Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair
Want To Have Healthy and Beautiful Hair? Start Eating These Foods!
The foundation of any great hairdo is - well, your hair! Whether you’re dying to dye your hair that cuivre red or trying out the latest in-style braids, you need a solid foundation to build your look on. You need hair that is strong, full, and shiny: you need your natural, luxurious hair to be at its best so you can shine.
There are a ton of factors that go into what kind of hair we have naturally and many of them are beyond our control. Genetics will dictate not just the color and texture of your hair, but also your predisposition to hair loss. Age obviously affects our hair, whether through thinning or greying. Environmental factors can impact your hair’s health, too - poor air quality isn’t just bad for breathing! We can’t really control most of those, unless you’re secretly a super-advanced biogeneticist with the Fountain of Youth in the backyard of your biodome filled with air filtered of 100% of pollutants. (If you are, please call me so I can come live with you.)
Our hair is also affected by our diet, and that’s one place where we do have the ability to take charge of our own hair destiny. So get ready to take notes, class! I’ve collected a selection of facts and foods to help you eat your way to a healthier head of hair.
BUILDING BLOCKS FOR HEALTHY HAIR
The building blocks for healthy hair are protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and a series of vitamins, including biotin; each of these elements is critical to promoting healthy hair growth, from maintaining scalp health to building each strand of hair.
Our hair is mostly made up of protein, so having adequate levels of protein in your diet is important to ensure your hair keeps growing. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your scalp in peak condition and contribute to the natural oils your body produces to ensure your hair and scalp stay hydrated. Iron is a key component in building those hair proteins and providing your body with sufficient oxygen via your bloodstream - including your scalp, preventing hair loss from anemia. Vitamin B7, or biotin, is important in the health of not just your hair, but your skin and nails as well. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, also contributes to hair growth while vitamin C is vital to your body's circulation - including to the scalp and in feeding your hair follicles to keep hair healthy and strong. Vitamin A is involved in the production of sebum which helps condition the scalp, and zinc also protects the scalp.
Your body gets most all the protein and omega-3 fatty acids and various vitamins and minerals from the food that you consume. There are specific foods you can eat that are high in these elements, allowing you to promote healthy hair growth through your diet: let’s learn how to be alchemists, changing delicious food into healthy hair rather than lead into gold. (C’mon, it’s basically the same thing.)
FOODS TO IMPROVE HAIR HEALTH
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to our overall body function - and that includes promoting healthy hair! When choosing what to eat, try to stick with as many healthful, less processed foods as you can. It also helps to avoid greasy foods, since extra grease can clog your pores and increase the likelihood of hair loss.
Animal protein is obviously high in protein; food such as red meat is also high in iron. Seafood like oysters, crab, and lobster are loaded with zinc while shrimp also has a lot of B vitamins. Salmon is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Lentils are another fantastic source of protein, along with iron, zinc, and biotin - beans are as well, actually. Spinach and bok choy will give you iron for days, while chickpeas will give you a ton of B9. Sweet potatoes provide beta-carotene (also helps in sebum production) and sweet peppers give you lots of vitamin C (I know sweet peppers are technically a fruit, but bear with me here).
Berries are great for a sweet treat - and for giving you a whole host of vitamins and antioxidants, so chow down on strawberries and blueberries and raspberries. Tangerines and guava and other fruits high in vitamin C are great, too. Avocados are full of biotin, too.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are baby plants, right, so perhaps it's not surprising that they're chock full of nutrients as well! Almonds (including almond butter) will give you healthy fats with protein and vitamin E. Sunflower seeds will also give you vitamin E. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well in case you don't want to eat salmon.
Enjoy some oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast for a heap of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron!
You can also eat eggs for protein and biotin, cinnamon to improve circulation to your hair follicles, and Greek yogurt for everything - and vitamin B5.
Hungry yet? Good! These foods are delicious and nutritious, making eating your way to healthier hair a pleasant prospect. Are there other foods you like to eat for shiny, strong hair? Share them in the comments to help your community on their way to hair that looks and feels great.