8 Milligrams. That is all it takes to keep your body healthy. You could source this from chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, chickpeas, cashew, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, eggs, mushroom or cocoa powder. That is a fairly diverse source, and most of us will end up eating some anyways. If for no other reason than because you indulged in your craving for dark chocolate. You knew there was a good reason you were raiding the refrigerator.

If you did consume adequate amounts, you helped your body produce hormones and help in digestion. Zinc also acted as an antioxidant by fighting free radicals (cells gone rogue). If you didn’t consume sufficient zinc for some reason, you probably suffer from fatigue, poor concentration, the inability to heal wounds, stunted growth and an overall feeling of being weak.

The best way to consume zinc is from natural sources in particular lean meat. Other sources, including chickpeas, contain antinutrients, that prevent the zinc from being absorbed. Food that is processed and then fortified with zinc carry the same challenge. The added zinc is not easily absorbed, and the food probably brings some antinutrient rendering the consumption inadequate. If you always crave sweet or salty things, think zinc not poor mental discipline. It is the lack of zinc that might be giving you that craving.

As you age, perhaps the greatest value of zinc lies in its ability to fight dead cells. Zinc helps in preventing cancerous cells from spreading and stunting tumours. In a study conducted at my Alma Mater, the biomarkers of cancer were significantly reduced in patients who took zinc. Zinc also helps patients with diabetes by balancing your hormone insulin. It plays a vital role in the storage and release of insulin as well as in the production of digestive enzymes. Think of it as a James Bond inside your body fighting Dr Evil. Oh wait, Dr Evil was in another movie.