There are several factors that impact the health of your hair: age, hormones, genetics and daily diet.
The nourishment you receive from food each day will impact how you age, the balance of your hormones and can even keep genetic markers predisposing you to certain age-related or health challenges turned off.
Each strand of hair is made up of cells containing protein. This protein is called keratin and the amino acids found in the keratin need plenty of vitamins and minerals along with healthy blood circulation to thrive.
If you want strong, shiny and healthy hair be sure to consume the following foods:
- Animal proteins such as: fish, chicken, turkey, eggs and vegetarian sources such as: legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds will keep your hair strong and growing at a healthy rate. Without enough protein in the diet, hair can become weak, dry and more prone to breakage.
- Citrus fruits high in vitamin C such as: lemons, grapefruits, oranges, blueberries and strawberries promote hair growth and support the body in absorbing iron which is essential for a healthy head of hair.
- Iron-rich foods including lentils, broccoli and dark, leafy greens like kale or spinach will help the hair stay strong.
- Omega-3 fats will keep the scalp and hair follicles hydrated and lush. Excellent sources include: salmon, sardines, anchovies, avocados, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.
- Vitamin A dense options like pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots will condition and nourish the scalp.
- High copper foods such as shiitake mushrooms or spirulina will help hair to retain its natural color and slow premature dulling or graying.
- Circulation boosting spices like cinnamon and cayenne pepper will get blood flowing to the scalp.
The foods and beverages listed below should be avoided whenever possible or kept to a minimum:
- Fish high in mercury such as: swordfish, mackerel and tuna can lead to hair loss.
- Diet soda contributes to thinning and loss of hair.
- Refined sugar and starchy grains will prevent the absorption of protein which is essential to keeping hair strong.
- Alcohol will dehydrate your hair which can lead to unwanted breakage and thinning. Also, it prevents the body from absorbing zinc, a very important mineral for your hair.
Keep in mind that the health of your hair is reflective of your internal landscape. As the adage goes, you are what you eat. Just like the rest of your body, the hair responds favorably to a whole-foods diet that is rich in nutrients and one that is low in processed, convenience foods.