Zinc is an important part of maintaining your dietary health and assisting with weight loss.  It contributes to a wide range of health benefits.  Its reproductive benefits include improving the production of testosterone in men and aiding the sperm to reach the goal of an ovum and penetrate it.   In women, it in essential for all phases of the menstrual cycle and can lessen the effects of PMS.  It can improve your sense of taste and smell and help to improve night blindness.  From the viewpoint of the immune system, zinc is great at reducing the length and severity of a cold (much like another well-known nutrient).  It also helps with wound healing and various skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, keeping the skin healthy to keeping infection out.

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of this important mineral.  Zinc is an essential factor for a healthy and happy thyroid.  Low levels of zinc will keep the thyroid from producing enough Thyroid Hormone for your body, which causes irritability, fatigue, and a decreased appetite.  The last bit may sound great for weight loss, but it also slows down your metabolism causing you to gain weight despite eating less food.

Like other water-soluble vitamins, zinc is not stored in your body, so it’s crucial to obtain it from your daily diet.  Lucky for us, there are a wide variety of foods that can boast of containing this fabulous mineral.

  • Meats- This includes all types, but especially beef, lamb, pork, salmon, and dark meat of poultry.  Unfortunately, these are often the food that have high level of cholesterol and fat, so be sure to have a moderate portion for a healthier diet
  • Nuts and Seeds- Almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources for zinc and can be a great vegetarian substitute.  Pumpkin seeds have the highest level of zinc of all the non-meat foods.
  • Cereals- Many cereals today, such as bran, multi-grain, and whole grain cereals, are fortified with minerals including zinc. Just remember, flavoured cereals can be a sneaky option loaded with sugar, so be sure to read the labels.
  • Shellfish- This is one of the best ways to obtain zinc.  Crab, lobster, clam, and mussels all have very high levels with oysters leading the pack.

There is, however a tricky side to zinc.  It can be fickle and will not be absorbed into your body if certain other foods or types of nutrients are present.  Whole grains on their own contain phytates, which can slow down absorption, so it’s a good idea to mix in some nuts and seeds to ensure the zinc reaches your system.  Foods rich in iron can also impede the process, including spinach, raisins and beef.  Some medications, such as contraception’s or hormone replacement therapy can have the same effect as well.

If you’re worried about not getting enough, there are supplements either of zinc alone or in a multi-vitamin.  Again, taking supplements with calcium or magnesium affects the absorption of zinc, meaning that it may pass straight through without you getting any of the benefits!  A good way to counter this is to take them at different times of the day.

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If you would like to learn more about Regenerative Medicine, Health Promotion, Preventive Medicine get in touch with Dr. Ralph Rogers.

Dr. Ralph Rogers

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Regenerative Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Health Promotion & Preventive Medicine

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