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Zinc for women: 11 reasons why you need this nutrient!

Zinc is one of the most important micronutrients essential for various bodily functions, including immunity, heart, and brain. Find out 11 health benefits of zinc for women.
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Add zinc to your daily diet! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 3 Apr 2024, 02:57 pm IST
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While your diet should be packed with several essential nutrients, zinc is one of the nutrients that you need for growth and development. It is a trace mineral, which means you need it in small amounts, yet it is essential for nearly 100 enzymes to facilitate crucial chemical reactions in your body. From DNA formation, cellular growth, and wound healing, to immune system function, zinc is a need of every cell in your body. And that’s not it, there are many other health benefits of zinc you should know.

Do women require more zinc than men?

Although both men and women need zinc for growth and development, research suggests that women require higher levels of zinc. Here’s why:

  • Women with PCOS benefit from zinc supplementation, which improves insulin resistance and lipid balance.
  • Zinc supplementation can reduce menstrual pain intensity in cases of dysmenorrhea when taken before and during each menstrual cycle.
  • Zinc plays a positive role in managing endometriosis and supporting postmenopausal women.

These findings are supported by a study published in journal Nutrients.

11 health benefits of zinc for women

Here are 11 reasons why you should add zinc to your regular diet:

1. Boosts immunity

Adequate zinc levels are vital for a strong immune system. A study published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition finds that zinc supports the function of immune cells, such as T-cells (white blood cells) and natural killer cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections and diseases. By enhancing immune response, zinc helps you stay healthy and strong against illnesses.

2. Reduces the risk of acne

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect women of all ages. “Zinc exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and regulates hormone levels, making it effective in reducing acne breakouts,” explained dietitian Ginni Kalra. Additionally, zinc helps control the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and contribute to acne formation. Not just skin, zinc can also help boost hair growth!

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Also read: 9 zinc-rich foods to boost hair growth naturally

3. Improves bone health

Osteoporosis, characterised by weak and brittle bones, is a significant concern for women, especially as they age. Zinc plays a crucial role in bone formation and regeneration, contributing to bone density and strength, according to a study published in the journal Materials (Basel). By ensuring adequate zinc intake, women can support their bone health and reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

arthritis
Zinc is an essential nutrient for your bones! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.

4. Good for sexual health

Zinc is involved in various aspects of sexual health in both men and women. It supports hormone production, including estrogen and progesterone, which are essential for reproductive health and sexual function. Additionally, zinc enhances libido and fertility, making it beneficial for overall sexual wellness. A study published by Redox Report finds that zinc can improve erectile dysfunction by suppressing oxidative stress and upregulating testosterone in men.

5. Promotes digestion

Zinc is a cofactor for numerous enzymes involved in digestion and nutrient absorption. “Adequate zinc levels help maintain a healthy digestive system by supporting the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the body,” says Kalra. Through optimal nutrient absorption, zinc contributes to a better digestive system.

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6. Good for eyes

The eyes require adequate levels of zinc for optimal function and protection against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. In a study published by Molecular Nutrition Food Research, zinc is a component of antioxidant enzymes that help neutralise free radicals and protect eye tissues from oxidative damage. By supporting eye health, zinc contributes to maintaining clear vision and preventing vision loss in women.

7. Manages blood sugar levels

Zinc plays a role in insulin metabolism and glucose utilisation, making it important for blood sugar regulation, according to a study published by the DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. By enhancing insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in cells, zinc helps prevent sudden spikes and fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This is particularly beneficial for women with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.

blood sugar check
Zinc can help manage blood sugar levels! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

8. Improves fertility

Zinc is essential for reproductive health and fertility in women. It is involved in the production and maturation of eggs, as well as in hormone regulation throughout the menstrual cycle, suggests a study published by the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Adequate zinc levels support proper ovulation and implantation, increasing the likelihood of conception and healthy pregnancy outcomes.

Also read: Can zinc be effective in treating vaginal yeast infection?

9. Promotes brain health

Zinc plays a crucial role in cognitive function and brain health. According to a study, zinc plays an important role in physiological and pathological brain functions and promotes antioxidant effects and immune system responses. It may help prevent age-related cognitive decline and support mental well-being in women.

10. Good for heart health

Zinc, an essential micronutrient, contributes to heart health by supporting cardiovascular function and reducing the risk of heart disease. It helps regulate blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood vessel function, promoting overall cardiovascular wellness. A study published by the Texas Heart Institute Journal suggests that zinc deficiency is common among people with heart failure. So, it is essential to consume an adequate amount of zinc.

11. Taste and smell

Zinc deficiency has been associated with a poor sense of taste and smell, which can even affect your appetite. To allow your senses to work properly, your diet must be rich in zinc.

Foods rich in zinc that you may consume

Foods rich in zinc nutrients include:

  • oysters
  • beef
  • chicken
  • nuts (such as cashews and almonds)
  • seeds (such as pumpkin and sesame seeds)
  • legumes (like chickpeas and lentils)
  • whole grains (such as wheat and quinoa)
  • dairy products (such as cheese and milk)
  • green vegetables (such as spinach)
  • certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster)
  • eggs

Incorporating these foods into your daily diet can help you meet your daily zinc intake, which is essential for various bodily functions, including maintaining a healthy immune system and heart health.

As per Harvard T.H. Chan, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults (19+) is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg for women. However, in case of specific requirements such as pregnancy and lactation, one may require slightly more, 11 mg to 12 mg a day. It can still vary based on your overall health.

So, add these zinc-rich foods to your diet to fulfill your daily requirements!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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