Whether you know it or not, zinc is on your must-have list. "Zinc is an essential trace mineral necessary for all forms of life and growth," says Marla Feingold, CCN, CNS, LDN, at Wholehealth Chicago and Fit My Detox. "It is part of DNA development, immune system responses, reproductive health, and enzyme reactions." Zinc also has antioxidant properties, aids in blood clotting and insulin and thyroid function, and may reduce suffering from symptoms of the common cold. Deficiency may lead to hair loss, skin and vision problems, and depression.
Zinc is obtained through dietary sources, most readily in fish and meats. "Vegetarians, especially vegans, are prone to dietary deficiencies of zinc," notes Lyndon B. Carew, Jr., PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "Fruits and vegetables are generally low in zinc, and the zinc in grains is often poorly absorbed due to phytates that bind zinc away from digestive processes." Adding nuts, seeds, and legumes to your diet will improve zinc intake, he counsels.
- Vegetarian Times Magazine, December 2015
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