Zinc brings in the A-Z of immunity

Zinc flowers as an unbeatable nutrient ninja especially during the pandemic, for boosting immunity

With the pandemic still not behind us, we need to bring in resilient, robust boosters for our natural immune system. Plenty has been written about the all-important Vitamin C — that doesn’t function like a lone ranger. It needs the trace mineral zinc in sufficient quantity to work wonders. The presence of sufficient reserves of zinc in the body is important for a proper sense of smell, and taste. The mineral plays a pivotal role in protein synthesis and enzyme production. Here are sources from the plant and animal kingdom to bring into your diet

BREAK THE FAST

Dietitian Vidhi Chawla says that, “For breakfast, you should simply eat oats. This is the simplest way to increase zinc intake. Consume in the forms of oats porridge, chilla, meal… Eggs are zinc-rich too.” Spinach comes strapped with the mineral for easy inclusion in parathas and theplas. A cup of cooked spinach contains 1.4mg of zinc, which accounts for 9% of our daily requirement. “The amount of zinc absorbed when we consume it, plays the biggest role in its absorption.

More zinc is consumed as we eat more zinc, but the level absorbed can then even decrease,” points out Preety Tyagi, a health coach, and nutritionist. “Antibiotics and diuretics, for example, can interfere with its absorption. If the levels are low, consult your doctor about the drugs you are taking,” adds Preety. Keep in mind that if you are taking any supplements, certain foods should be taken after a two-hour break for bettering zinc absorption. These include whole-grain cereals, eggs, dairy foods and fibre-rich preparations. “Dietary fibre is not well digested in most cases, and the presence of excess fibre in the diet can inhibit zinc absorption by binding on to it. This extra fibre is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Hence, to maximise on your dietary supplement, consume the dose after a gap of two hours from your intake,” explains Vidhi.

MEAL STATION

While the animal kingdom food sources are replete in the mineral, there are fewer sources in the plant kingdom. “The best sources for vegetarians are legumes and beans, such as moong, kidney beans, white-eyed beans, whole grains including whole wheat, millets, and barley,” says Preety. “For non-vegetarians, poultry, seafood, oysters, red meat, and egg

Shilpi Madan for Sunday Herald

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