Zinc is a mineral that is essential for your body. As your body can’t produce zinc, you must obtain it through your diet or supplements. The body requires zinc for several functions, including cell division, immune response, wound healing, etc. The purpose of this article is to explain what zinc is? Its role in the human body, food containing zinc, the healthy benefits of zinc, and its side effects.
Foods rich in protein, such as beans and nuts, as well as meat and seafood, contain substantial amounts of zinc. Likewise, dairy products and whole grains contain zinc, which can help balance your diet.
What Is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral important for many body functions and systems, including the immune system, thyroid function, blood clotting, wound healing, and taste and smell. The body can’t produce or store zinc. This is why you must consume zinc regularly throughout your diet.
There are many food containing zinc. These foods, including both plants and animals, contain zinc naturally.
Role in the human body
Your body relies on zinc in a variety of ways. it is essential for several processes in your body, including:
- Gene expression
- Immune function
- Enzymatic reactions
- Protein synthesis
- Wound healing
- DNA synthesis
- Growth and development
The trace mineral zinc is present in every cell in your body and is the second-most abundant trace mineral after iron.
There are over 300 enzymes that require zinc for their activity, including enzymes for metabolism, digestion, nerve function, and many others. Further, it helps immune cells develop and function properly. It also plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis and protein synthesis.
Furthermore, zinc plays a crucial role in body development and growth due to its effect on cell division and growth.
Taste and smell are also affected by zinc. Due to the importance of one of the enzymes involved in taste and smell, a zinc deficiency can impair your ability to taste and smell.
Different types of food containing zinc
- Shellfish: Oysters, mussels, lobster, and clams
- Meat: Lamb and beef
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey
- Fish: Salmon, flounder, sardines, and sole
- Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Cashews, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
- Dairy products: Yoghurt, milk, and cheese
- Whole grains: Quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc.
- Certain vegetables: Kale, peas, asparagus mushrooms, and beet greens
It is easy for your body to absorb zinc from animal products, like meat and shellfish. Because other plant compounds inhibit zinc absorption, zinc found in legumes and whole grains is absorbed less efficiently.
Although most of the food containing zinc is present in nature, some foods – like breakfast cereals and snack bars – have zinc added.
The health benefits of zinc are numerous.
- Boosts your immunity
- Heals wounds more quickly.
- Reduces the Risk of Certain Aging-Related Diseases
- Acne Treatment
- Assists in reducing inflammation
An excessive zinc intake can also negatively affect health, just as a deficiency can cause health complications.
Zinc toxicity is commonly caused by too much supplemental zinc, and acute and chronic symptoms can occur.
Toxic symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- A decrease in “good” HDL cholesterol
- Cramps in the abdomen
The Bottom Line
The body needs zinc to synthesize DNA, boost the functioning of the immune system, and help in energy production. Some age-related diseases and inflammation may be reduced by it.
Zinc is naturally abundant in many animal and plant foods, making it easy for people to get their recommended daily allowance.