If you’ve never heard of zinc before Covid-19, you’ve learned recently how necessary it is for our immune system defense!
But Zinc has always been an Essential Mineral, that we can’t make or store in our bodies. We must get it from our food, both plant and animal sources.
Every cell in our body needs zinc. It is involved in over 300 reactions, and it is necessary for these following processes:
- Nerve function
- Wound healing and protein production
- Growth and development
- Gene expression and DNA production
- Immune function
- many more….
Zinc is needed for the senses of taste and smell. If your body is deficient in zinc, you lose your sense of taste and smell. You can supplement with Zinc Picolinate or Gluconate or Citrate to boost your levels, but for your children, I prefer that they learn to enjoy the foods that supply zinc and its co-factors, naturally.
Foods high in zinc include:
- Seafood: clams. Oysters, crab, lobster
- Fish: salmon, sardines, sole, flounder
- Meat: beef, bison, pork, lamb
- Poultry: chicken and turkey
- Legumes: beans ( black, kidney, pinto..), chickpeas and lentils
- Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cashews and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds
- Dairy Products: milk, cheese and yogurt
- Whole grain: oats, quinoa, brown rice
- Vegetables: Kale, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, peas, beet greens, okra, broccoli
On the flip side, too much zinc can also be a bad thing, leading to toxicities such as:
- Nausea and Voniting
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and abdominal cramps
- Decrease in HDL Cholesterol ( the good cholesterol)
- Decrease in immune function
- Competing with other nutrients like copper and iron
So we need to be cautious when taking zinc supplements for long periods of time ( more than 1 month).
If you suspect that your child is experiencing symptoms of zinc deficiency or excess, and you’d like to know the blood level, and assess which vitamins and mineral imbalances exist, we can help!
Call our office at 770-787-7444 to schedule a consultation, or visit the website at www.covingtonpediatrics.com