Call it shallow, but the fact is most of us worry more about how we look than about our health. We spend money without hesitation on products that promises to make us ‘prettier’. But here’s the thing–our skin, hair, and overall health are determined by our inner well being. Pimples, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, brittle and lifeless hair or even low stamina, signifies that an individual is not fit from within. So, no matter how much money you spend on treating these problems, the solutions treat just the outer problems and can, at best, be temporary. These short term solutions do not guarantee overall health.
We should always remember the adage ‘beauty comes from within’. Truer words were never said! If you want to be beautiful on the outside, work on your health from the inside. One of the ways to get a healthier body is through sufficient intake of minerals—the oft neglected nutrients.
What are Minerals?
Minerals are the essential ‘spark plugs’ of the body that carry out important biological functions through enzyme reactions. They assist in the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes with the significant support from vitamins. They also maintain nerve conduction and pH balance, contraction and relaxation of muscles, structural support, and control tissue growth. In addition to maintaining a healthy functioning body, minerals also help to get gorgeous skin and hair!
Common Myth About Vitamins and Minerals:
Both vitamins and minerals are considered micro-nutrients, but they do differ in simple ways. Vitamins are organic compounds that can be broken down by acid, air or heat. They are required in small amounts in the diet as they cannot be synthesized by the body.
On the other hand, minerals are inorganic substances and we ingest them from the food that we eat and fluids that we drink. This means, that minerals can enter our body through the means of plants, animals, fish and fluids. They are fragile compounds that get inactivated during storage, cooking or even when exposed to air.
So, let us check out the top 10 minerals that are easy to find and consume to bring that drastic revolution in the overall look of your skin, hair and health.
Silica is an important trace mineral that fortifies our body’s tissues—skin, hair, fingernails, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. It is a building block of collagen that helps to keep skin supple. Its deficiency can result in reduced elasticity of skin and body’s ability to heal injuries. This mineral strengthens blood vessels and improves blood circulation, which further stimulates blood flow to the scalp and encourages hair growth. Silica is lost at a much greater rate when compared to some other minerals and so its intake must be regular. It is found in high amounts in bananas, fibrous part of grains and the skins of fruits and vegetables, green beans, cucumber, strawberries, mango, celery and asparagus.
Quantity needed daily: 5–14 mg
Iron is a component of several proteins and enzymes that maintain good health. The iron in hemoglobin transports oxygen in the bloodstream and maintains brain health. Iron helps our muscles store and use oxygen as it is found in myoglobin, a muscle protein. Deficiency of iron results in anemia, which causes fatigue, weakness, hair loss, loss of concentration, etc. Skin may become pale, itchy, or there could be split ends. Nails can become brittle and one may experience dry, brittle and dull hair. Iron also carries oxygen to hair and promotes rapid growth of hair. Sources of iron are spinach, red meat, egg yolks, legumes, whole grain, lentils, sprouts and dry fruits.
Quantity needed daily: 18 mg
Zinc is a very crucial mineral that is required to support immunity, enable proper growth, balance blood sugar levels and metabolic rate, and maintain the sense of vision, smell and taste. With respect to our skin, it has incredible benefits in curing and repairing damaged skin, healing injuries and wounds. It is also an antioxidant that protects us from harmful UV radiation. Zinc plays the role of a shield to protect skin from acne. It plays a pivotal role to control the production of natural oil (sebum) that skin produces and decrease the nightmares of having long-lasting scars. Deficiency of this mineral lead to hair loss (even of eye lashes) and can result in a dry and flaky scalp. Zinc is found in ample amount in pumpkin seeds, oats, eggs, ginger, lamb and oysters.
Quantity needed daily: 8 mg
The third abundant mineral found in human body, sulfur, is present in almost every cell, with its greatest concentration in skin, hair, and nails. Like zinc, deficiency of this mineral has negative impact on our skin. Sulfur has been used for years, to treat skin problems, prevent aging and to relieve pain. It works wonder to fight bacteria, minimize pores, and rapidly heal the damage caused by blemishes or scars. It plays an important role to further delay the onset of wrinkles by affecting the production of collagen in our skin. It is required for proper synthesis of enzymes and proteins, appropriate electron transport system of our body, conversion of vitamins and correct functioning of insulin. Sulfur is considered to be one of the building blocks of hair. It helps to maintain the elasticity, strength and overall health of hair. Best food sources of sulfur are chicken, garlic, onion, Brussels sprouts, fish, cabbage and broccoli.
Quantity needed daily: 800–900 mg
Are you losing sleep due to constant outbursts of acne? None of the OTC treatments seem to work? You might be facing a deficiency of selenium. This is an antioxidant mineral, which when paired with vitamin E (another antioxidant) helps to boost glutathione production in the body that potentially helps to decrease and control production of acne. It is responsible for tissue elasticity and prevents cell damage by free radicals. It is known to prevent skin cancer, as it can protect the skin from damages caused by excessive exposure to bad ultraviolet light. Selenium helps regulate immune system and thyroid functions. Selenium also aids in hair growth and to reduce dandruff. This lesser-known yet significant mineral is abundantly found in garlic, eggs, whole-wheat bread, eggs and seafood like tuna and salmon. Eating 2-3 Brazil nuts regularly helps to maintain your daily intake value of selenium.
Quantity needed daily: 55 mcg
We often associate calcium with bones and never try to know more about this amazing mineral. Well, calcium is definitely needed for strong bones, but it also works to keep the epidermis (top most layer of the skin) in good condition. A recent study has found that lack of calcium in the skin is one of the top reasons why the skin of elderly people is fragile and thinner when compared to younger adults. It is the most abundant mineral in the body. Over 99% of it helps to fortify teeth and bones, while the remaining goes toward blood hormone secretion, vessel and muscle function, and cell communication. Imbalance of calcium can impact the growth of healthy hair. Dairy products like milk and, yogurt contain the highest amounts of naturally occurring calcium. Dark, leafy greens are another natural source of calcium, which can also be found in fortified fruits.
Quantity needed daily: 1,000 mg
Another useful yet ignored mineral, magnesium, is used by our body in more than 300 biochemical reactions. These include keeping bones strong, maintaining muscle and nerve function, and keeping heart rhythm steady. It is anti-allergic and detoxifies the epidermis and cleanses the skin. It helps to combat outbursts of pimples and acne. Many researches have shown that deficiency of magnesium affects hair growth and leads to hair fall. It keeps the hair follicles and strands strong. Wheat bran has the highest amount of magnesium per serving, apart from other sources like cashews, almond and spinach.
Quantity needed daily: 320 mg
Copper has several health benefits and is essential for proper growth of the body. It helps to utilize iron in the body and helps to alleviate arthritis as it has anti-carcinogenic properties. It is significant for the proper functioning of thyroid glands and to balance hormonal levels. Copper peptides help eliminate blemishes and scars, reduce wrinkles, boost collagen, tighten loose skin and its regeneration and manage the elasticity of skin. Copper peptides are used in hair transplants procedures. As it has healing properties, it promotes growth in transplanted hair and reduces scars. It is used in scalp treatments and also in hair tonics. It prevents graying of hair as they assist in the production of melanin pigment. Copper is found in cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, jack-fruit, sweet potato, mango and raisins.
Quantity needed daily: 900 mcg
Potassium is one of the main blood minerals called “electrolytes”. It maintains the electrolyte balance in body’s cells. It manages blood pressure and aids in proper functioning of the heart. It assists the nervous system, helps muscles to contract, releases energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during the metabolic process, aid in the waste removal process, enhance muscle control, and the growth and health of your cells. Potassium helps to maintain skin’s moisture levels. Regular intake of this mineral in required quantity will reduce hair fall. Sources of potassium are potatoes, bananas, cooked spinach, oranges and apricots.
Quantity needed daily: 4700 mg
Manganese is an essential trace mineral and the human body contains about 12-20 mg of manganese (200 times less than iron). It is stored mainly in the bones, kidneys and liver. It helps in the formation of connective tissue. It enables the body to utilize vitamin B1, C, biotin and choline. With regards to the health of our skin, manganese is needed to build collagen and also for energy production. It helps to have a high bone density. Deficiencies of this important mineral may result in slow wound healing, impaired growth and other skin problems, loss of hair color or reduced hair growth. Manganese can be found in walnuts, almonds, tea, coffee, brown rice, eggs, spices, whole grains, leafy greens and liver.
Quantity needed daily: 3–6 mg
Just normal intake of food will not fulfill all of your body’s mineral requirements. Keep a proper check on the intake of the required minerals, to look spectacular and to feel healthy. Instead of trying toxic, artificial products, try including natural sources of these minerals in your diet. Don’t forget to tell us which mineral usage has benefited you. Drop a word in the comments section below.