What Is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential nutrient that is needed to stay healthy. Since your body can’t produce or store zinc, you must obtain it through your diet or supplements. Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods, including:
Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey
Shellfish: Oysters, lobsters, and crab
Fish: Salmon, sardines, and flounder
Seeds and nuts: Cashews and pumpkin seeds
Legumes: Black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
Dairy: Milk, cheese, and yogurt
Fortified breakfast cereals
Why Is Zinc Important?
Zinc offers numerous health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at why zinc is important for the body.
Boosts Your Immune System
Zinc is an important component of a healthy immune system and helps your immune system fight off viruses and bacteria. Since zinc is needed for immune cell function, a deficiency in zinc may lead to a weakened immune system. This may increase your risk of developing an infection, including pneumonia.
Some research also suggests that taking lozenges containing zinc can improve your recovery from the common cold and may reduce the severity of your symptoms if taken within 24 hours of developing cold symptoms.
Supports Wound Healing
Since zinc aids in the production of collagen, it can support healthy skin and accelerate wound healing. Healthcare professionals frequently use zinc as a treatment option for burns, ulcers of the skin, and other types of skin injuries. Zinc also plays an essential role in nearly every stage of wound healing, including preventing skin infections and repairing wounds.
Slows the Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes gradual vision loss. By preventing cell damage in the retina, zinc may slow the development of vision loss caused by macular degeneration.
Acne is a common skin condition that is caused by bacteria, inflammation, and clogged pores. Research suggests that applying a topical zinc treatment can reduce acne by preventing the growth of acne-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation, and minimizing oil production by the skin.
Supports Childhood Growth
Since adequate amounts of zinc are needed for the cells in your body to grow and multiply, there is some evidence that increasing the amount of zinc in the diets of children can help them reach a healthy weight and height.
Manages Blood Sugar
Research also suggests that zinc can improve glucose levels since zinc aids in the storage and secretion of insulin. This can help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels.