5 Healthy Zinc Benefits

Zinc up with this amazing essential mineral!

Nov 3, 2020

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Zinc is a trace element found in red meat, seafood, whole grains, nuts, as well as in dairy and other foods. Known as an essential mineral, your body does not naturally produce or store it. Yet when you understand its importance in maintaining health, you will realize just how “essential” it is!

Zinc plays a large role in many body functions, stimulating the working of at least 300 enzymes, according to Healthline. It is found in every cell of the body, and next to iron, zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral found in the body. Zinc plays an important role in the growth of cells and cell division, and as a result, zinc is important for body growth. It also facilitates one’s sense of taste and smell.

For children, adults, and the elderly, a little bit of zinc can go a long way! With so many foods high in zinc, it is best to focus on getting your zinc from your diet before deciding to take supplements. Here are five reasons zinc keeps everyone healthy!

Regulates your immune system

The body needs zinc in order to activate T cells, according to Medical News Today. T cells are those fighter cells that control an immune response when the immune system is attacked by infected cells and cancerous cells. A Japanese study shows that zinc is actually an important signaling molecule that communicates on an intracellular level.

In fact, Frontiers in Immunology recently published a study showing that people with Coronavirus, especially the elderly, tend to have low levels of zinc. Promising evidence suggests supplementing with zinc for both prevention and therapeutic reasons.

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Treats colds and diarrhea

Feeling like you have a sore throat and the sniffles? Take zinc!  As shown in this study, when it is taken within 24 hours of feeling a cold coming on, zinc can reduce the strength and length of the common cold. To fight a cold, you can find zinc in nasal sprays, lozenges, and in a zinc syrup.

Another common household ailment, especially in children, is diarrhea. A study on Bangladeshi children who suffered from active diarrhea found that taking zinc tablets for ten days was effective not only in treating it, but in preventing it in the future.

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Heals wounds

You may have seen that zinc is often an active ingredient in diaper rash creams. Zinc oxide is also helpful in treating skin conditions such as eczema and acne. This is because zinc helps with the synthesis of collagen. In fact, people who have ulcers and wounds that do not heal tend to have lower levels of zinc, according to Medical News Today. An Iranian study on people with diabetic foot ulcers found that taking zinc daily for 12 weeks caused ulcers to reduce in size.

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Helps kids grow

Out of 16 important nutrients, it has been found that children have a higher zinc deficiency than any other nutrient, according to WebMD. Zinc is very important in your child’s development, especially when it comes to growth, as well as the advancement of the child’s brain and reproductive organs. Children with lower levels of zinc may experience many colds as well as slower growth, learning disabilities, and difficulties concentrating. So make sure your child’s diet is rich in zinc.

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Good for older adults

Zinc reduces one’s risk of many diseases affecting the elderly, including pneumonia, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and infections, according to Healthline. This is because it boosts the strength of T cells, improving one’s immune response.

In fact, a study found that older adults who took a zinc supplement responded better to the flu vaccination and had decreased duration and severity of pneumonia.

And, as zinc plays such a crucial role in the communication of neurons, it can improve learning and memory, according to Medical News Today. As zinc prevents damage to the cells, it can slow down AMD as well as loss of vision.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.