Zinc is a fantastic supplement for everyone, but a few of its functions may be of particular interest to men! Did you know it can help to balance testosterone levels and support a healthy prostate? Today I’m discussing 4 reasons why men should get more zinc in their diets, and what foods you can eat to do this.
Zinc has a number of vital functions, from supporting the immune system and promoting wound healing, to supporting healthy bones, skin and vision. It even acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from oxidative stress! However, there are a few functions of zinc that may be of particular interest to men.
4 reasons why men should be getting more zinc in their diet
So, why should men focus on increasing their zinc intake? Well, it can impact health in a number of ways.
1. Zinc helps to support normal testosterone levels
Low testosterone can cause all kinds of unpleasant effects such as low libido, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, or even erectile dysfunction. There are a number of reasons why your testosterone levels might drop, from certain medications to genes and age.
Not getting enough zinc in your diet could be causing this dip in testosterone, and if it’s caused by another reason, then increasing your zinc intake could still help! Normalising your testosterone levels can then help to correct some of the problems listed above.
Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for prostate health! Zinc can help to reduce the risk of developing an enlarged prostate, and also help to reduce the size of the prostate in people with BPH due to its anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s a good one to take whether you’ve got BPH or are just looking to reduce your risk.
3. Zinc is vital for protein synthesis
Protein isn’t just something for gym-goers and body-builders to think about – protein is important for everyone! When we talk about protein we’re not just talking about strong muscles. Protein is present in almost every cell and structure in the body, from your brain cells to your artery walls and even your DNA!
It helps to build strong muscles, repair damage, promote healthy skin and build healthy cells. Without enough protein, you’ll feel weak, tired and have difficulty recovering from injuries like pulled muscles.
Whether you’re looking to bulk up, or are just concerned about having enough protein to keep your body strong and healthy, zinc is an absolute must-have! When we eat protein, it gets broken down by the body into amino acids and then resynthesized into the different proteins needed by the body, and zinc is a vital part of this process. So even if you are eating lots of protein, without zinc you won’t be able to use it properly!
4. Zinc can promote strong, healthy hair
While women will appreciate the benefits of zinc for hair too, we know that this can be a particular problem for men – especially as you grow older and that hairline begins to slowly recede!
Since zinc is so important for protein synthesis, it is also important for building the main protein that makes up your hair – keratin! Without enough zinc, your hair will become weak, thin and more likely to fall out, and your body will then find it harder to grow more.
One of the main sources of zinc is red meat and poultry; however, we tend to recommend lowering your intake of meat as it can be full of unhealthy fats and inflammatory chemicals, which can worsen problems such as joint pain, BPH and heart disease.
Instead, we would recommend increasing your intake of nuts and seeds – especially pumpkin seeds! These are so tasty toasted with a little paprika for seasoning and make the perfect evening snack. You can also pick up some pumpkin seed butter from your local health food store as this contains lots of zinc, and is really tasty on toast or in baking.
Oysters are also a great source of zinc, with just 3 ounces providing 493% of your recommended daily intake. In fact, oysters are so rich in zinc that eating too much can cause an accidental zinc overdose, so just be wary of this. Bear in mind as well that oysters are a common source of food poisoning, and they are also very high in cholesterol – might be best to stick to your nuts and seeds!
The other option is to take a supplement. You might see supplements offering up to 200mg of zinc, but this is really quite high considering the RDA for zinc is 11mg per day for men. Therefore, aiming for a supplement with a quantity around this amount is best.