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The Power of Zinc: The Trace Mineral You Might Be Missing

Zinc

Zinc is a trace element and micronutrient essential for our overall health. Without zinc in our body, we would not be experiencing optional health, and this temple we call a body will begin to show it. Zinc is a mineral we all need for our body to function optimally. Second, to Iron, Zinc is the most abundant trace element, involved in various catalytic activities in the body.

Zinc is found in some foods naturally and is used in the form of dietary supplements. If are eating a poor diet lacking real foods like fruits and veggies and some lean meats, your diet is most likely lacking zinc.

Zinc deficiency in humans includes manifestations like diarrhea, alopecia, weight loss, intercurrent infections, neuro-sensory disorders, emotional disorders, and problems with wound healing. As someone who is in recovery from a wide variety of eating disorders, I know first hand the toll your body takes when you are lacking proper nutrition. Minerals like zinc are the foundation for our body to build on. We cannot absorb vitamins without minerals and zinc is on that list. If you are feeling stress make sure you read Mother Trucker Yoga’s 10 Quick Ways to Reduce Stress Blog to help.

It can be confusing when you start to pay better attention to your health, how much of what do you need and where to get it all. So in the charts below, you can easily see how much zinc you need depending on your age and what some sources of zinc could be in your diet today.

Required Daily Amount

Age Men Women
0-6 months 2 mg 2 mg
7-12 months 3 mg 3 mg
1-3 years 3 mg 3 mg
4-8  years 5 mg 5 mg
9-13 years 8 mg 8 mg
14< years 11 mg 8 mg
Pregnancy 11 mg
Lactation 12 mg

Zinc Nutrition Mother Trucker Yoga BLog

Sources of Zinc

Vegetarian

Food Items Milligrams per serving Percent DV
Peas (cooked ½ cup) 0.5 5
Yogurt (8 ounces) 1.7 15
Oatmeal (1 packet) 1.1 10
Almonds (1 ounce) 0.9 8
Cashews (1 ounce) 1.6 15
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce) 2.2 20
Baked beans (1/2 cup) 2.9 26
Chickpeas (1/2 cup) 1.3 12
Cheese (1 ounce) 1.2 11
Kidney beans (cooked ½ cup) 0.9 8

 

Non – vegetarian

Food Items

 

Milligrams Per serving Percent DV
Pork (3 ounces) 2.9 26
Chicken breast (1/2 breast)

 

o.9 8
Oysters (3 ounces)

 

74.0 673
Beef chuck (3 ounces)

 

7.0 64
Crab (3 ounces)

 

6.5 59
Lobster (3 ounces)

 

3.4 31
Chicken (dark meat) (3 ounces) 2.4 22

 

Trying to get your daily dose of zinc from natural food sources as much as possible is essential in building up a foundation of health within you. However, if you are severely deficient you may want to consider supplementing with zinc as you build up your reserves. As a recovering addict, one that struggled with a wide range of eating disorders my zinc levels were non-existent, and for several years I had to take zinc. Happily now in my thirties, I no longer have some of the lingering issues I once had.

Always seek further medical consultation to rule out other issues, but the good news is zinc is readily available in many foods.

Role of zinc in immunity

Many studies have proven the role of zinc effects of adequate zinc consumption on the immunity of our body. It boosts the cell-mediated immunity and balances the functions of humoral immunity.

Zinc is a crucial element for the development and function of neutrophils, natural killer cells, and innate immunity.

A study shows that macrophages (perform the function of killing the pathogen by phagocytosis), cytokine production, and intracellular killing are also affected by the deficiency of zinc in the body along with showing adverse effects in the growth and function of T and B cells.

Solomons NW. Mild human zinc deficiency produces an imbalance between cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Nutr Rev 1998;56:27-8

Benefits of Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that packs a powerful punch and one we often take for granted. When you are getting your daily dose of zinc your body gets to reap the benefits of several health perks!

Anti-Inflammatory

Its functions as an anti-oxidant and stabilization of membranes, strongly suggest that it has a hand in preventing the damage caused by the free radicals during the inflammatory process. What are free radicals, those are the guys who seal electrons from your body and start to sabotage your health one electron at a time. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants can help you combat free radicals and also boost zinc levels your body needs to remain healthy and inflammatory-free.

Heart-healthy

Studies have found that zinc supplements help in decreasing the levels of LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and triglycerides in the blood, preventing heart diseases at a major level.

(Ranasinghe, Priyanga et al. “Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 12 26. 4 Aug. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12986-015-0023-4)

Another study shows that adequate zinc consumption helps in lowering systolic blood pressure in about 40 young women.

(Kim, Jihye. “Dietary zinc intake is inversely associated with systolic blood pressure in young obese women.” Nutrition research and practice vol. 7,5 (2013): 380-4. doi:10.4162/nrp.2013.7.5.380)

Enhances memory and learning

Research conducted at The University of Toronto suggests the role of zinc in neural communication with one another which eventually affect our memory and learning ability.

Wound Healing

Zinc is often used in skin creams to treat wounds or any rashes on the skin as it is assumed to play an important role in maintaining the integrity and the structure of the skin.

Other Possible zinc Benefits

  • Fights Acne
  • Used in patients with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Prevention and treatment of pneumonia
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • Osteoporosis

Your health is your responsibility and there are many things you can do to help boost your health even while living over the road as a truck driver. Focus on what you can do, what you have access to, what steps you can take to make that next right decision. What you can do to make that next healthy choice, it may not seem like it will amount to anything when you just look at that one choice, but all those little choices add up to some really great health perks! Perks you get to benefit from every single day!

 

Other readings you might enjoy:

 

Drivers Fight COVID-19 with Homemade Hand Sanitizer

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Drivers fight COVID-19 with homemade hand sanitizer. You are out there, on the go, transporting toilet paper to the masses (insert humor). And we appreciate you. But we do want you to be healthy and use safe practices when it comes to keeping healthy and not spreading unnecessary germs to those whose immune system cannot handle them.

How can Mother Trucker Yoga help? Well, we thought we’d share some of our favorite hand sanitizer recipes with you all.
We’ve got a quick and easy recipe for all your germ-killing needs. We will let you decide to use an alcohol-based recipe or one without. But when in doubt wash, wash, wash your hands.

Maybe you haven’t yet considered making your own “on the go” hand sanitizer. And like toilet paper, store-bought hand sanitizer is hard to come by. Here’s the thing, you shouldn’t consider self-care and protecting your immunity only in times of a viral outbreak. But considering our current state of this county, it may be time to DYI a batch of hand sanitizer.

Every state coast to coast is currently being bought out of products like hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfectant, and even things like kleenex and toilet paper (because you need to wipe your bottom more when there is a viral outbreak?).

As truck drivers, it is vital that you consider your immunity a top priority, with or without an outbreak present. Traveling continuously, interacting with people all around the country on a regular basis, make sure you are considering how you can be sharing germs others can’t fight against as well as how your body can fight them to keep you healthy. Just like our simple easy exercises you can do from the cab of your truck. Here are a few simple easy recipes you can do from the cab of your truck.

washing hands mother trucker yoga

Please understand that simply rubbing your hands with hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute for good ol’ hand-washing. Alcohol-based disinfectants used in the right amount (99%) and rubbed long enough (to sing the ABCs) are fine when you are on the go. But soap, water, and a full hand washing experience (palms, tops, and fingernails) is the best way to protect yourself against everything that is floating around out there, global pandemic or not.

There are several recipes for DIY hand sanitizer so find one that you like and get to it! A little goes a long way. And I’m going to share with you a few versions I love. And some hacks that make this recipe easy to make on the go (or in your truck).

Hand sanitizer should NOT replace hand washing

This probably sounds like common sense but hand sanitizers should ONLY be used when there’s no water and soap available.

 

DIY Liquid Alcohol-Based Hand-Sanitizer

Ingredients
1 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol
1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1 teaspoon of 98% glycerin
¼ cup, 1 tablespoon, and 1 teaspoon of sterile distilled or boiled cold water

 

DIY Gel Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

2/3 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol
1/3 cup aloe vera gel or spray(read the label that it’s pure aloe)
8-20 drops essential oil (NOTE: the Dollar Store does not sell REAL essential oils) try oils like Lavender, Peppermint, Citrus, Cinnamon, Tea Tree or Myrtle.

 

Just be mindful when using alcohol-based hand sanitizers as ingesting these ingredients can be harmful to you and your loved ones. And alcohol used as a sanitizer regularly has been known to kill the bad bacteria AND the GOOD bacteria as well (which we don’t want to have happened). There is no hand sanitizer in the world that can ever replace using soap and water!

 

DIY Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer

1 Tablespoon aloe vera spray or gel

1 Tablespoon alcohol-free wich hazel (you can find this at the dollar store, Walmart, CVS)

1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil (if you can’t find it, don’t stress, you can go without)

10-20 drops essential oil blends like Young Living Thieves or Doterra On Guard, or DIY your own blend using: cinnamon, myrtle, tea tree, lavender, rosemary. Use what you can find.

 

It’s important to choose essential oils that are anti-bacterial like the ones listed above. The use of alcohol continuously on your skin can really dry out your skin. By combining aloe vera gel or spray into your mixtures you can nourish your skin as well.  I prefer the spray as it’s not so clumpy and easier to mix.

No matter what recipe you use, you’ll want to mix all your ingredients together and eventually need something to put it into. As a driver accessing a fancy squirt bottle can be difficult. So I want to suggest a water bottle hack that you may find convenient and helpful.

Water Bottle Hand Sanitizer Hack

  1. Drink water from a bottle (consider using a thicker plastic water bottle).
  2. Rinse water bottle with soap and water. Clean rim and cap with soap and water.
  3. Pour all ingredients into a water bottle
  4. Using a knife, nail, screw (something sharp) poke a small hole in the cap of the water bottle.
  5. Screw the cap back onto a water bottle and squirt hand sanitizer onto hands as needed.

Caps for DIY hand sanitizer mother trucker yoga

Finally, just make sure you clearly label your containers. You don’t want anyone drinking your potion! And in the heat of the moment, you don’t want to be drinking it either.

Water bottles for DIY hand sanitizer MTY

 

Here at Mother Trucker Yoga we urge all drivers to use common sense. If you are sick, stay home, or get to a doctor ASAP. Wash your hands whenever you can. And remember, when you promote good health and hygiene habits you are protecting yourself and also the lives of others. We may never know what someone else is up against or the status of their health. They may not know either. And no one wants to contribute to another’s health complications.

Now wash your hands and be safe out there.

 

Read more of what Mother Trucker Yoga has to say on health and well-being on our other blogs:

Constipation: 3 Ways to Get Relief on the Go Blog 

Put Back Pain In Your Rearview Mirror Blog 

Choosing Healthy Food On The Road

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Choosing healthy fuel for your body is hard for anyone. It is even harder for truck drivers who are constantly on the road for days or even weeks at a time.

Eating healthy starts with you saying to yourself, “I can do this.” It’s mind over matter.

Sure, it’s easy to stop at a diner, truck stop, or fast food restaurant to grab a bite to eat.  These places are quick and convenient AND they are EVERYWHERE! However, the majority of food at these places is high in calories, fat, and sodium–none of the things that are going to help you improve your health. Not only is this food pretty unhealthy, but it can also be expensive, too!

The good news is that YOU have the ability to choose what you put into your body. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated–it’s just a matter of choosing the RIGHT FOODS and a little planning. 

These FIVE snack ideas require a minimal amount or no preparation time at all. They are perfect for the busy trucker who is constantly on the road. 

 

1. Fruit

 

The possibilities are endless:

  • Apples
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • grapes
  • berries

Some fruit may require extra storage or preparation, however, it’s a super simple option that is readily available at most rest stops. And when you are worried about sugar, remember “berries are best”.

 

2. Vegetables

 

Vegetables are super easy options that require little to no prep time.

  • Carrots
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • peppers

Adding hummus to the mix also gives you an extra boost of protein which will help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

 

3. Hard-Boiled Eggs

 

Before you’re about to head out on the road, boil some eggs, peel them once they cool, and then wrap them in plastic wrap before putting them into a container. Right before it’s time to leave, load the container up with ice and throw it into a cooler. It’s that easy! BONUS: Don’t want to make them yourself? No worries. Most truck stops sell pre-cooked eggs in their refrigerated section.

 

4. Mixed Nuts

 

Nuts are nutritional powerhouses are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The best part: most places sell nuts that are pre-packaged and ready to go! No prep necessary! And when possible look for raw, and watch the salt content in some mixes.

 

5. Protein/Energy Bars

 

Choose a brand that has whole grains, is high in protein and fiber, has a low amount of sugar and is in the moderate calorie range. Protein/Energy bars are available almost anywhere you stop so they are another great grab and go option! Stay away from brands like Cliff or Luna as they are made with soy. We love Enduro Bites made in Colorado, and SoLo Glycemic Nutrition Bar, and my favorite the GFB – Gluten Free Bar

 

Choosing healthy food on the road takes practice, but the benefits are definitely worth it! 

 

Here are some other great recipes for you to try!

Healthy and Simple Recipes for Truckers

The Best Healthy Trucker Travel Lunch Recipe

The Best Granola Recipe: Truckers Travel Breakfast

Egg in a Basket (Egg in an Avocado)

Easy Mongolian Beef Made on the Truck