Nutritionists and doctors worldwide are continuously recommending a balanced diet that includes the right proportions of vitamins, minerals, zinc, and proteins to maintain a healthy body.
With the second wave of COVID-19, the need to boost immunity has been reiterated further. Regardless of whether and when we get that vaccine jab, staying safe should not go out of practice. And one of the ways to stay safe is to improve one’s immune system. Having immunity boosters and balanced nutrition is a vital way to help reduce the risk and impact of virus infections, which will help build a more resilient immunity system in the long run. While zinc supplements are highly recommended these days, the best way to consume zinc is through natural sources. Zinc is readily available in a lot of foods that we consume on a day-to-day basis. One must be aware of the correct quantity to consume. Some of the zinc-rich foods that can be consumed are seeds, nuts, whole grains, eggs, chicken, curd, dark chocolate, to name a few. We all must ensure healthy eating habits – pandemic or no pandemic.
Dr Soumitra Das - Director, South Asia (Zinc Nutrient Initiative), International Zinc Association shares some of the benefits of having zinc-rich foods.
Zinc is a necessary element in maintaining the typical structure and physiology of cells. The fact that it has an essential role in states of cardiovascular diseases has been studied and described by several research groups. In addition, zinc-rich foods such as oats and seeds are extremely rich in fibre and provide amino acids arginine to the body. This helps in regulating cholesterol levels, further leading to healthy heart benefits.
Zinc plays a crucial role in the optimum functioning of the immune system. Zinc performs a vital role in protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division and is required for proper taste and smell. It is also a key component of WBC that fights infections.
Food rich in zinc helps reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms. Zinc is also used to treat skin irritations and diaper rash. Zinc has also been shown to help with ulcers, ADHD, acne, sickle cell anaemia, and other conditions.
Zinc allows other vitamins such as vitamin A to travel from the liver to other body parts such as the retina. This helps in protecting the eyes from UV rays. It further acts as an anti-oxidant and helps clear skin.
Foods such as curd/yoghurt, rich in zinc, helps to promote healthy skin and mucous membranes, which boosts wound healing.