What we need to know about Zinc?
Zinc is an ultimate boost for health and the immune system. Taking it immediately when you begin to feel ill may turn back the process. It also has a good effect on skin.
How much zinc do we need?
Zinc is an essential supplement for our body. We need a tiny amount if it, but a deficiency has big consequences. The minimum suggested intake for an adult is a daily 9-11 mg. For women this amount increases to 11-2 mg throughout pregnancy and lactation. Babies at the age of 0-6 months already need a small amount of zinc; they get this 2 mg from their mother
What foods to eat?
Although we can find many supplements containing zinc, we can easily get what we need by eating well, and many suggested goods for a healthy life contains this mineral. Oysters contain the most zinc intake per serving, but luckily we can find it in more popular and available goods like beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (specially crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
It’s good to know for vegetarians or those who eats rarely meat, that the amount of zinc you can get from grains and plant foods is lower than that from animal foods, although many grain- and plant-based foods are still good sources of zinc. If you don’t eat meat every second day it needs a lot more consideration to plan a diet to avoid zinc deficiency which may cause unchangeable consequences.
What helps to absorb zinc?
The human body absorbs between 15 and 35% of the zinc we consume. Eating more animal proteins helps zinc absorption, and taking trace elements, (such as zinc and iron), with food increases the body's ability to absorb and use them. To help the absorption it is better to ask what food inhibits this instead of what to eat more of.
Phytate, which is present in staple foods like cereals, corn and rice, has a strong negative effect on zinc absorption from composite meals. Soaking beans, seeds and grains for a few hours before cooking them and consuming leavened breads instead of unleavened breads can help decrease the amount of phytates you consume and allow you to absorb more of the zinc these foods provide. Iron can have a negative effect on zinc absorption, if given together in a supplement, and calcium supplements taken in conjunction with zinc inhibits zinc absorption too. Cadmium, which is increasing in the environment, has a negative effect too.
What is zinc for in the body?
Our body has only 2-3 mg zinc, so a daily intake is necessary for being healthy. Zinc helps the cellular metabolism, the immune system, supports normal growth in childhood and throughout pregnancy, helps in making insulin and it’s required to maintain us in a steady state. It helps seeing, tasting and smelling, healing wounds and prevents cholesterol plaque.
Is too much zinc dangerous?
Absolutely yes. Too much zinc is as dangerous as a lower intake than needed. A daily tiny amount is essential, but a higher dose is a toxin for the body. Acute adverse effects of high zinc intake include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. Intakes of 150–450 mg of zinc per day have been associated with such chronic effects as low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function, and reduced levels of high-density lipoproteins
Does pregnancy increase the need for zinc?
For women the daily suggested amount to take increases to 11-2 mg along pregnancy and lactation. Breasted infants at the age of 0-6 months already need a small amount of zinc, they get this 2 mg from their mother, this is the reason for taking more zinc when pregnant or breastfeeding.
About zinc supplements
Be careful with zinc from supplements that is more easily absorbed than zinc from foods when you first start consuming the supplements. While you don't need to worry about other minerals in foods impairing zinc absorption, the high mineral amounts in supplements may cause a problem. Supplements contain several forms of zinc, including zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form, but it’s best to follow the suggested daily amount shown on the box, and do not take more!
Best zinc based dishes: