Researchers recently identified zinc as one of the most important essential trace metals in nutrition and lifestyle. Zinc is not only a vital element in various physiological processes, but is also a drug in the prevention of many diseases. The body contains two to three grams of zinc and it is found in bones, cells, fluids, organs and tissues.
There are many benefits to making sure your body gets enough zinc.
- Zinc is an active agent in the bodys ability to metabolize food and nutrients
- Zinc helps maintain sense of smell
- Zinc triggers over 100 different internal enzymes for lots of metabolic actions
- Zinc helps build proteins
- Zinc benefits immune system health
- Zinc aids growth through protein building and synthesis
- Zinc creates DNA
- Zinc helps the body heal itself
- Zinc supports your sense of smell
Foods with high protein content specifically animal protein are major sources of zinc in the human diet. It can be used as fortification for other foods as well. Foods high in zinc include onions, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, dark chocolate, wheat germ, garlic, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds, cooked oysters, cooked mushrooms, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, kidney beans and pine nuts.
Nearly half of the worlds population is at risk for inadequate zinc intake. The research published by the Institute of Food Technologists also lists other areas where a relationship between zinc and vital human physiological sources:
- Zinc performs a noteworthy role in the regulation of arterial blood pressure. Males and females were reported to metabolize zinc differently when suffering from hypertension.
- Zinc may shorten the duration of severe pneumonia and time in the hospital.
- The blood zinc level is less in patients with Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease. In a rodent study, it was observed that zinc behaves like an antidepressant.
- Zinc deficiency has been linked with delayed wound healing and has been found to be crucial to the healing of gastric ulcers especially at the early stage.
- A mild deficiency of zinc during a pregnancy can cause increased maternal morbidity, abnormal taste sensation, prolonged gestation, inefficient labor, atonic bleeding, and an increased risk to fetuses.
- Studies show a correlation between zinc deficiency in geriatric patients and reduced activity of the thymus gland and thymic hormones, decreased response to vaccinations, and reduced immunity.
- Zinc is very important in the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin. A low level of zinc has been shown to play a role in diabetics with associated disease conditions such as coronary artery disease and several related risk factors including hypertension and elevated levels of triglycerides.