All too often many of us expect a miracle in a bottle when we plunk down our $10, $20 (or even more) for the latest hair products that claim to be able to work wonders, if not miracles, for the condition of our hair. Just how effective any of these products are is highly debatable. What is not so unclear though is the fact that healthy hair actually begins on the inside and that as it is a part of the body like any other your diet can make a definite difference to the overall condition of your hair.
In general maintaining a healthier diet will manifest itself in your hair as it will the rest of your body, but there are certainly some healthy foods that are certainly prime candidates to be considered super foods for your hair:
Salmon – Salmon has been getting a bad rap for some years now. While no one doubts all of its health benefits, especially the generous amounts of the essential antioxidant Omega 3 fatty acids it contains, there have been concerns over the amounts of mercury it might contain, thanks to environmental pollution issues.
However, salmon is actually on the ‘very very low’ end of the scale in this respect. Current scientific evidence supports the weekly consumption of all of the oily fish species as the health benefits far outweigh the risks from trace amounts of a metal that are far too low to cause health issues. Salmon is especially good for the hair though because of all of those Omega 3s. Your body needs them to perform many of its processes, including growing hair, and yet it cannot produce them itself. And hey, a salmon dinner is delicious and relatively low in calories to boot, so what’s not to love?
Chicken - Yes, your go to dinner staple is not only tasty and lower in fat than most meats but it can also give your hair a boost as well. A lean cut of chicken is packed full of B vitamins, iron and zinc, which helps hair grow and helps make sure that the oil glands at the scalp are working correctly.
Dark Leafy Greens – Dark leafy greens, especially spinach, offer plenty of health benefits in general (yep, Popeye knew what he was doing all right) and in the case of your hair the high levels of vitamins A and C help stimulate the production of sebum at the scalp level, something that is essential for healthy hair growth and yet can actually be stripped away to an excessive level by some of the harsher shampoos on the market today.
Walnuts – Walnuts are the only form of nut that naturally contain those all-important Omega 3s but that is not the only benefit they offer for hair. They are also particularly rich in biotin and vitamin E which helps protect cells from free radical damage, something that is especially important for hair as it really is rarely properly protected from the elements. Finally, they also contain copper which can help keep your natural hair color brighter and a little more vibrant, staving off some of those pesky grays we all fear.
Lentils – OK, so lentils are not considered to be the most exciting of foods but they certainly have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits, especially when it comes to hair health. Lentils contain zinc, biotin (read more about biotin for hair here) and iron-rich protein, all crucial for strong and healthy locks. Not sure how to add them to your diet? Lentil soup is a warming treat that is very tasty and lentil burgers are far more flavorful than you might imagine as well.
Greek Yogurt – Not only is Greek yogurt exceptionally yummy but it is also great for your hair. Even if you opt for the low fat version to save on fat calories you will still gain a healthy hair boost thanks to the levels of protein and of vitamin B5 aka pantothenic acid, an ‘ingredient’ you see on haircare product labels all the time.
Oysters – Usually considered to be a bit of a luxury if you can get your hands on them once in a while oysters can not only potentially boost your love life but your hair loves them as well. They are one of the richest sources of zinc you can find and a low level of zinc in the body can lead to slower hair growth or even hair loss.
A Super Smoothie – Healthy smoothies are all the rage right now and the best of them offer a tastier way to get all the nutrients you need. To create a hair health smoothie combine a handful of strawberries, a handful of spinach, a cup of almond milk and a container of Greek yogurt together in a blender, blend well and then serve over ice.
Elena has been an advocate for hair health for a number of years now, whether that involves the foods we eat or the products we use on our hair. As a part of her work she runs a site that advocate for healthy hair practices.