The immune system uses many nutrients that we need to replenish on a daily basis in order for it to stay strong and resilient. Now, more than ever, our immune systems need our support and we can do this with the food we put in our mouths. Each time we eat something we could potentially be strengthening our defences, it all depends on the food choices we make.
Zinc is one key nutrient that is needed to keep up strong and to help us battle anything that requires an immune system response. As one of the early symptoms of COVID-19 has been reported as being a loss of smell and taste, and zinc plays an important role in maintaining these two sense, it really brings home as to how the body diverts essential resources away from daily tasks to fight invaders. If you are healthy or you are recovering from the aftermath of the virus it’s important to make sure you have sufficient zinc in your diet.
I like to focus on natural sources of nutrients, however sometimes a supplement is needed if you are really depleted. If you are interested in supplementing or have some zinc at home, then it’s best to take it in the evening as it’s utilised better by the body at night. If you are on medication, or have pre-existing health issues do check with myself (a qualified Nutritional Therapist) or your doctor before starting on a new supplement regime.
Natural plant-based sources of zinc, that are not meat or dairy based (these are inflammatory foods and are best to be avoided at the moment, as I feel that the body responds/absorbs plant-based nutrients better during times of stress/overload) include:
- Hemp seeds
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Green peas (my favourite)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Black beans
- Chia seeds
It’s really beneficial to have at least one portion (around 80g) off this list per day. If you can get one per meal that’s even better. For example, having 40g of oats with 20g of chia seeds and 20g of flaxseed soaked in homemade hemp milk would be super charged, zinc rich start to the day. A simple, generous handful of spinach in a risotto or curry can give it a zinc boost. Get creative with what you have in the store cupboard or freezer.
As always, if you have any question please do get in touch.
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