Wellness Wednesday: Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair
As an overall marker of great health, women (and men!) spend a fortune on products and procedures for luscious looking locks. What often gets overlooked is the correlation between what goes in your body and what grows on your head. By providing your body with proper nutrients, one can go from dull, breaking, lackluster hair, to beautiful, bombshell strands the natural way. Start filling your diet with the following vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your healthiest head of hair.
Necessary for overall hair health, omega-3s can’t be made by the body and must be obtained through food. Known to reduce inflammation, they promote hair growth and have gained attention for their ability to combat dry hair, flaky scalp and hair loss. Bonus: Omegas add luster, sheen and elasticity! Fill up on wild salmon for the highest level of this nutrient. Not a fish fan? Try adding chia seeds or flax seed to your diet. These ground seeds can be sprinkled on oatmeal or added to your morning smoothie. A quarter cup of walnuts added to your seeds brings you close to the recommended daily dose of four grams.
Did you know hair is approximately 97% protein and 3% water? Not surprising, protein is the building block for healthy locks. Without this nutrient, your body can’t replace hairs that are naturally shed and leaves you with brittle and weak hair. We all know lean meats are a great source of protein, but what about vegetarians? Add an egg or handful of almonds to your morning snack for a great source of protein and other hair-healthy minerals. Vegans can also enjoy quinoa or beans with over seven grams of protein per cup. Mix with your favorite veggies or add to soups and stews.
Vitamin A & C
While protein often takes center stage, for proper hair nourishment, don’t forget your vitamins! With antioxidant properties that protect locks from free radicals, vitamin A also works hard to produce sebum for luminous shine. Find your daily dose in carrots and sweet potatoes. Tip: Season chopped sweet potatoes and throw them in the oven for a healthy alternative to french fries. Another hard worker, vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports blood vessels that feed hair follicles. Make a tropical smoothie with guavas and cantaloupe for your vitamin C fill or add red peppers to a stir fry for a solid dose.
Tired of a brush and shower drain full of hair? Try increasing your zinc intake to help prevent excess shedding. Needed daily in small doses, inadequate amounts of this mineral can lead to general hair loss in addition to a dry, flaky scalp. Pack a powerful zinc punch with oysters, crab and other seafood. Depending on type and variety, oysters can provide over 450% of the daily recommended value in just three ounces. Vegetarians can get their zinc fill with bran flakes and other fortified cereals or a handful of cashews.
Known for its role in the health and beauty of hair, biotin promotes hair growth and increases the elasticity of the hair’s cortex to help prevent breakage. While many take biotin in the form of supplements, you can get your day’s worth through a variety of foods. A top biotin producing food, swiss chard is great for salads and provides antioxidants for a balanced diet. Walnuts prove to be a great snack yet again as they are rich in this vitamin and copper to keep your natural hair color lustrous. Other biotin superstars include carrots and eggs.