The old adage, "you are what you eat" is hardly more true than when it comes to natural beauty. There's almost nothing better to support a great head of hair than a healthy body fueled by excellent nutrition. Eating a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables usually does the trick, but you can take your commitment to healthy hair one step further by making sure to include some hair super-foods in your regular menu.
It's hard to overdo it on healthy food, but vitamin supplements are another story. It's possible to have too much of a good thing, so before you add supplements of any kind to your diet, be sure to consult a doctor or a nutritionist.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel. This particular fatty acid is essential to healthy hair, as the hair shaft is comprised of about 3% Omega-3. Since your body does not produce these kind of fatty acids on its own, it's important to include them in your diet. A lack of fatty acids could result in slow or low quality hair growth. If seafood isn't your cup of tea, don't worry. There are some great plant-based sources for Omega-3 as well, including walnuts, flax seeds, and soybeans.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin essential to the health of skin and hair. Luckily, Biotin is found in abundance in a variety of everyday foods including eggs, peanuts, almonds. whole wheat, and avocados. Since your body can usually create Biotin easily, adding foods rich in the vitamin is a great way to make sure you have enough to keep your hair and skin healthy.
A building block of your hair and skin cells, protein is a necessary key to growing healthy hair. Keratin, which gives your hair its structure, depends on an ample supply of protein. Iron also plays a major role in hair health, and is often found in the same sources as protein. Good sources of iron-rich protein include shellfish, lean meats, poultry and eggs. There are also several vegetarian sources of protein including lentils, tofu, tempeh, beans, and legumes. Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, chard, and spinach, can provide additional iron and protein, and are best absorbed when eaten alongside foods rich in Vitamin C.
In addition to helping your body absorb iron, Vitamin C also helps distribute oxygen to your cells, and build collagen. Collagen is an important structural fiber that your body uses to strengthen your hair. Luckily, Vitamin C is abundant in a huge variety of really delicious foods. Bell peppers, citrus, kiwi, berries, melon, and pineapple are some great examples of Vitamin C rich foods that can be enjoyed raw alone, or in salads. Vitamin C can also be found in green vegetables such as kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Another vitamin necessary to healthy cell growth, Vitamin A is found in mostly orange foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash. You'll also find this hair healthy vitamin hiding in red and green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, kale, and asparagus. While the right amount of Vitamin A is crucial to healthy hair, too much can actually cause hair loss. Often the best (ans tastiest) way to get the right amount of Vitamin A is through salads instead of supplements.
Vitamins B6, B12, and Folate are essential to building strong hair. A deficiency in any of these B Vitamins can cause your hair to grow slowly, or to have a weak or brittle texture. For B6, look to whole grains such as oats, barley and brown rice. B6 can also be found in nuts, seeds, and fish. Seafood, particularly shellfish, is also high in B12. Tofu, eggs, and dairy products are also rich in B12. As for Folate, this can be found in orange juice, beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens.
In addition to supporting hair growth, zinc helps play a part in conditioning your hair and balancing its natural moisture. Getting enough of this happy hair mineral can help keep scalp troubles like dandruff at bay. Shellfish, red meat, wheat germ, and spinach are a few good sources of Zinc. Cashews and pumpkin seeds are another great way to add Zinc to your diet.
Go-To Recipes for Healthy Hair
Eating for healthy hair can be quite delicious. Adding salads packed with leafy greens is a great first step, since they can include so many helpful ingredients at once. For more recipe inspiration, check out the following links.
- Grilled Tofu Arugala Salad with Grapefruit & Avocado | Food Fetish
- Roasted Kale & Chickpea Salad | Mary Makes Dinner
- Parmesan & Almond Roasted Brussels Sprouts | Local Savour
- Zucchini Hummus | Stetted
- Sweet Potato Hash With Fried Eggs | Nom Nom Paleo
- Shrimp & Asparagus Stir Fry with Lemon Sauce | Home Cooking Memories
- Healthy Hair Smootie | Hello Natural