Vitality A high-tech visual aid and zinc, the supplement du jour
We’re slathering on hand sanitizer, sneezing into our sleeves and lining up at the pharmacy for our flu shot. As we prepare for cold and flu season, zinc represents another important line of defence. By activating our immune system’s T cells, it helps us fight infection and disease. Taken in lozenge or syrup form, supplementing with the mineral has been found to shorten the common cold by up to 40 per cent. Zinc has also shown promise in delaying progression of age-related macular degeneration and as a treatment for osteoporosis.
Are you getting enough? It’s recommended that women consume eight milligrams of zinc a day; for men, it’s 11 milligrams. Signs of deficiency can include loss of appetite, abnormal taste and smell, slow wound healing and diarrhea. The best food sources for zinc are fish and seafood, meat and beans. Raw oysters are by far the easiest way to meet our needs; a three-ounce serving (six medium oysters) clocks in at about 14 milligrams. Next best is the same size serving of lean beef, with about 7 milligrams, and then – making a very respectable showing – baked beans with 6.9 milligrams per half cup. However, because beans and other plant sources (wild rice, peas, pecans and peanuts, for example) are less bioavailable, that is we absorb less nutrients from these sources, vegetarians may need to increase their daily intake by as much as 50 per cent.
And just in time for sniffle season is Tetley’s new Super Herbal Immune tea. One of the company’s three vitamin- and mineral-fortified Super Teas, each cup provides about 20 per cent of your daily zinc requirement along with soothing ingredients including lemon, honey, ginger and echinacea.