benefit from zinc in that it helps maintain healthy ovaries.
How do you know if you are deficient in zinc?
While only a little zinc is needed to maintain your health, deficiency can still occur. This is commonly due to an imbalanced diet but can also be the result of diseases such as diabetes. Signs that you have a zinc deficiency include:
- Stunted growth
- Reduced sex drive
- Inability to taste food
What Food is High in Zinc?
The problem with zinc is that the body can’t store much of it. Thus, you must make sure your daily diet contains enough of it. Fortunately, it isn’t hard to find. There are plenty of high-zinc foods you can choose from, such as:
- Oysters (one of the highest in zinc)
You can also opt to get zinc through supplements. This is a convenient and accessible way to get your daily dose. It’s especially crucial for vegans or vegetarians since zinc is most commonly found in meat.
The recommended daily intake of zinc varies and increases with age. Generally, adult males need about 11 milligrams of zinc, while females need just around 7 milligrams. The exception is with pregnant and lactating women, where the zinc requirement jumps up to 13 milligrams.