The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
You may be focused on getting enough iron, calcium and protein, but do you ever think about zinc? The essential trace mineral is responsible for proper immune function and cell growth and can cause serious issues when not fully present in our daily diets.
So what is zinc exactly and why do we need it? The essential mineral helps enzymes carry out imperative cellular functions, including cell division and metabolism. This means healthy levels of zinc are vital for our bodies to grow at a normal clip and for our immune systems to protect us. Zinc is also associated with the function of our hormones and emotions, meaning more stable moods and cognitive balance.
According to a study done by LabDoor.com, zinc deficiency symptoms can range from hard-to-notice issues, like an impaired sense of taste, loss of appetite or acne, to serious effects such as impaired immune function and delayed wound healing.
Zinc deficiencies are most common in older adults, vegetarians and pregnant women who are outputting much of their nutritional resources into their growing babes.
Vegetarians and vegans are at risk for zinc deficiency, as the most abundant sources of zinc tend to be animal proteins. Zinc can, of course, be found in plant sources such as legumes and grains, but they must be consumed in greater quantities. 2016 is the year of the pulse, after all, which are great sources of plant-based zinc.
Pregnant women should pay great attention to their zinc levels, as the mineral plays a huge role in growth and development in unborn babies. Prenatal vitamins tend to load women with folate and iron, which are also important for fetus development. However, these minerals decrease the bioavailability of zinc or our bodies absorption ability. Because low levels of zinc can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight, women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant should talk to their doctors about the best zinc supplements.
So how much zinc do you need? Adults 19 and over need between 8 and 11 mg. Pregnant women should focus on getting a full 11 mg and lactating or breastfeeding women should aim for 12.
Looking to add more zinc to your diet? Here's a list of 11 plant-based foods packed with zinc.
6. Chia seeds
8. Kidney beans
Looking for creative ways to add zinc to your diet? Oat flour lends these vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies a zinc boost.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.