People have been taking zinc supplements for years to ease the symptoms of colds. According to medical studies, you don’t have to wait until the flu strikes before making use of this beneficial mineral.
In fact, adding zinc to your diet could give your immune system a well-needed boost and reduce the likelihood of getting sick in the first place.
How Zinc Helps The Immune System
The immune system is complex and zinc helps to boost its function in several ways. For example, zinc is essential to maintaining the cells that maintain a healthy immune system. Those cells include NK cells and neutrophils.
Zinc also keeps macrophages healthy and these white blood cells are vital to destroying microorganisms, removing the dead cells, and stimulating the activity of other cells.
When it comes to the overall activity of the immune system, zinc has been shown to reduce inflammation, encourage cell growth, and aid in getting rid of phagocytes that have engulfed bacteria or small particles.
According to health professionals, adding zinc to your diet can help your body to fight a cold, an infection from a wound, or a respiratory tract infection. Studies are still being conducted to determine how helpful the mineral could be with other conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcers.
Great Sources of Zinc in The Diet
While some persons take a zinc supplement regularly, it’s also possible to add zinc to your diet with specific foods. Oysters, crab, and lobster are great sources of zinc.
As an additional benefit, they’re good for the heart. Meat products like beef, chicken, and pork will provide some protein as well as the zinc you’re looking for.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you have great options for zinc as well. Vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic have a low-calorie input as well as a few essential vitamins and minerals. The protein-rich legumes that constitute many vegetarian diets are also a great source of zinc.