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5 Benefits of Zinc When Fighting a Cold

Proper zinc levels boosts immunity.

Earlier, you learned that zinc is an important mineral for your health. It helps our development and keeps our senses of taste and smell in check. Furthermore, it helps the immune system work at optimal levels, which is a great way to fight off infections and illnesses, like colds. In fact, it is thought that zinc deficiencies in more vulnerable populations -- such as kids and the elderly -- are linked to chances of infections, such as pneumonia [source: Office of Dietary Supplements].

You can keep your zinc levels in check by looking no further than your local food market. Foods such as legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), beef, poultry and nuts are high in zinc. Whole-grain foods, such as cereals and breads, are good sources of zinc, though whole grains don't deliver absorbable zinc as readily as meat sources [source: KidsHealth, Office of Dietary Supplements].