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Food Therapy Tip: Zinc deficiencies are very prevalent. Are you deficient?

Interesting information from John Douillard;

“Zinc is such a common mineral that we sometimes take it for granted. New studies are showing that, as we age, zinc deficiencies are very prevalent mostly due to a lack of zinc in the diet. In the United States, about 12% of the population are probably zinc deficient, and perhaps as many as 40% of the elderly. (8) In one study, 35 – 45% of people over 60 didn’t even get half of the current RDA (recommended daily allowance) of zinc, which is 15mg/day. (1)

The impact of this silent but deadly deficiency is striking. There is good evidence now linking the age-related weakening of the immune system – called immunosenescence – to a lack of zinc. (2)

What Does Zinc Do, Anyway?

Zinc is required for more than 2000 reactions that involve genetic expressions, translating to thousands of preventative biological functions in the body. The major impact of zinc deficiencies appears to be correlated to the immune system, but new findings are linking zinc to multiple areas of health in the body. (3)

Zinc supplementation in the elderly is responsible for: (4)

  • Restoring normal function of killer T cells
  • Boosting white blood cell response to stress
  • Improving cellular immunity and age survival rates

Zinc Supports Healthy Blood Sugar and Fat Metabolism

In one study, overweight individuals were given 30mg of zinc (twice the RDA) a day for one month. Researchers found a significant reduction in weight, body mass index (BMI), fasting and after-meal blood sugar levels, hemoglobin A1c (average blood sugar), and unhealthy blood lipids. In fact, the study demonstrated a 34 – 43% lower risk of glucose intolerance. (5, 6)”

Get More Zinc 

According to this research and John Douillard, we should be making a special effort to get more zinc in our diet. The foods that contain the highest amounts of zinc in order of highest to lowest are:

oysters

beef

lamb

wheat germ

spinach

pumpkin seeds

squash seeds

nuts

cocoa or dark chocolate (I love using cacao nibs in recipes. It’s an easy and delicious way to get zinc into your diet.  See suggestions…)

pork

chicken

beans

mushrooms

Recipes from Healthy Living Kitchen using nibs:

nibs
HIGH ZINC TRAIL MIX
Combine the following and eat for snack (or add to yogurt);
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup nibs
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cups dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, blueberries
4 O’CLOCK PICK ME UPS

1 cup cacao nibs or cacao beans ground up

1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight

1 cup dried apricots, soaked for 2 hours

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups mixed dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, raisins,

cranberries)

3 teaspoons maca powder (optional)

3 tablespoons PURE  maple syrup

Feel free to soak the nuts and apricots in filtered water or coconut water or other.

Ground the cacao and set aside.  If you have the nibs then there’s no need to grind.

Grind  the nuts in food processor first.  Add oats and grind again until well blended.  Add apricots, maple syrup, then add other fruit and blend just until there are still very small pieces.

Stir in the cacao nibs.

Put spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and then flatten like a cookie.  Put in dehydrator or, if you do not have one, put  in the oven on lowest setting to dry out (about 4 hours).

 References:

  1. J Nutrition. 2002 Nov;132(11):3422-7. 
  2. Immun Aging. 2006;3:6. 
  3. British Medical Journal. March. 2003 22;326(7386):409
  4. Ramsey H. Life Extension Mag. March 2014
  5. Adv Pharm Bull. 2013;3(1):161-5 
  6. Saudi Med J. 2006 March;27(3):344-50 
  7. http://odds.od.nih.gov/fact sheets/Zinc-HealthProfession/
  8. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090917115700.htm