Nutrition & Recipes

5 Reasons To Boost Your Zinc Intake This Flu Season

December 15, 2022

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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Learn why you need zinc, where to get it, and the many health benefits this mineral has to offer you, including making your hormones happy.

Zinc might be one of those back up dancer vitamins. It doesn’t always take the show, or play a lead role when we think about cold and flu season. Like, you know, vitamin C. 

But, it’s a key player in immunity health, and deserves a round of applause. It’s important to note that our body does not produce or store zinc so we need to make sure we are getting it from food sources or supplementing. 

Let’s take a closer look at this one, and see what all the fuss is about. 

It’s most familiar to me from the lozenges. A lot of people will suck on one when they start to feel sick, as it’s said that if you catch the symptoms of a cold coming on soon enough and start up the zinc, you could curb the sickness. 

This mineral helps in the creation of new cells, and also plays a part in repairing damaged cells. Along with immune function, it’s important for metabolism and also wound healing. 

A good portion of people are able to get an adequate amount of zinc through food sources like red meat or chicken, but if you’re like me and you eat a whole food plant based diet, you want to make sure you’re getting enough through: legumes, nuts & seeds, or whole grains. Spinach, pumpkin seeds, or cashews anyone?! Otherwise, supplementing is super important. 

And for you ladies, zinc plays a critical role in our monthly cycle and healthy hormones. 

Here’s 5 reasons you want to pay attention to this mineral, especially this season, but every season really:

Progesterone regulation: healthy levels of progesterone are needed to trigger ovulation and take us into the next phase of our cycle. When we have adequate amounts of zinc, it helps to raise our progesterone levels for ovulation to occur. 

Monthly cycle (period) regulation: zinc promotes ovulation, and yes, this is a good thing when we are trying to maintain consistency with our periods. With zinc nourishing our ovarian follicles, we should have regularity and our full cycle should be predictable every month. 

Immunity protection: to put it simply, zinc attacks inflammation. It also modulates oxidative stress, which is needed to combat things like cancer, and disease manifesting in our bodies. It’s even been shown to reduce the amount of time we spend fighting the common cold. 

Wound healing: zinc therapy anyone? This therapy has gained popularity with wound healing, because during the injury process, there can be a loss of zinc. One of the things that plays a critical role in our healing process is by regulating all phases of the process. This process includes: inflammation and immune defense, tissue repair, coagulation, and the fight against oxidative stress. 

Healthy metabolism: zinc has been found to improve blood pressure, glucose regulation, and cholesterol levels. The connection between zinc and your thyroid, helps maintain metabolism and energy levels. 

So how much do we need? Great question. 

For women, we’re looking at approximately 8 milligrams per day, and for men it’s slightly higher, at about 11 milligrams per day. And again, our body does not naturally produce zinc so we need to get it from food, or supplementation. 

Let’s take a look at how much we can reasonably get from food. I’ll stick to plant based sources, cuz you know, that’s what I advocate for!

Hemp Seeds: 3 mg (1 oz. – a handful)

Pumpkin Seeds: 2.2 mg (1 oz.)

Sunflower Seeds: 2 mg (1 oz.)

Cashews: 1.6 mg (1 oz.)

Lentils: 1.5 mg  (½ C)

Chickpeas: 1.3 mg (½ C)

Almonds: 1 mg (1 oz.)

Green Peas: 1 mg (½ C )

Avocado: 1 mg (1 avocado)

Oats: 1 mg (½ C)

Spinach: 1/2 mg (½ C)

Seeds, seeds, seeds. That’s where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck! I like to throw them in with my salad. Or even make a little trail mix, and you can really pack it in there. 

Throw some seeds, nuts, dry fruit and even chocolate bits, and it makes a great little pick me up snack in the afternoon. The combination of the nuts and seeds alone, can get you almost your entire amount for the day. 

How about a chickpea salad with some avocado, green peas and seeds? Have you tried peas on a salad? Yum. 

There are so many combinations of zinc foods you can play around with. 

Make some oatmeal and throw some seeds and nuts in. That one can get you about the amount you need daily as well. Why make things complicated, when you can do one and done! I’m all about simple and easy, I hope you are too.

And in the case that it doesn’t make it in for the day, supplement. Just make sure you are looking for a quality supplement to add in. There is so much junk on the market. 

Zinc deficiency is a serious issue, and could lead to disease, and even scarier death. It’s seen in third world countries, and I only say this to stress how important it is to your health. 

But, like with anything, too much of a good thing isn’t always good, so make sure you’re only supplementing if you know you aren’t getting enough from your daily diet. 

Now you know how to get it, and what to do if you have a day low in zinc. 

Let me know in the comments if you have any other simple ideas of how to add in zinc, or great little hacks for a one and done!


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