Want Glowing Skin and Hair? Eat Some Zinc!

Each year, millions of Americans buy products sold at the pharmacy promising clear skin and shiny hair – but did you know that you can improve the look of your skin and hair by simply eating healthy and delicious foods that contain the antioxidant zinc?

Zinc is believed to aid in the treatment and prevention of acne and help maintain healthy hair, so next time you’re headed out to buy a new pimple cream, open up your fridge and load up on zinc-heavy foods!

Zinc is thought to help heal acne blemishes, reduce inflammation caused by acne and reduce androgenic hormonal effects on skin that contribute to acne breakouts.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Dermatol in 1982, men and women with serious acne were found to have lower levels of serum zinc than healthy controls.

Dietary sources of zinc are best absorbed from animal sources, where it is not bound to phytates as in plant sources. The highest animal sources of zinc include organs such as kidney and liver, beef, lamb, oysters and scallops.

Plant foods such as pumpkin seeds and other nuts are also high in zinc, but are less bioavailable, as the zinc is bound to phytates if not properly prepared by soaking. To get the most zinc from your diet, include wild shellfish and organic meats in your diet and soak nuts/seeds before you eat.

Other vegetables that contain zinc include napa cabbage, Brussel sprouts, okra, peas, pumpkin, shiitake mushrooms, spinach and Swiss chard.

One cup of peas has 1.9 milligrams of zinc and lima beans have 1.75 milligrams of Zinc per cup. In addition to the calcium in dairy products, Zinc is hidden in there as well. You can get one milligram of zinc from milk, one cup of yogurt and 3 ounces of cheese.

If you already have perfectly glowing skin, eat zinc-rich foods for shiny hair. Making sure you consume the right amount of zinc leads to healthy hair and prevents shedding. The mineral promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair and functions in the maintenance of the oil-secreting glands attached to our hair follicles.

Walnuts, cashews, pecans and almonds are all excellent sources of zinc and work to condition hair. A serving of nuts contains between 1 to 2 milligrams of zinc, so take nuts with you to munch on in between meetings, after-school or while you’re running errands.

According to the National Institute of Health, adult women need 9 milligrams of Zinc per day and adult men need 11 milligrams to repair cell damage, heal wounds quickly and regulate the immune system.

Important for eye health, cognitive functions and supporting taste and smell sensitivity and believed to play a role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, influenza, the common cold and rheumatoid arthritis, Zinc is a micro-mineral that can help us all look and feel our best.

Robin DeCicco

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