What do dark chocolate, red wine, coffee and tea have in common? They are foods that we often feel a certain craving for, and they are protective for our health also for their zinc content.
But what is zinc? Let’s find out together.
Zinc is an essential mineral, one of those that is present in trace amounts in our body, and which together with iron is the most important mineral for our body, as it participates in the creation of some metal-proteins with an enzymatic function, for example carbonic anhydrase.
PROPERTIES OF ZINC
Its importance in our health is such that zinc is the element that makes superoxide dismutase possible , one of the processes by which the body defends itself from free radicals . It is also an essential mineral for gene transcription.
Therefore zinc has an antioxidant and structural function, but not only. Here are the other properties of zinc.
- It is a fundamental element in the growth phase, it protects the memory, reduces the damage of time, it is essential for sight, for the health of the skin, nails and hair.
- A tendency to stretch marks, wrinkles, brittle and blotchy nails may be due to zinc deficiency.
- A zinc deficiency can also lead to an excess of copper, of which it is antagonist, and can lead to a protein deficiency, which therefore reduces lean mass . It is also a selenium antagonist. Therefore it is always better to avoid synthetic zinc supplements and take it through food, precisely to reduce a malabsorption action to the detriment of selenium and copper.
- It is an essential mineral for sexual and male hormonal health, because it aids in the production of testosterone, but in general it is very important for hormonal balance in both men and women.
- Its influence on growth hormone makes it a key mineral for the reduction of body fat and the maintenance and growth of muscle mass. Both its excess and its defect are linked to the development of some tumors: this is why nutrition plays a key role.
- It also affects insulin: In insulin resistant people, getting more zinc through their diet is a natural way to increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin.
- Thanks to its antioxidant action, it seems to be protective against seasonal ailments.
Now that we have discovered the properties of zinc, let’s see what foods we can find it in.
You should know that zinc deficiency is quite common.
In fact, among the foods richest in zinc we find oysters , which are precisely the food that contains the most in nature.
Other natural sources of zinc are calf liver, sesame, wheat germ, meat, beans, yeast, pumpkin seeds, bitter cocoa, pine nuts, dehydrated herbs such as thyme. However, plant phytates counteract its absorption. Always better to vary with animal sources to avoid shortage: from shellfish, fish, meat, eggs.