According to the German association of pneumologists, taking a zinc supplement regularly can protect older people from pneumonia.
The association recommends the elderly or frail to supplement their diet with zinc, particularly if they have problems eating.
According to a recent study conducted in the United States, people in nursing homes who had a low level of zinc come down with pneumonia more frequently and recovered more slowly from the illness than people with a normal level of zinc.
A daily dose of zinc can halve the risk of contracting pneumonia, the association said.
Also, the general risk of death among people living in nursing homes is 39 per cent lower for people who maintain a normal level of zinc. The mineral supports the immune system and protects from infection.