Little ‘ol zinc is perhaps the most important mineral for healthy glowing skin.
There is so much to say about zinc – where to start?
Zinc is antibacterial and antimicrobial (killing infections on the skins surface), aids tissue healing (great for the scars that acne leaves behind,) regulates oil production (preventing pores from getting clogged) and reduces inflammation and redness. It also ensures the proper metabolism of testosterone, the main hormone involved in increased sebum production and acne formation. Whew! And that’s not all…..
By releasing and transporting vitamin A stores from the liver, zinc helps carry this other incredible acne-fighting vitamin to the skin for reduced inflammation and skin repair (more on the importance of vitamin A for clear skin in my next post….)
Zinc also facilitates ‘cell apoptosis’, which refers to cell turnover (old cells on the surface of the skin die and flake off, as new ones grow) which is a natural part of skin renewal. If this didn’t occur, cells would stick together and clog pores.
Wondering if you’re getting enough zinc in your diet?
Here are the main signs of deficiency
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Frequent colds/infections
- Slow wound healing
- Mental disturbances (such as memory loss, trouble concentrating, etc.)
- Loss of sense of taste and/or smell
- Weak or brittle nails
- White spots on nails
Pumpkin seeds and oysters are by far the highest food sources of zinc.
Other zinc rich foods include dark chocolate (yessss!), garlic, chickpeas, whole grains, sunflower seeds, fish, eggs, walnuts, sesame seeds/tahini, lentils, pecans and quinoa. Soaking beans before cooking and nuts and seeds before eating them helps to make the zinc more bioavailable and easy to absorb (but don’t drink the water – it contains harmful compounds and should be dumped.)