Zinc is an essential component of a wide range of enzymes. It is also necessary for maintaining and replicating genetic material (DNA and RNA), enabling the body to interpret its genetic information.
This mineral is vital for the normal growth of the body. Zinc plays an especially important role in the development of the ovaries and the tests, and a deficiency in childhood and adolescence impairs growth and sexual development. It is also needed for the efficient functioning of the immune system.
Indeed, zinc is so important to the immune system that even a mild deficiency can lead to an increased risk of infection. The mineral is therefore especially important to the elderly, who may be particularly vulnerable to a wide range of inflammatory concerns. Zinc is also necessary for a healthy appetite and assists in our ability to taste foods. A deficiency in zinc has been proven to increase the incidence of colds and flu, prostate illness, and premature graying and loss of hair.
Some good plant-derived sources of zinc include mung bean sprouts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wheat grass, and spelt sprouts.