Expensive hair products may be at the top of your grocery list if you’re battling thin, frizzy, brittle or just plain unhealthy hair. Well, it’s time to stop scouring the store shelves and relying solely on top-of-the-line shampoos and conditioners. Now you can take your hair’s health into your own hands – or your own plate.
Ever heard of “you are what you eat”? This saying is absolutely true when it comes to your body’s overall health, including your hair. “If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body – inside and out,” explains dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner.
Yes, this includes healthier cells among your hair follicles and scalp. Of course, just eating all your broccoli isn’t going to magically morph naturally thin hair into some thick gorgeous ‘do, but staying loyal to a smart diet daily will offer a supply of essential nutrients that will lend a helping hand in the fight against unhealthy hair.
So, how do you go about making sure you’re getting a proper diet for healthy hair? Well, one step to take is to make sure that you’re getting enough protein every day. After all, hair is made mainly out of protein, so it would make sense to get enough of it. Do keep in mind that fragile or easy-breaking hair can result if you’re only consuming protein of low quality. Instead, look to beef, chicken, turkey and even eggs and dairy foods that are low in fat, like yogurt.
One protein-based food you can eat for the sake of those luscious locks is salmon. Yes, this is definitely something you’ll want to include in a weekly regimen. In fact, the American Heart Association advises that you consume at least two or more servings of fish every week. This is mainly thanks to its high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are wonderful for skin, nails and hair! According to dietitian Andrea Giancoli, “Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health. A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look.”
Veggies and Fruits
As a kid, you may not have always eaten all your vegetables, but today you want to be sure you’re getting adequate amounts of green leafy veggies in your diet. Broccoli, spinach kale, and Swiss chard offer essential nutrients such as vitamin A. Also known as beta-carotene, vitamin A is significant for healthy hair, because it is a natural compound that carries out a vast array of bodily tasks, including stimulating hair growth and maintaining healthy hair.
Another group of foods you’ll want to include in your diet is your daily batch of fruits. Strawberries, guava, oranges and grapefruits are particularly excellent, as they are naturally rich in good ol’ vitamin C. Yes, this is a vitamin that you’ve probably heard praised for being an immune system booster, but it’s also wonderful for your hair. This is because the protein called collagen is produced by none other than vitamin C. Collagen is required for hair follicles to maintain their health and strength, and it’s also needed for the production of more hair.
Beans and Legumes
Two other groups of foods you want to include on your “healthy hair list” are legumes, such as beans, lentils and nuts. Legumes offer generous amounts of zinc, biotin and iron, all of which are necessary for beautiful hair. Nuts including walnuts, almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts are also helpful. That being said, Brazil nuts are one of the top dogs – or in this case, one of the top nuts – when it comes to hair, as they are one of Mother Nature’s ways of obtaining a mineral called selenium, which is significant for scalp health, and therefore hair health.
B vitamins are also rich in legumes and beans. This group of vitamins is excellent for a head full of luminous tresses. While each B vitamin performs its own set of jobs for your body, some examples of individual vitamins include biotin (vitamin B 7). According to Mayo Clinic, deficiency of B 7 may lead to health problems such as balding. Then there is vitamin Bh – also referred to as inositol – a nutrient with strong antioxidant properties that work to protect your hair follicles from damage.
The Bottom Line
At first, it may seem impossible to win the battle against easy breakage, brittle strands, frizzy ‘dos or all of the above. But with time, patience and a smart eating plan, you can achieve the goal of luscious, healthy hair. Remember, you are what you eat.