Zinc Re-think


Express News Service

It takes a lot to get a doctor on call these days; a doctor who will assess your woes against the symptoms of a pandemic, as well as of those who treat the worst outcome while hoping for the best.You and I are not helping doctors to sleep, nor are we allaying their fears.

“A lot of people are opting for multivitamin consumption without the supervision of a doctor or an expert, which shouldn’t be the case. Zinc, an essential trace mineral, when taken in required dosage can be beneficial, but zinc toxicity is not something unheard off,” cautions Sonali Bansal, Health Coach, Nutritional Therapist, and Owner of The Wellness Table, adding, “Regular dosage is 15 to 20mg on an average, but we are consuming 40 to 50 mg on a daily basis to ward off covid-19, which can cause more damage than good in the longer run. Vomiting, diarrhoea, copper deficiency, lowering of good cholesterol, etc., are some side effects of overconsumption of zinc. Consult an expert for best results.”

The thing/think with zinc is its potential. Google the word alongside diet/health/whatever and there will be some promising potential and a shrugged off malcontent. “Initially, zinc supplements were recommended because doctors hypothesized that it was protective for Covid, but later with the advent of Mucormycosis, it was found that fungus grows better in a zinc-rich environment,” notes Sakshi Bakshi, Nucros Science and Taste, who adds, “Zinc supplements are not recommended or required unless you have a zinc deficiency. And if you are zinc deficient, rather than consuming zinc supplements, it would be better rely on food sources rich in zinc such as millets or nuts which provide well balanced nutrition of macronutrient and minerals.”

Zinc is known to be a powerhouse nutrient. It’s an important mineral for fighting off illness, keeping your heart and liver healthy, preventing digestive issues, and even growing muscles. Zinc, like iron, and other earthly minerals, is basically a trace element that is necessary for a healthy immune system. It assists with the function, creation, and repair of our DNA – the building blocks for every cell in the body. And that means that normally, zinc deficiency is due to insufficient dietary intake.

The problem, as noted by Nutritionist and MSc Kanupriya Khanna, is the manner in which many of us prepare dishes that include those zinc-laden ingredients. “Whether it’s soaking, sprouting, or pre-preparing many whole grains and beans, the processes we use in Indian cooking, or to prepare for the same, makes sure that zinc is easily broken down to be digested into our system. Various meats and eggs can also be really rich sources of zinc.”

It is a part of any well-balanced Indian diet, no matter where you come from. “Unless you are already recovering from Covid and have a particular deficiency, your daily diet has enough zinc, and unless your doctor recommends it, you don’t need extra zinc supplements,” concludes Khanna.

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Good sources of zinc for vegetarians include whole grains, tofu, tempeh, legumes, nuts and seeds, fortified breakfast cereals and similar products.

For non-vegetarians, rich sources of zinc include meat, shellfish (which are also low calorie) and dairy products.

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