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It’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing colours and temperatures are dropping. That means getting ready for beautiful fall colours, tasty apple pies, and sweater weather. But in addition to that, the influx of colds, flus, and other infections might be on your mind.

Our instinct might be to reach for trusty vitamin C when it comes to strengthening our immune response. While vitamin C is a great ally for your immunity, another nutrient can also help – zinc. And zinc can do more than just support your immune health.

Keep reading to learn how adding zinc to your health regimen can help enhance your immunity, speed wound healing, and reduce inflammation!

What is zinc?

Zinc is one of the essential minerals needed for many processes that happen within our bodies. It’s a vital nutrient because our bodies can’t produce it naturally. This means we must turn to dietary and supplemental sources to make sure we’re getting enough zinc.

What is zinc’s role within the body?

Zinc is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, including immune function, wound healing, detoxification, and so much more!

Reducing inflammation

Zinc supports our overall well-being by helping to reduce inflammation. It does this through its antioxidant action, which combats oxidative damage from harmful particles called free radicals. These particles can come from things we do every day. Diet, stress, overuse of medications, and even exposure to the sun can cause free radical damage.

Free radicals contribute to inflammation within our bodies. Zinc comes in and neutralizes these particles, which ultimately reduces inflammation. Zinc can help reverse the effects of free radicals and as a result, reduce the inflammation within the body.

Supporting immunity

Zinc is known to play a major role in the development and function of immune cells like natural killer cells and white blood cells, that work to protect us from sickness. Natural killer cells and white blood cells travel through our bloodstream, identifying and defeating any viruses they may encounter. By helping support our immune cells, zinc allows our immune response to work more efficiently.

On top of that, zinc has antiviral effects. This mighty mineral has the ability to interfere with viral replication, which reduces the strength of the virus within our bodies.

If you’re looking to take your immune response to the next level, try taking zinc and vitamin C together. These two make a great team when it comes to enhancing your immunity because they work together in many of the same reactions. Zinc and vitamin C increase natural killer cell activity, and when we don’t have enough of these two in our system, natural killer cells actually have a hard time doing their job. This can lower our immune response, making it harder for us to recover from an infection. But taking zinc and vitamin C together can help produce more natural killer cells and white blood cells to double up on identifying and fighting off any pathogens.

Healing wounds

Have you ever fallen off your bike and scraped your knee? Zinc supports blood clotting by helping our platelets (fragments of cells) stick together so that we don’t lose too much blood. In fact, the amount of zinc within our bodies directly impacts the release of alpha-granules (one of the most important types of platelets). The more zinc that’s available, the more platelets that are released, ultimately speeding up the wound healing process. It also acts as a helper molecule in tissue regeneration and scar formation to make sure the wound has a new layer of skin to protect it from outside bacteria and help it heal.

If your wounds are taking longer than usual to heal, chances are, you need more zinc!

Loading up on all the zinc you need

Adults in Canada need around 8 to 11 mg of zinc per day. And there are many sources that you can include in your diet to increase your intake of this powerful mineral. Oysters, beef, and eggs are the best dietary sources of zinc. If you’re looking for plant-based dietary sources of zinc, try eating more lentils, chickpeas, and cashews.

Not a fan of these foods? Don’t worry, you can still increase your zinc intake with a supplement.  Try Orange Naturals’ Zinc + Vitamin C. This powerful combo includes zinc and vitamin C, the immune-boosting duo you need in your medicine cabinet this fall.

Making sure you’ve got enough zinc can help you fight off colds and flus, heal your wounds faster, and reduce inflammation within your body. So, what are you waiting for? Load up on your zinc, sip on a pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy all that fall has to offer!

* This article was originally published here