Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
And if you’re planning a romantic meal oysters might already be on your menu.
Because as unlikely as it seems these homely little sea creatures have a stellar reputation as an aphrodisiac. And it turns out, that libido-boosting reputation is well earned.
The key is zinc, which oysters happen to be swimming in.
Our bodies use zinc to make the “male” hormone testosterone. And when you load up on the mineral, it can increase the level of free testosterone coursing through your veins.
In other words, if your T levels have dipped… which naturally happens with age… getting MORE zinc could boost your sex drive.
But it turns out libido isn’t the only thing that zinc could help us with.
An exciting new animal study has revealed how bellying up to the oyster bar may lower high blood pressure too.
40% of seniors have a zinc deficiency
Unfortunately, zinc deficiency isn’t unusual.
If you’re battling a chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes or kidney disease, for example, it can cause your zinc levels to plummet.
And experts estimate that about 12 percent of folks in the United States are at risk for running too low in this vital mineral.
But if you’re a senior, your odds are even worse. Diet changes and your body’s ability to absorb the mineral put YOU at even greater risk.
In fact, up to 40 percent of older adults could be deficient in zinc.
And now a new study has pointed a finger at zinc deficiency as a potential culprit behind high blood pressure.
Past studies have already hinted at an association between zinc deficiency and hypertension. But a direct link hadn’t been proven.
Well, until now.
Low zinc levels linked to high blood pressure
For the new study, researchers compared male mice that with zinc deficiency to a group of healthy mice.
The zinc-deficient rodents developed high blood pressure. But when they fed a few of the critters a zinc-rich diet, a remarkable thing happened.
Once their zinc levels bounced back to normal, their blood pressure began to go down too. And the researchers believe they even know why.
There’s a pathway in our kidneys that scientists call the sodium chloride cotransporter or NCC. It plays a vital role in blood pressure control.
The NCC regulates whether sodium gets dumped into your urine or reabsorbed into your body. When there’s LESS sodium in your urine, you typically end up with high blood pressure.
And sure enough, as the zinc-deficient mice developed high blood pressure, the sodium levels in their urine dropped. But when researcher fed some of the group a zinc-rich diet, blood pressures began to drop, and urinary sodium levels climbed.
We need more research of course. But there’s every reason to believe we’d see something similar happen in humans.
A simple blood test can reveal if you’re low in zinc. But most folks are never tested. You can ask your doctor about testing, or look for a zinc testing kit online.
If you find out you are running low talk to your doc about taking a supplement. But in the meantime, you can start putting the “oyster cure” to work right away.
Just six oysters pack in around 36 mg of the mineral. Other zinc-rich foods to try are beef steak, king crab legs, chicken, pork, duck, hempseeds, natto, and lentils.