Zinc, Cashews, and You
It has been known for years how good cashews are for you. They have manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Zinc is what’s known as an essential mineral which is found in some types of food. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system.” (“Zinc”)
This lack of storage by the body isn’t unusual. There are many vitamins and minerals a body should get daily because the body can’t store it. When it gets one of these types of vitamins or minerals in, it uses what it needs at that precise time and releases the rest, which comes out in the urine. So in order to have beneficial nutrients in your body, you should eat a healthy diet daily that contains the important vitamins, such as zinc found in cashews.
When your body has a weakened immune system, it becomes harder to fight off infection, colds, and other viruses. The National Institutes of Health says, “Severe zinc deficiency depresses immune function, and even mild to moderate degrees of zinc deficiency can impair macrophage and neutrophil functions, natural killer cell activity, and complement activity. The body requires zinc to develop and activate T-lymphocytes. Individuals with low zinc levels have shown reduced lymphocyte proliferation response to mitogens and other adverse alterations in immunity that can be corrected by zinc supplementation. These alterations in immune function might explain why low zinc status has been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children in developing countries and the elderly.” (“Zinc”)
Zinc – Fighting the Common Cold
No matter where you shop during cold and flu season you can find a plethora of over the counter cold medicines and lozenges with added zinc. Zinc is used to reduce not only the severity, but the symptoms that come with colds and the flu. Whether it’s cough syrup, lozenges, or or sprays, it seems as if it’s everywhere.
What’s interesting is that people who develop colds and flu symptoms often rush to the store to increase their intake of zinc. Had they been eating a diet high in zinc to begin with, such as one with cashews, they may not have gotten the cold or flu to begin with. Eating a handful of cashews can easily increase how much zinc your body has in it and the nuts are not only easy to store, but they have a long shelf life so you can easily stock up on them.
The National Institutes of Health suggest including nuts, “such as cashews” be included in a healthy diet. (“Zinc”)
When you eat healthy, your body stays in good shape and is able to fight off illness and disease that can often accompany a nutrient poor diet.
Zinc and Enzymes
An enzyme is a catalyst in the human body which helps to facilitate a biochemical reaction. Our bodies use enzymes daily for a variety of reasons. According to a recent study, zinc “is essential for function of more than 100 enzymes.” This same study continues, “Risk of deficiency is related to the level of anabolism and food choice.”(Sanstead)
Cashews – An Easy Way to Increase Your Intake of Zinc
If you get sick, you can always head to your local drug store and get some zinc lozenges, but why not just eat cashews before getting sick, to keep your zinc levels up? As with many health issues, prevention is the key and in this case, quite possibly, the answer to the common cold. Cashews are a slightly sweet tasting nut which are packed with important vitamins and minerals your body needs. So order some today and start including them in a healthy diet to keep illness at bay.
“Zinc.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 05 Jun 2013. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/>.
Sandstead, H.H.. “Understanding zinc: recent observations and interpretations..” U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institute of Health, n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8083574?dopt=Abstract>.