There are two things that got me to dig deeper into information about zinc and its place in human body: Casanova and vegan diet.
Have you ever heard of legendary 18th century lover and women seducer Giacomo Casanova? His memoirs that have been depicted in a book, movies and other forms of art tell that he seduced over 100 women. The blame for the high libido of Casanova and his ability to make all women want him goes tooysters he ate for breakfast and treated his ladies with. In 2005 a group of Italian and American researchers approved the connection between oysters and sex drive: oysters are rich in zinc and contain a special kind of amino acids – these two, each of them separately and both together, have the power to increase sex drive.Vegans come into the story when doctors advise them to eat meat and other animal products to solve fertility issues and ensure healthy development of children. The keyword here is not animal products, but zinc.
I realized that people are somewhat aware of getting vitamins like A, B, C or D and minerals like calcium, iron or magnesium from the food we consume – we know we need to get these for the sake of our own health. We never really come to the thought about zinc rich foods into our healthy diets if we don’t face infertility, impotence, low libido, loss of appetite, weak immune system, hair-loss, growth retardation, mental lethargy, and loss of taste and smell. Sounds scary, and these are just some signs of zinc deficiency.
Zinc is a mineral that has its own role into our health and well being. As you already know it’s essential for our sex drive, reproductive abilities and fertility. Zinc also participates in making genetic material, synthesizing protein and DNS in our bodies; it also provides the functions of taste and smell, plays an important role in wound healing and is immune system supporter.
We can receive zinc from different foods. People who have healthy diets that include animal products usually receive the necessary amounts of zinc, as meat, fish, milk and dairy products are very good sources of zinc. Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, oysters, crabs, shrimps, flounders, lobsters,yogurt and cheese – if any of these is in your diet regularly you probably are doing it right.
Vegetarians and vegans should pay a special attention to getting the necessary amounts of zinc. No worries, there are seeds, vegetables and other foods high on zinc that do not come from animal world, but you need to ensure they get on your plate if you don’t want to experience health complications. Baked and cooked beans are a good source of zinc, chickpeas, green peas, oatmeal, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts and almonds as well. There are some more options: include in your diet also spinach, pumpkin and chia seeds, flaxseeds and products containing cocoa powder. Among fruits high on zinc are dates, raspberries, avocados, blackberries and dried fruits like apricots, figs and bananas. And don’t forget to add mushrooms to your menu – they are not just a great source of zinc but also contain many other vitamins and minerals.
Older you get, more you need to pay attention to foods high on zinc in your diet. Accordingly to Institute of Medicine of the National Academies for a 7 year old child about 5 mg of zinc daily is enough, but a 30 year old, healthy adult needs about 8-12mg of zinc daily, of course, depending on gender and health conditions. Scientists also say that our bodies don’t have a special mechanism to store zinc when we receive it being able to use it when it’s necessary. It means that foods high on zinc should be included in your diet regularly.
If you want to spend healthy, balanced and long life, start taking one step at a time learning about food that you eat and understanding what your body needs. You don’t have to live on zinc containing foods only. Human body needs zinc less than, for example, iron, but still it has a pretty essential role into our health. Zinc rich foods will keep your immune system strong, wounds healing fast and senses being active and functioning properly – it affects your body significantly enough to pay attention to it.