I have always loved the saying “Nutrition from A to Z” because we can literally cover from Vitamin A to Zinc. Today is brought to you by the letter Z. What is zinc? Why is it important? How do we get it?
Zinc is a metal we need in trace amounts in order to be healthy. There is approximately 2-4 grams of zinc in your body. The recommended daily allowance for zinc is 8 mg/d for women and 11 mg/day for men. Deficiency is not likely to be found in Canada, but is not uncommon around the world. Zinc deficiency can result in slow growth, loss of appetite, problems with taste and smell, loss of hair, slow wound healing and is also associated with male infertility.
Zinc is part of many enzymes in the body. It is particularly important for immune function, wound healing, thyroid function and fertility in men. Zinc is important for growth. Therefore, during pregnancy, infancy and childhood, zinc is especially important.
Zinc supplementation may also be useful for helping the common cold, treating acne and some eye diseases. There is also some evidence that zinc supplementation may help with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
Besides supplements, we can get zinc from many food sources. Meat, poultry and fish are a good source of zinc. Zinc can also be found in nuts, lentils, beans, and whole grains.
If you are looking for a boost of zinc, I suggest throwing some nuts on a salad. Not only is it delicious but the nuts will add trace minerals such as zinc (and others) as well as healthy fats and fibre!