Zinc benefits the body in many ways: it helps with hormone production, growth and repair;improves immunity; supports digestion; and has the ability to act as an anti-inflammatoryagent. An insufficient intake of zinc can lead to developmental problems, loss of hair,diarrhoea and poor wound healing. Few plant foods actually contain zinc, and zinc absorption from those that do is limited due to their phytate content. (Phytic acid binds with minerals in the gut, reducing their absorption.)
To maximize your intake of zinc, eat an abundance of zinc-rich foods including whole grains, wheat germ, organic tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds. Choose organic ingredients wherever possible. Soaking nuts and seeds overnight before eating them will help reduce phytic acid and allow better absorption of zinc. Ensuring adequate protein intake and eating fermented foods such as tempeh also appears to boost zinc absorption.
About the expert
Nutritionist Eva Killeen directs the CNM Natural Chef and Vegan Natural Chef Diploma Courses. Visit naturopathy-uk.com/courses-eu/courses-natural- chef/ for more details.