Is your diet helping or hurting your hair?
What you eat affects your physical state in every sense, and your hair is no exception. According to Ladies’ Home Journal, you need a mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to promote good scalp and hair health.
Here are six foods to help you get shiny, healthy hair:
Poultry & Beef
Since proteins are the building blocks of your hair, getting enough high-quality protein is essential to avoid weak, brittle hair. Chicken and turkey are excellent healthy options and if you don’t have high cholesterol, eating red meat twice a week can promote optimal hair health with B vitamins, iron and zinc.
Another great source of zinc, iron and B vitamins are complex carbohydrates that feed you energy over a longer period of time… and your scalp does need energy! Whole wheat bread, fortified whole grain cereals and brown, short grain rice are great options.
Fatty fish like salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and iron, making it one of the best foods for beauty benefits! According to the American Dietetic Association, these vitamins and minerals are essential to support scalp health. Not a fan of fish? You could try one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed!
Dark Green Vegetables
We all know that vegetables are good for us. And they’re good for our hair too! Greens like broccoli, spinach and Swiss chard not only provide you with vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, but they produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by your hair follicles – basically, the body’s natural hair conditioner! Adventurous? Try seaweed or a kelp supplement for your dose of iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, zinc, sodium and potassium.
Forget that old rhyme about beans and focus on the health benefits! Legumes like kidney beans and lentils provide protein, iron, zinc and biotin to promote hair growth.
For a great source of zinc (a deficiency of which can lead to shedding) try cashews, pecans, almonds and walnuts. The latter also includes alpha-linolenic, an omega-3 fatty acid, that can help to condition your hair! And did you know that brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp? Include some of these in yoghurt or cottage cheese at breakfast or lunch!
The key to good hair health is the same as overall body health – balance. If you consume too much of a vitamin or mineral, you may create problems with hair growth, so make sure you have a balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, omega-3 fatty acids and low-fat dairy to keep your hair looking its best.
And beware of crash diets with super low-calorie counts and a stressful lifestyle. If you lose a lot of weight quickly or have continued high stress, you may affect the hair cycle and increase shedding. Diets and stress are bad enough without hair loss!
Many salon brands are also aware of the benefits of these foods and include natural ingredients to heal hair from the outside in. Ask your stylists which products include the right natural ingredients for your type of hair in addition to a balanced diet to give it that extra boost.
So now you know what it takes to keep your hair naturally gorgeous. Now only if we didn’t continuously blow dry, curl and flat iron it. Hmm… I guess that’s what treatments are for!