Hair, Skin, Nails : Hair Do's

Nourishing Foods & Supplements

Eating well is as healthy for your hair as it is for your body. A balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein will give hair a healthy boost and keep your locks looking full, shiny, and gorgeous.

Protein is the building block of hair. Without enough protein, hair can become dull and brittle, so incorporate poultry, lean beef, fish, legumes, and nuts into your diet.

Since iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, choose plenty of iron-rich foods like whole grains, beans, turkey, and egg yolks. Eggs also contain biotin, a B vitamin that promotes hair growth and a healthy scalp. Almonds, salmon, and avocados are also sources of this biotin. A deficiency of zinc is linked to hair loss as well. Beef, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, cashews, quinoa, and turkey are all rich in zinc.

Silica is also linked to healthy hair, and foods containing silica help to make hair stronger and more durable. Oats, raisins, and bananas contain this important mineral.

Don't forget the veggies. Dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins A and C, which help produce sebum. The scalp produces this oil to protect and condition the hair.

Supplemental Support

Since it's difficult to obtain adequate amounts of all the nutrients we need for healthy hair (and overall health) from diet alone, incorporate a high-quality multivitamin/mineral supplement into a well-balanced diet. A multi will provide recommended daily amounts of the vitamins and minerals we need most and fill in any nutritional gaps from a less-than-perfect diet.

Consider an omega-3 supplement as well. Omega-3 fatty acids comprise about 3 percent of the hair shaft, and the body requires them for hair growth. Omega-3s are also found in the cell membranes in the skin of the scalp and in the oils that keep hair hydrated.

Gentle Practices & Plant-Based Products

When it comes to styling for healthy hair, less is more! Styling can be damaging to hair, so go natural. Wet hair is more vulnerable to damage and breakage, so use a wide-toothed comb to detangle dry hair before you get in the shower. Keep heat styling to a minimum, and when you do blow dry, use a low setting. Opt for looser styles whenever possible—keep braids and ponytails loose to avoid tension on the scalp.

Choose shampoos, conditioners, hair color, and styling products that contain gentle, nourishing ingredients. If a product contains more than two detergents, like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium lauryl sulfate, it could strip your hair. Look for hair care products containing natural botanicals that are free of harsh chemicals that can leave hair dull, dry, and brittle.

2014 Kristy Erickson


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