Zinc - Are getting enough of this immune boosting fella to skip through winter without missing a beat?

Sometimes we are to busy worrying about calories and macro nutrients such as carbs and fat, we don’t think to place as much importance on the inherent need of micronutrients.   We have all heard of micro nutrients, they are the minerals that make up our body structure.   Minerals are drawn from the soil into the foods we eat, so the quality of your soil is hugely important.  Is the soil your food was grown in drenched in chemicals such as pesticides fungicides and herbicides? Was it fertilized with human faeces- as is the practice in parts of Asia.  Both terribly unfavourable scenarios for your health.

Food needs to be grown in soil that is soft and full of organic matter- free from chemical poisoning.  

If you are not eating organic or growing your own, then chances are- you’re not getting adequate minerals.    Add that to gastro intestinal inflammation from gluten intolerance, crohn’s disease leaky gut and an array of common malabsorption conditions which further inhibits absorption of nutrients, and you may have yourself a pathway straight into deficiency.     Phytic Acid from some food groups you eat will also inhibit absorption of your minerals- particularly Zinc Iron and Calcium.   Phytic Acid is found on legumes grains and to a lesser extent seeds and nuts.   Known as an “anti-nutrient” Phytic acid is the reason a Nutritionist will advise you to soak your nuts and seeds.

Lets shine a little light on the importance of Zinc

In the human body, there are more than 300 different enzymes that require zinc to function normally. Researchers believe that 3,000 proteins out of the approximately 100,000 in the body consist predominantly of zinc.

Quick facts:

  • Weight loss: Zinc plays a leading role in weight loss for obese individuals. A number of studies have connected zinc with a decrease in appetite, which prevents overeating. This is related to zinc’s manipulation of the ghrelin hormone, which tells the body when it wants to eat
  • Prostate disorder:  Zinc is very important in dealing with prostate disorders. Zinc deficiency causes enlargement of the prostate gland and makes it vulnerable to cancer. It is advisable to take 15mg of zinc every day, under close medical observation, when suffering from prostate disorder. Studies have shown a reduction in tumour growth in the prostate when normal levels of zinc are present in the system.
  • Pregnancy:  It is estimated that 82% of pregnant women worldwide are likely to have inadequate Zinc intakes.  Poor maternal zinc has been associated with a number of adverse outcomes of pregnancy, including low birth weight.  so to be supplementing whilst pregnant is recommended.  Low maternal zinc has also been associated with diminished attention in the newborn infant and poorer motor function at 6 months of age. 
  • Respiratory tract Infections: Zinc may reduce the incidence of lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.  Lung strength and capacity is vital, once the alveoli of your lungs are damaged, they are damaged.   If you are getting on in years when colds and flu’s can really start to knock you about a little more, then boosting your immune system with adequate zinc intake is required.   Studies show supplementing the elderly with just 25mg of Zinc for 12 weeks increased levels of the CD4 immune cells and T lymphocytes-  the bodies cellular fighters in battle for you to conquer the viruses such as cold and flu that are coughed sneezed and inhaled by you each day.
  • Diabetes: Moderate zinc deficiency may be shown in individuals with diabetes due to the increase urinary excretion, so to prevent any deficiency symptoms such as listed- be sure to obtain zinc rich foods into your diet if you are insulin resistance or already have diabetes to prevent deficiency symptoms.
  • Wound Healing: Zinc’s most vital function is to stimulate healthy white blood cell function and collagen.  White blood cells are integral in the healing process, hence Zinc is recommended to increase the rate of healing for infections and wounds including canker sores, ulcers, burns, surgical incisions, eczema- any wounds. 
  • Skin repair: Zinc is required for optimal collagen production to ensure proper skin repair and regrowth. Found in especially high concentrations in the eye retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones and pancreas.

The benefits of zinc are longer than my brief list here extends- alopecia, cognitive function, DNA synthesis, bone loss night blindness, Zinc really is the forgotten soldier of your longevity.

The best way to absorb your nutrients is with whole foods- generally not supplements.   Supplements are great to alternate for therapeutic and optimal health, and i do recommend using supplements for those reasons, however the day to day basis of obtaining a combination of a well balanced diet should be left up to the alternation of your food choices.   Buying Broccoli this week- may it Brussel sprouts next week- the extra few minutes of thought taken now add up in the end.
Foods containing Zinc

  • Pumpkin seeds!   A combination of Acai powder, pumpkin seeds and Goji Berries to snack on is an excellent choice.
  • Lemongrass, Palm hearts, Cabbage, Broccoli, Spinach
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Sesame Seeds Cashews, Chick Peas, Kidney Beans, Almonds, flaxseeds, Brown Rice.
  • Dark Chocolate – yes you must eat it! Dark organic and 80%- or higher in cacao.  This Nutritionist will genuinely reason why you must eat a lot of foods that the main stream food industry may disagree with.  See a wholefood nutritionist- they will have you beaming
  • Crab, Lobster, Oysters, Grass fed beef, Beef Liver, Organic Pork, Organic or Grass fed Chicken
  • Swiss Cheese Egg Yolk.

A Recipe with a twist- of Zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  • 1.5 cups of pumpkin seeds- soaked for 2hrs
  • 1/2 cup organic cold pressed olive oil
  • 2 cups parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until as smooth or as chunky as you like.  Adjust flavours by adding more salt garlic etc.   Snack on pesto with sliced capsicum, raw flax crackers- and of course- spiralizers your zucchini and dollop your zucchini pasta with pumpkin seed pesto.  Add some diced tomatoes and viola! A mean or a snack done!   Pesto will keep in your fridge for about 5- no more than 7 days.