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January 11, 2010 at 12:47 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Boost Immunity with These 7 Zinc-Rich Recipes!

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Zinc is an essential mineral that contains more than 200 enzymes and functions in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral. Stored throughout many places in the body - the bones, eyes, fingernails, hair, kidneys, liver, pancreas, prostate gland, skin, sperm, and voluntary muscles - clearly, zinc is important! Above all its benefits though, zinc is known as an immune system booster.

Zinc has antiviral activity. The most important functions of zinc include:

1. Zinc supports many enzymatic systems in the body. This involves alcohol metabolism, amino acid metabolism, energy production, fighting against free radicals, immune function, and protein digestion.

2. Zinc supports proper prostate and reproduction health.

3. Zinc supports immune function and is directly responsible for infection prevention.

4. Zinc supports the proper functioning of the thymus. This is important because it's the thymus that carefully directs the functions of the immune system.

Zinc Deficiency

From the skin to gene regulation, zinc is absolutely important for cell functioning, yet studies show 2 billion people are deficient in this essential mineral! Zinc deficiency can affect the body's immunity, B lymphocyte and antibody growth and production, and macrophage functions. Zinc deficiency also causes apoptosis - cell death that is programmed by the body. 

Suspect you may be deficient? Here are some of the most common signs:

  • Arrhythmia or "heart fluttering"
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Impotence
  • Skin problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired growth
  • Frequent illnesses and infections
  • Slow recovery time

Get Your Daily Zinc!

In its highest concentration, zinc can be found in oysters, but you will also find zinc in fish, red meat, shellfish, nuts, peas, and seeds. Zinc, when consumed as found in these foods, is easily absorbed by the body. (Zinc can found in brown rice, cereals, corn, legumes, non-fermented soyfood, and wheat, but because these contain phytic acid, zinc is less readily-absorbed and benefits are limited.)

Are you getting your daily zinc? Here are just a few yummy zinc-rich recipes to boost your immunity and overall health!

Traditional Oyster Stuffing


Zinc-Rich Ingredients: Oysters + Shallots + Bacon

"We've always been partial to traditional New England–style stuffing, particularly when it's made with bread, smoky cured pork, and oysters." Source: Saveur

Skirt Steak Fajitas

Zinc-Rich Ingredients: Steak + Onions + Garlic

"Classic Tex Mex, fajitas (pronounced fah-hee-tas) are typically made with grilled strips of skirt steak with onions and bell peppers, and served sizzling hot with fresh tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa." Source: Simply Recipes

Paneer & Pea Curry with Cashew Tomato Sauce


Zinc-Rich Ingredients:  Cashews +  Peas  + Paneer Cheese +  Coconut Milk + Garlic

"My latest experiment, that was met with much praise from my diners, was this paneer and green pea curry simmered in a fresh and lightly spiced cashew and tomato gravy. Rich, yes, especially if you fry your paneer in ghee or butter, but easy to digest and truly fit for royalty, although it is really easy to prepare." Source: Food & Spice

Quadruple Sesame Hummus


Zinc-Rich Ingredients:  Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans + Sesame Seeds + Tahini

"This quadruple hummus gives me hope. A good feeling of street cred, that I actually had four types of sesames on hand. That I will be more creative and daring in the future." Source: Banana Wonder

Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto Penne


Zinc-Rich Ingredients:  Pumpkin Seeds + Arugula + Garlic

"The spicy peppery flavor from the arugula was perfection and the toasted nutty flavor from the pumpkin seeds complimented the arugula so nicely. It was such a robust combination of so many great flavors." Source: Tasty Yummies

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad


Zinc-Rich Ingredients:  Egg Yolk + Greek Yogurt

"We have been packing alot of common lunch items and since eggs are a staple in our house and we eat soo many we thought we would give egg salad a try, but a healthier option with Greek Yogurt instead of mayonaise.  Give this recipe a try, it is really good!" Source: Okeefe Fitness

Salted Nut & Seed Dark Chocolate Bark


Zinc-Rich Ingredients:  Dark Chocolate + Cashews + Pumpkin Seeds + Almonds + Sunflower Seeds + Coconut Flakes

"I gathered the ends of a few bags of chocolate chips and the last of some trail mix I had stashed in my purse. I pulled out my beloved box of Maldon Sea Salt and a few hours later, we were back in action. Dark chocolate loaded with toasted almonds, cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes and flakey salt. Yep, this is the goods." Source: Mountain Mama Cooks

Where do you get YOUR zinc?

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