They are needed by the body to strengthen the skin and hair cells and improve metabolism.
IRON: Iron is especially important; because it helps cells carry oxygen to your skin and hair structure. If there is too little iron (anaemia) women particularly experience hair loss and sallow skin. The body does not absorb the kind of iron generally found in some vegetables and grains as efficiently as it does in case of animal sources of iron. Thus, vegetarians need to increase these allowances by 1.8 times.
Best food sources: Spinach, soy beans, tofu, liver, meat, and eggs
Recommended daily intake: For adults, the dosage is 8mg per day. Recommended daily intake for women will vary and depends on their menopausal or pregnancy status. The maximum intake limit from all sources is 45 mg per day.
ZINC: It is important for normal cell growth. Zinc deficiency weakens the cells, which can result in lesions on the skin. This nutrient also controls the oil production and reduces chances of ageing. Recommended daily intake for adult men is 11mg per day and for adult women it is 8mg per day.
Best food sources: Oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and oats.
Recommended daily intake: 1-2 ounces of oysters can make up for 100% of the daily requirement; vegetarians necessarily may need an oral supplement along with ¼ cup of pumpkin and sesame seeds.
SELENIUM: This nutrient is essential to maintain skin elasticity. One of the most important functions of selenium is as a component of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme necessary for the antioxidant function of glutathione. Glutathione is one of the major antioxidants in the body that protects against cellular damage from the free radicals that cause inflammation, ageing, and skin cancer. In fact, many scientists support the theory that selenium in the diet protects against skin cancer. Selenium also plays a significant role in acne severity.
Best food sources: Brazil nuts, shellfish, wheat bran.
Recommended daily intake: Just two Brazil nuts a day will give you the 200 micrograms necessary for an adequate intake.
FOLIC ACID: Folic acid plays an important role in repair of damaged hair and in healthy hair growth.
Best food sources: Nuts, soybean, or soymilk.
Recommended daily intake: 400–1000ug/day for adults.
COPPER: Copper is essential for the proper functioning of the body, including healthy hair growth. An inadequate intake of copper can cause hair loss and thinning hair. Copper is also believed to intensify hair colour and delay greying of hair.
Best food sources: Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, cremini mushrooms, black sesame seeds, and lobster.
Recommended daily intake: 2mg per day.
Some of the supplements that you can take on a daily basis to improve your total health and skin and hair are antioxidant pills, a good multivitamin, a fish oil capsule to get your dose of Omega-3, evening primrose oil, vitamin E, and calcium. After a week, if levels are low then add iron and vitamins D3 and B12 as well.
Don’t shy away from supplements because even if you follow a healthy diet, the quantity may not be enough for the necessary amount of essential minerals you may need in a day. A great diet plus some supplements are your secret to good skin and hair.
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