Why Zinc is Important to your Diet
Unless you already know you’re at risk of a zinc deficiency, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about how much of this nutrient you get into your diet. Unlike other substances, zinc doesn’t usually get a lot of attention in dietary articles. You may not be aware of why zinc is important to your diet.
However, zinc is critical for supporting a range of important functions in the body. Because your body doesn’t produce zinc naturally, you need to obtain it through food or supplements. This is why zinc is so important to your diet. But what exactly are the benefits of getting more zinc in your diet?
Let’s take a look at the true potential of zinc.
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is one of your body’s essential nutrients which means you can’t store or produce it yourself. Instead, you need to get a consistent supply through your diet.
Zinc is found in a range of plants and animals, and you can even get food fortified with the nutrient in your grocery store.
Zinc plays a number of important roles in your body, helping with things like:
- Growth and development
- Wound healing
- DNA synthesis
- Protein synthesis
- Immune function
- Enzymatic reactions
- Gene Expression
Without zinc, your body simply wouldn’t function as it’s supposed to. In fact, people who suffer from deficiencies of zinc can have severe medical issues, including impaired growth and development, skin rashes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea, and impaired wound healing.
The Benefits of Zinc Supplements
Adding more zincto your diet with the right food or supplements can have a number of beneficial effects on your health. Zinc is necessary for the activity of more than 300 enzymes which aid in metabolism, nerve function, digestion, and other processes. It’s also crucial for immune function, skin health, and DNA synthesis.
Some of the biggest benefits of increasing your zinc intake (to the correct amounts), include:
- Improved immunity: Zinc helps keep your immune system strong, improves immune cell function, and stimulates various immune cells. Zinc supplements can significantly reduce the risk of infections and promote better immune response in adults.
- Wound healing: Zinc is often used in hospital environments when treating a range of skin injuries, like burns and certain ulcers. This is because the mineral plays an important role in inflammatory response and collagen synthesis, facilitating better healing.
- Reduced age-related diseases: Some studies indicate zinc may be able to reduce your risk of age-related issues like macular degeneration, pneumonia, and similar problems.
Zinc can relieve oxidative stress and improve immune response to protect you from infection, and even help you avoid more severe illnesses as you get older.
- Curing acne: Acne is one of the most common skin diseases in the world, driven by the obstruction of crucial oil-producing glands in the skin. Some studies indicate that topical and oral zinc treatments offer an effective way of reducing inflammation and minimizing acne development.
- Reduced inflammation: Zinc plays an important role in decreasing oxidative stress, and it can also reduce various levels of inflammatory proteins in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation, a contributing factor in various illnesses, including heart disease and mental decline too.
- Managing blood sugar: People with diabetes are often at higher risk of zinc deficiencies. In some reports, zinc has been found to help with blood sugar control and maintaining healthy lipid parameters in people with diabetes.
Your doctor may recommend taking zinc supplements if you have diabetes, or to help improve insulin sensitivity if you’re dealing with obesity.
- Healthy heart: Various studies have indicated supplementing with zinc might support a healthy heart. Zinc can assist in lowering your total cholesterol levels and your bad cholesterol levels, protecting you from high levels of blood pressure.
While more research is needed, a zinc supplement could be good for protecting against heart conditions.
- Sexual health: Low zinc levels have been shown to lead to issues like fertility problems and delayed sexual development. As a result, some researchers believe taking zinc supplements might be a useful way to improve hormone balance and enhance overall sexual health.
Do You Need a Zinc Supplement?
One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering taking a zinc supplement, is that not everyone will need one. If you believe you may have a genuine zinc deficiency, then consider getting tested for it.
There are a lot of foods naturally high in zinc. For instance, meats like beef and pork, as well as fish, poultry, and countless dairy products are high in zinc. You can also find this substance in shellfish, legumes, needs and seeds, eggs, and whole grains. Even some vegetables have high amounts of zinc such spinach, broccoli, and zucchini.
If you’re concerned about your zinc levels, you may want to adjust your diet, consider a supplement, or both. Now that you know why zinc is important to your diet be sure to take your zinc whether it be through food or a supplement.