- Zinc may prevent respiratory infections, according to a new research review
- It turns out that people with colds felt better when they took zinc supplements.
- According to the NHS, women need 7 milligrams of zinc a day, while men need 9.5 milligrams of zinc.
- Dietitian Helen Bond reveals ways to get the recommended daily amount
Can zinc prevent respiratory infections like colds and flu – and help relieve symptoms faster if you do get them?
That’s the suggestion from a research review published in the BMJ Open Journal.
It showed that people with cough, cold and flu-like symptoms felt better two days before they took zinc supplements, so even with the lowest dose — 15 milligrams per day — it made a difference.
Supplements also reduce the risk of infections developing in the first place.
But while the researchers suggest that further study is needed, there’s no doubt that zinc is an important nutrient — helping us to process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and help heal wounds and make new cells, including immune cells. For this it is required.
Zinc also helps put the brakes on the overactive immune response, preventing out-of-control inflammation that can be harmful.
The NHS says that women need 7 milligrams a day and men 9.5 milligrams of zinc. We can get minerals from sources like meat, dairy and grains – but half of us get less than the recommended.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include decreased smell and taste, mouth sores and discolored nails.
Here, dietitian Helen Bond reveals the different ways we can get our recommended daily amount — along with some surprising options.
(Each meal comprises a percentage of the daily zinc recommendation, using the women’s recommendation of 7mg per day. Men typically need just a third as large.)
140 g (4 tbsp) serving, 1.4 mg zinc.
Dietitian Helen Bond reveals the various ways we can get our recommended daily amount, including by eating kidney beans.
Most pulses provide zinc.
One serving (ie four tablespoons) of red kidney beans contains about one-fifth of our daily zinc needs, 11.8 grams of protein (more than one large egg), half of our daily fiber and almost a quarter of our daily iron.
30 g bowl, 2.5 mg zinc.
Another food that’s fortified with zinc is Special K, which gives you a quarter of your daily anemia-protective iron per bowl and various B vitamins that help release energy from food.
Special K is fortified with zinc, plus you’ll get a quarter of your daily anemia-protective iron per bowl and various B vitamins that help release energy from food.
Adding milk provides an additional 0.6mg of zinc. But note: one teaspoon of sugar is added per bowl.
125 g (five spears), 0.9 mg zinc.
Asparagus is a great vegetable source of zinc, while peas, broccoli and watercress also provide a good amount of zinc.
Asparagus is a great vegetable source of zinc; One serving also packs with your entire daily folate intake needed to make red blood cells.
Peas, broccoli and watercress also provide a good amount of zinc. Steam the asparagus to prevent leaching of the zinc in the cooking water.
40 g (2 large handfuls), 0.8 mg zinc.
The 40 grams of twiglets are high in zinc and provide almost a third of your daily vitamin E, another nutrient important for immunity.
The twigs are made from whole grains, providing the bran, as well as yeast extract—both of which are high in zinc.
A 40-gram serving provides about a third of your daily vitamin E, another nutrient important for immunity, but also provides 1 gram of salt, so keep an eye on your portion sizes.
Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate
200 ml cup (made with milk), 1.8 mg zinc.
Cadbury’s hot chocolate has almost double the 1mg zinc found in a cup of hot milk, due to the zinc in the cocoa.
One cup of warm milk provides 1mg of zinc—nearly double that of drinking chocolate powder, due to the zinc in cocoa (but it also contains three teaspoons of sugar per cup).
Some plant milks contain a lot more zinc than dairy, so look for one that’s fortified.
Serving 120 g dark and light meats, 1.8 mg zinc.
An average serving of roast chicken provides about a quarter of our daily zinc intake, but darker meats contain more myoglobin, which supplies oxygen to muscles.
The average serving of roast chicken provides almost a quarter of our daily zinc. But it is from a half-and-half mixture of lighter and darker flesh.
The amount of zinc in breast meat is about 50 percent less than in dark leg meat. Darker meat has more myoglobin, which provides oxygen to the muscles (so the legs don’t have breasts).
The more myoglobin, the more nutrients such as iron and zinc.
Merchant Gourmet Persian Style Quinoa and Lentils
125 g (half pack) serving, 1 mg zinc.
This combination of quinoa, green lentils and whole grain rice adds about a seventh of your daily needs to a half-pack, as well as a fifth of your daily fiber.
Both whole grains and pulses provide zinc.
This combination of quinoa, green lentils and whole-grain rice packs about a seventh of your daily needs in a half-pack, plus a fifth of your daily fiber, and the slow-release carbs help keep blood sugar stable. Provide energy and curb hunger.
2 medium slices, 1.3 mg zinc.
Two slices of wholemeal bread provide one-fifth of your daily magnesium needs, along with a good amount of zinc, which is important for nerves, muscles and energy levels.
Whole wheat flour (found in the bran, which is extracted from white bread) contains a good amount of zinc.
Two slices of wholemeal bread also provides one-fifth of your daily magnesium needs, which is important for nerves, muscles and energy levels.
Yo Valley Natural Yogurt
150 ml serving, 1.1 mg zinc.
Natural yogurt provides one-seventh of our daily zinc intake from milk, while non-dairy alternatives, such as soy yogurt, contain less than a third of this amount.
As well as calcium and protein (37 and 17 percent of our daily needs, respectively), natural yogurt provides one-seventh of our daily zinc from milk.