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The Healthy Benefits of Zinc

the healthy benefits of zinc complex

Minerals and trace minerals are nutritional elements that our bodies use for a host of functions including building bone tissue, converting food into energy, brain and heart health. Zinc is one of the more important nutrients, and is considered essential because the body does not produce it. Because of this, zinc must be consumed through diet, and when diet fall short, many turn to supplements to help keep the body balanced.

What is Zinc and Why do We Need it?

Zinc is an essential trace element that is required for healthy enzyme function and metabolism, among other things. Even though it is found in every cell of the body, it is not stored by your body, which means you must get a steady supply through diet to ensure healthy levels. But how much is healthy?

It is recommended that men consume 11 mg of zinc per day, women consume 8 mg, pregnant women consume 11 mg and breastfeeding women consume 12 mg each day. Even children need up to 8 mg per day, with teenagers requiring up to 11 mg each day.

The continuous supply of zinc is important for daily living and necessary body functions that keep us alive. Zinc is required for enzyme activities, which are the chemical reactions that support digestion, metabolism and even muscle repair. Some of the main functions that are supported by zinc include the following:

  • Support enzyme activity
  • Metabolism of nutrients
  • Skin health
  • Immune health
  • Protein and DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and/or tissue repair
  • Healthy sense of taste and smell
  • Support vision
  • Protect cells from stress

Zinc works best when used with other trace minerals to help maintain a healthy balance. Some of these minerals are magnesium and copper, both of which support muscle and nerve health. When used together, these three important minerals can also support health of the immune system, nervous system and even promote healthy aging.

Trace minerals are nutrients that are crucial for good health, but we only need a very small amount each day, usually between .2 and 15 milligrams. And while many foods contain them, some people may find it difficult to get all the minerals through diet, since some minerals may be destroyed by food processing or cooking. Some of the trace minerals include:

  • Chromium for healthy blood sugar levels
  • Iron for oxygen-rich blood
  • Manganese for enzyme health
  • Selenium as a powerful antioxidant to protect the cells

The above is not an exhaustive list, but provides insight into the importance of trace minerals in the daily diet. Ensuring you get a well-rounded balance of these nutrients can ensure your health is also balanced.

Zinc and Your Immune System

A healthy immune system relies on a variety of nutrients to stay strong. Because the immune system has many parts that work together, nutritional balance is important so that our immune response is ready when needed. But nutritional balance may not come as easily as it seems.

A balanced diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. And while you may think you are getting nutrition through your diet you might be in for a surprise.

The food supply today is rife with highly processed foods and produce that may be grown in less than desirable soil. Unfortunately, processing foods can destroy important vitamins and minerals, lowering the nutritional count to below dietary recommendations. At the same time, vegetables and fruits rely on nutrients from soil that is often depleted, due to overuse of fertilizers, increasing salinity, soil runoff and other environmental factors.

Luckily, you have the power to take control of your health and be proactive when it comes to supporting a strong immune system. Exercise is a known immune system modulator that can support natural antibodies. Regular exercise helps the lungs flush pathogens while keeping stress hormones like cortisol in check.

Diet is another way to support good health, and focusing on whole foods with plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins can help you stay strong and healthy. Avoid foods high in sugar and trans fats, fried foods and other harmful foods, as they all interfere with immune health. And if you know that your diet could use support, add a zinc and trace mineral supplement to your daily health regimen.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiencies are not common, but some people are more susceptible including mature adults, pregnant women and those who are nursing. Digestive issues like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause problems with zinc levels as the body may not be able to absorb all the minerals from the foods that are eaten. When added to a deficient diet, the case for supplementation strengthens.

Some vegetarians and vegans also seem to have lower levels of zinc. (1) This may be because fruits and vegetables are not a primary source of zinc, while foods like seafood and cheese that are higher in zinc might be avoided. Other conditions that may increase risk for a zinc deficiency include:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Chrohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Low zinc levels can lead to some health concerns such as a loss of appetite and thus, unwanted weight loss. Other signs of a zinc deficiency include:

  • Hair loss
  • Skin sores that heal slowly
  • Brain fog
  • Diarrhea
  • Lowered immune response

Zinc and mineral supplementation can help maintain a healthy nutritional balance, which may improve overall health.

Zinc Rich Foods         

Some foods are a naturally rich source of zinc and can help boost your zinc levels. Some of these foods include oysters, beef and crab. Other sources that are rich in zinc include whole grains, legumes and cereals, but these also present a problem when it comes to bioavailability of certain minerals.

Whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals also contain phytates, or phytic acid, which are compounds that can bind minerals like zinc, iron and manganese. This means that when you eat these foods, your body will have a difficult time absorbing them, potentially leaving you nutritionally deficient. And while cooking the foods can reduce the phytic acid, it can also destroy some minerals.

Luckily, phytic acid can be lessened, which can remove the barriers to nutrient absorption. Most of these foods can be soaked in a solution of water and vinegar or water and salt to lessen the phytates. Soaking nuts and beans also make them more digestible, leaving less problems like gas and bloating.

A zinc supplement can also fill in some nutritional gaps. Because zinc is found in every cell of your body, it is the second most abundant trace element behind iron, which shows how important this versatile nutrient is. Supplementing with zinc can help ensure you take advantage of the benefits like immune and blood sugar support, healthy skin and cardiovascular support.

Magnesium and Copper

Magnesium is a mineral that helps convert food into energy and supports the health of the nervous system, muscles and numerous chemical actions of the body. Some people use magnesium supplements to get better sleep, while others use it to help them relax after a stressful day. Getting enough magnesium into your daily diet is essential for good health, especially for those with digestive issues and mature individuals.

Copper is an essential nutrient that the body uses for numerous functions like immune support, and it plays a role in the generation of ATP, your body’s main source of energy. (2) Copper deficiencies may lead to issues such as weakness and digestive issues. And while the body only requires a small amount of copper to maintain health, it is important to get enough into your diet, since your body cannot produce it.

Ensuring you get a healthy supply of all nutrients is essential, as benefits are recognized when they are used together. For example, research shows the combination of zinc, copper, magnesium and calcium supports bone health, especially in mature adults. In fact, at least one study has shown that postmenopausal women who supplemented with this combination of minerals experienced less bone loss than those who took a placebo.

It is possible to get both magnesium and copper through dietary sources. Foods that contain copper are similar to those that contain zinc, including oysters, nuts and seeds. Other foods that are a source of copper include:

  • Liver
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Lobster
  • Leafy greens
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spirulina

Foods that contain magnesium include:

  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews

Some of these foods share the phytic acid issue, but soaking them will allow you to take advantage of the nutrients while avoiding digestive issues.

Trace Minerals

Many people are familiar with vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet, but micro or trace minerals are less commonly discussed. Minerals, or macro-minerals, include calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, to name a few. Minerals should be consumed in amounts of at least 100 milligrams, depending upon the mineral, to maintain good health. But trace minerals are just as important, even though they are lesser known that the rest.

Trace minerals are the microminerals that are required by the body. They are labeled as trace minerals because only small amounts are needed for good health, but they work “behind the scenes” to ensure your body functions at an optimum level.

Trace minerals play many roles including the synthesis of DNA, metabolism, ensure enzymes are active and helps keep hormones balanced. They provide support for your immune system, digestion, growth and repair of the body. Here are some ways the body uses these micronutrients:

  • Protect cells from oxidative stress
  • Support immune function
  • Support brain function
  • Support nervous system
  • Healthy digestion
  • Strong enzymes
  • Metabolize macronutrients
  • Help body rejuvenate itself
  • Support tissue repair

Because of the many roles and functions of trace minerals, it is important to maintain a healthy balance by consuming mineral rich foods that contribute to health. If you have digestive issues, take medications or are vegan, you might benefit with a trace mineral supplement.

Consuming foods that are rich in minerals can support your body’s levels of trace minerals, especially if you  consume the recommended 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating a variety and including foods that are lightly cooked while soaking those with phytic acid can keep your digestion strong, so you absorb enough to keep you healthy. Organic produce is another way to ensure you get the most nutrition from the foods you eat. And ensuring your diet includes a variety of healthy foods also ensures you get a variety of nutrients, too.

Trace ionic mineral supplements are becoming more popular among health enthusiasts as synthesized fertilizers and overuse of farmland depletes the soil. The result is that minerals essential to our wellbeing do not get replenished in the food supply, but supplements can help fill any nutritional gaps.

Zinc Complex

Fortunately for our health, Balanced Health has created Zinc Complex with zinc, magnesium, copper and trace minerals. This is the perfect combination to support the immune system as well as ensure healthy and balanced levels of minerals for every part of the body including muscles, bones and skin.

The right combination of minerals in the right balance means the nutrients are digestible and bioavailable for the body. They are easy to assimilate, which means your body can use them as required. And because they are highly digestible, they are the perfect supplement for those who have digestive issues and for those who simply need to fill in their diet.

Feel the Difference

While zinc deficiency may be rare, zinc inadequacy may not be. Some indications of low zinc include acne, hair loss, poor vision and slow healing from wounds. Many people supplement with zinc to overcome acne and provide immune support, especially during cold and flu season.

Balanced Health’s Zinc Complex is easy to digest and highly absorbable. Regular supplementation can support balanced nutrition, a healthy immune system and healthy aging. And you can feel safe knowing it is free of wheat, yeast and dairy, and manufactured in the United State. Zinc Complex makes it easy to be proactive, so you can live healthy.

References

1 Freeland-Graves JH, Bodzy PW, Eppright MA. Zinc status of vegetarians. J Am Diet Assoc. 1980 Dec;77(6):655-61. PMID: 7440860.

2 Medeiros DM, Jennings D. Role of copper in mitochondrial biogenesis via interaction with ATP synthase and cytochrome c oxidase. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2002 Oct;34(5):389-95. doi: 10.1023/a:1021206220851. PMID: 12539966.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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The Power of Antioxidants

The Power of Antioxidants

 

Many of us are familiar with the term, antioxidants. They protect us from free radical damage and are found in many different fruits, vegetables and even certain types of tea. Through all the information, it might get lost that antioxidants are truly powerful substances that protect the body from cell damage. They are as common as that anti-aging nutrient Vitamin C and as unheard of as bilberry that can help one from night blindness, but are a necessary part of healthy nutrition.

What are Oxidants and Oxidative Stress?

Oxidants are shorthand for oxidizing agents or oxidizing materials. In general, they are substances that are short on electrons, so take them from other substances, namely our body’s molecules. This process may render them unstable, and when this take place on a regular basis, the process of oxidative stress begins. Free radicals are the most commonly known oxidizing agents and can be created from our internal metabolic processes or found in foods like processed meats and some unhealthy fats and oils.

The Problem with Oxidative Stress

While oxidation is a normal process that results in metabolic waste, oxidative stress is an unhealthy state where the body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Oxidative stress can damage cells and is linked to a host of health issues such as:

  • Chronic internal inflammation
  • Premature aging
  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels)
  • Diabetes
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Certain cancers

As we age, our bodies lose the ability to fight the effects of oxidative stress. At the same time, heavy exercise, pollution, smoking, medications and alcohol can all increase oxidative stress. But antioxidants and the foods they are found in can go a long way in neutralizing free radicals or preventing the damage they do to our cells.

The Power of Antioxidants

Our bodies rely on a healthy diet to help fight oxidizing agents and free radicals from the outside, and to maintain toxins from our internal processes, as well. Antioxidants help us in the fight against oxidative stress, and play a role in prevention of many health issues.

The term, “antioxidants,” is not truly a group of substances, but more a description of what some substances can do. While some are made internally, our best source of antioxidants is in the foods we eat. And while it is common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are a great source of powerful antioxidants, it might be surprising to learn that some common nutrients are also in this category. Some common antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin A, C and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Selenium
  • manganese
  • Flavonoids
  • Catechins
  • Polyphenols

This is only a partial list and each antioxidant has its own function, which is why nutritionists encourage people to eat a variety of healthy foods.

The Benefits of Antioxidants

Each antioxidant has a different function for various benefits, and we need a variety of them for good health. Some benefits of antioxidants include:

  • Protect Your DNA – Oxidative stress from free radical damages DNA, and as we age the ability to neutralize free radical damage lessens. This is why it becomes more important to consume foods and superfoods with antioxidants throughout adulthood.
  • Protect Brain Function – Free radical damage doesn’t stop at skin cells, they can harm or damage brain cells, too. But studies show that the antioxidants luteolin and flavonoid diosmin improve brain function while lowering oxidative stress. (1)
  • Better Eyesight – Some antioxidants protect eye health, which is important since cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affect millions of people every year. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association, AMD is a leading cause of blindness in mature adults, yet studies by the National Eye Institute have shown that antioxidants can delay or even prevent this debilitating health problem.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes have increased free radical activity accompanied by decreased antioxidant protection, which leads to a higher rate of oxidative damage. And while studies find no evidence that synthetic (man-made imitation) antioxidants do not provide significant protection it is widely accepted that the antioxidants found is food sources are beneficial.
  • Anti-Aging – The free radical theory of aging simply states that we age prematurely when our cells are in a state of oxidative stress. Antioxidants can protect us from the effects of free radicals and can help repair the damage. And those who exercise, endure higher levels of stress, lack fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet or who live in higher pollution areas can all benefit from consumer higher amounts of antioxidants to combat the higher risk of oxidative stress from each of these risk factors.

Sources of Antioxidants

It is generally agreed by nutritional experts that food is the best source of antioxidants. As far as supplements, synthetic (or fake) antioxidant supplements should be used with caution while supplements that contain antioxidants from whole food sources can be beneficial.

Because different foods contain different nutrients and antioxidants, consuming a wide variety of healthy foods will help you get a variety of each. The following is a list of some important antioxidants and the foods that provide them:

  • Carotenoids are antioxidants that support eye health, immunity and reduce cancer risk. Some of these foods include carrots, spinach, kale, oranges, yams and tomatoes.
  • Flavonoids can reduce the risk of certain cancers, is anti-inflammatory and protect skin. They are found in apples, grapefruits, onions, ginger, coffee and green tea.
  • Ellagic acid also reduces cancer risk as well as internal inflammation. Foods that are rich in ellagic acid include blueberries, strawberries, grapes, pomegranates, pecans and walnuts.
  • Resveratrol is mainly found in grape skins, making red wine a fun and popular antioxidant beverage for some. This antioxidant supports brain and heart health and can be found in blueberries, strawberries, pistachios and dark chocolate.
  • Glucosinolates are antioxidants found mostly in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and bok choy. They are known to support metabolic function, help with internal inflammation and even protect from cancer.

Conclusion

Making healthy and wholesome foods choice like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes a focus of your meal plan can improve your health by boosting antioxidant levels. And a healthy diet provides more energy and immune support so you can enjoy life without health issues. When you cannot get enough antioxidants in your diet, consider supplementing with whole food sources to maintain balance in your diet and health.

 

References:

1 Yoo DY, Choi JH, Kim W, et al. Effects of luteolin on spatial memory, cell proliferation, and neuroblast differentiation in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in a scopolamine-induced amnesia model. Neurol Res. 2013;35(8):813-820. doi:10.1179/1743132813Y.0000000217

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/