5 Great foods for healthier, fuller hair
Most of us are probably familiar with the well-known and proven fact that “healthy hair comes from within”, meaning that a balanced diet is a big factor in keeping hair healthy and shiny. The science behind it is actually quite simple, as I recently read in a very insightful article: “each hair strand is made up of cells that contain a tough protein called keratin and that they need to be constantly nourished with minerals and vitamins to stay strong and keep growing”.
But in our 40s, when our hair texture and density change so much, does this still hold true? If so, which are the best foods to help our thinning, more brittle, yet still much-loved tresses? To answer these questions, I went out on a hunt for the top-recommended foods that achieve the (ever so important!) objective of keeping my precious mane looking and feeling fabulous. During my research, I also found out that hair cells are the fastest-growing cells in the body. They are also the first ones to be affected if we don’t eat right because they are not required for survival (vs. other critical organs), which added motivation to my quest.
Based on this search, I have picked my favorite “powHAIRful foods”, listed below. I chose them based on their recipe versatility, seasonal availability and most importantly because I like them. This way I can increase the odds that they would actually make it into my weekly menus! Interestingly, after only 6 months, I have already started to see positive results after eating these foods more often.
Fruit or vegetable? Officially fruits, avocados top my list for their tastiness, creaminess and for providing around 20 vitamins and minerals. Among them, vitamin E and copper. Vitamin E improves the blood circulation and helps the follicles work more efficiently to promote hair growth while protecting the scalp from damage. Copper strengthens hair by increasing the elastin of the skin holding the hair follicle.
Spinach or other dark green leafy vegetables
Rich in iron, which is crucial to ensure enough oxygen supply to the hair follicles and promote hair growth. In addition, spinach is filled with vitamins A and C. Vitamin A helps the skin glands produce sebum, which keeps the scalp moisturized and conditions the hair. Vitamin C helps to protect the membranes of the hair follicles and to absorb iron.
An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have confirmed to increase hair shine and density, and to help prevent scalp dryness and itchiness. And remember to get wild… wild salmon that is. Farmed salmon should be avoided as much as possible!
Nuts and seeds
Delicious, convenient and containing numerous nutrients that aid hair to grow. My faves are:
Walnuts: full of healthy fatty acids, plant proteins, biotin, and vitamin E, which keep the hair supple, prevent breakage and give it a healthy-looking shimmer.
Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds: don’t be fooled by their size, these little pockets of crunch are filled with lots of zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, E and K, all of which can make our hair very happy, building a healthy hair shaft and protecting the scalp. The cherry on top: both contain relatively few calories!
Packed with protein (the main component of hair) and biotin, which are both essential nutrients for hair strength and growth. The protein content of eggs helps to increase hair follicles, making hair fuller and stronger. Biotin, a B-vitamin, helps hair growth and keeps the scalp healthy.
Last, but by no means least, the drink of choice: Water!
With or without gas, ice-cold or lukewarm, with natural add-ins like lemon or ginger or just plain. I keep varying the flavor theme for fun, but I always make sure to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses (around half a gallon or 2 liters) per day, as recommended. Water does your hair (and your body and skin too!) good. It hydrates the scalp and promotes good blood circulation so nutrients can reach the hair strands. To top it all, you get to carry everywhere your new beautiful designy water bottle!
One final tip
When you are at that special girl's lunch, dinner date, or fun party, remember to reach for some fabulous oysters. Oysters are of the best natural sources of zinc. Zinc helps to strengthen hair follicles and supports the hair repair cycle.
Do you also like some or all of these hair-helping foods? Can you think of any tasty recipes you could make with them?