Let me start this post off by saying that healthy hair is much more than the foods we eat. Although our diet plays a significant factor, things such as smoking, hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep, stress and prescription drugs can all affect our scalp and hair health. These factors must be addressed first before we turn to our attention to our diet.
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In a nutshell, hair quality and quantity depends on a completely holistic approach.
All of the cells in our body are affected by what we eat and our hair is no different. For mermaid-like hair (which I define as long, thick, strong and shiny) we need to show it some love through a balanced, varied, protein-rich diet which includes the following foods:
- Cold-water fish such as salmon, herring and sardines. They are protein-rich, full of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids which our body requires to grow hair out.
- Nuts and seeds of all kinds but especially walnuts. They are the richest in omega 3s, also rich in biotin and vitamin E both of which protects our hair from damage. Too little biotin in the diet can lead to hair loss. Aside from including raw nuts and seeds into your diet you can try adding walnut oil to your salads.
- Eat your orange veggies such as sweet potatoes and carrots. They are full of antioxidants including beta carotene which our body turns into vitamin A. All of our cells require vitamin A to function optimally.
- Pumpkin seeds. They are fantastic source of zinc. A deficiency of this important mineral leads to hair loss.
- Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a rich source of protein, iron, vitamin D, biotin and vitamin B12. Iron is important and necessary to carry oxygen to hair follicles. Too little iron is a major contributor to hair loss.
- Spinach and all dark leafy greens for that matter. This includes kale, chard, collards & arugula. Spinach is rich in iron and beta carotene.
- Plant based sources of protein such as lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. Remember that hair is made up of primarily protein, it's important for healthy hair and promotes growth. Protein will help to increase the thickness and length of your hair.
- Poultry contains protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins needed to keep hair strong and plentiful.
- Blueberries are a significant source of vitamin C which is a critical component for circulation to the scalp. A healthy scalp is needed for soft and supple hair. Too little vitamin C can lead to hair breakage.
- Hydration is necessary for the health and integrity of skin cells and our scalp. Aim for 2-3 L each and everyday.
A wide array of vitamins and minerals are needed for proper functioning from minimally processed vegetables - organic, when possible. This provides us with the most nutrients. Aim for 6-8 servings of vegetables each and everyday. Juicing can help boost your nutrient intake.
When it comes to shine, ground flax seeds and walnuts are your friend. Add 2 tbsp of each to your diet. I like to add ground flaxseed to my oatmeal, cereal, salads, stir-frys and pastas.
Oddly enough many of these foods are also a great way to keep acne at bay. Ensure you're getting enough of these glow-enhancing foods for skin and hair health. It can take up to 6 weeks for to notice a difference in your hair and scalp.
Lastly, consider your hair care products. Be sure you're using natural, non-damaging products on your hair and scalp. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my go to for healthy skin and hair is Living Libations.
Build good hair from the inside out!