4 Unexpected Health Benefits of Zinc

The benefits and uses of zinc have been studied for hundreds of years because of the important role it plays in our world. The International Zinc Association describes zinc as a natural element essential to humans, animals and plants.

The discovery of the essential nature of zinc to human growth has ties to Michigan, in fact, metro Detroit, where Wayne State University School of Medicine professor Ananda Prasad, M.D., Ph. D., was the first to study the idea that because “plants do not grow without sufficient zinc, perhaps people do not either.”

Aside from being essential to human growth, zinc has many other applications for our health – some you may not expect, including:

  1. Battle blackheads: Studies have shown the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of zinc help to combat breakouts. Therefore, zinc is a common ingredient in acne creams and medications prescribed by dermatologists.
  2. Protect and soothe skin: Zinc can have a soothing effect on skin and also protects it by serving as a water-resistant barrier (think white-nosed tourists at the beach). Zinc is a common key ingredient in sunscreen and diaper rash creams.
  3. Reduce the common cold: Research has shown zinc plays an important role in our immune system and may help reduce the length of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of symptoms appearing. Because of this, you can find zinc lozenges and throat sprays filling up the cold aisle at most drug stores.
  4. Freshen your breath: Some studies suggest zinc might play a role in temporarily reducing the oral bacteria that cause bad breath. You can purchase mouthwash, toothpaste and chewing gum products that contain zinc for this purpose.

Making sure you get enough zinc is extremely important for our health. Foods like red meats, fish, seafood and dairy products are great natural sources of zinc.

For more information about the health benefits of zinc, click here.

How do you make sure you get enough zinc? What zinc-rich foods do you enjoy most? 

Photo credit: Tanjila Ahmed

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