Importance Of Zinc In Your Diet

Zinc is an important trace mineral needed for healthy living. Without this mineral we will become easy victims of viral and bacterial infections, wounds would not heal and our skin and hair will lose their healthy appearances. Zinc is associated with the production of nearly a hundred enzymes.

Fights infection
Zinc is an important mineral needed for building a strong immune system. Intake of zinc rich foods could boost your immunity, minimizing the risk of developing coughs and cold. To ward off symptoms of common cold, you can suck zinc lozenges every four hours, until the cold subsides.

Good for the skin
For healthy skin, nails and hair you need zinc. The mild astringent and anti-inflammatory property of this mineral could fight skin rash and acne. Zinc could reduce dandruff. Certain dandruff shampoos contain zinc pyrithione, which prevents dandruff growth on the scalp. Deficiency of zinc prevents healing of wounds. Topical and oral medications containing zinc are often recommended for treating wounds, burns, skin sores and ulcers.

Improves fertility
Significant amount of zinc is present in the semen and prostate gland. This essential mineral is needed for the secretion of the male sex hormone testosterone. Deficiency of zinc in men causes low sperm count, poor libido, poor sperm motility and infertility problems. The more sexually active a man is, greater is the amount of zinc required to sustain his sex drive.

Fetal development
Poor fetal growth is often associated with zinc deficiency in pregnant women.

Sources of zinc
Animal protein foods are the best sources of zinc. Fish, seafood, chicken, lamb, pork and beef are rich sources of zinc. Vegetarians could meet their zinc requirement from milk and dairy products, beans, nuts, pumpkin seeds, wholegrain products, yeast, yogurt and potato. Since our body can absorb only 20 percent of the zinc present in foods, regular intake of zinc rich foods is necessary to prevent zinc deficiency. Alcohol consumption can inhibit zinc absorption. To prevent deficiency of this essential mineral, you should either avoid or limit intake of alcoholic drinks. Breastfeeding can increase zinc depletion in lactating women. By increasing consumption of zinc rich foods or by taking zinc supplements, lactating women should minimize the risk of developing zinc deficiency.