You may have heard that beauty comes from within – and when it comes to hair, that’s most certainly true. I have recently written about tips & tricks to improve your hair’s health and appearance, and though those are wonderful tips I apply on a daily basis, eating a healthy and balanced diet is absolutely what made the most difference for me. Your hair can only be as healthy as you are, so I’ve put together a list of which foods and nutrients really help strengthen those tresses.
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin necessary to metabolize glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. It helps strengthen weak nails and hair, and also protect skin from fungal infections, acne and dryness; among other benefits. Common sources of biotin are eggs, almonds, cheese, yeast, avocado and whole grains.
Iron helps hair follicles to grow – low iron levels, known as anemia, can contribute to hair loss. Animal sources of iron, such as lean red meat, chicken and fish; are more easily absorbed by the body than vegetable sources, which are better absorbed when coupled with a source of vitamin-C (oranges, sweet potatoes, broccoli and blueberries). Vitamin-C not only boosts iron absorption in the body, it is also an antioxidant. Vegetable sources of iron include lentils, broccoli and leafy green vegetables.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fatty acids are acids our body needs for proper functioning, but cannot produce, making ingestion essential. Fatty acids contribute to hair growth and moisture, as well as a healthy scalp. A good source of fatty acids are fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel; and also flaxseeds, walnut, walnut oil and pumpkin seeds.
Protein is one of the building blocks of the human body, hair included, so ensuring that you’re getting enough in your diet is crucial. Chicken, fish and low or nonfat dairy products are excellent sources of lean protein – as are beans, lentils, legumes and nuts.
A mineral and trace element, Selenium is an antioxidant which aids in suppressing free radical damage, helping to prevent premature aging and weakened hair follicles. It is also found in large amounts in the thyroid gland, and so thought to help regulate hormones. Sources include Brazil nuts, walnuts, whole grains, beef liver, and certain types of fish.
Zinc is an essential mineral required to, among other things, proteins synthesis – that and its strengthening of hair follicles makes it crucial for healthy locks. It also helps boost the immune system, as does selenium. Foods high in zinc include oysters, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, mushrooms and beef.
In the end, having a healthy and diverse diet is key to making sure your body gets all that it needs to function properly, so make sure to get all of your 5 a day and enjoy yourself while you’re at it!