Beauty & Self Care Nurture Yourself

7 Nutrients You Need for Healthy Hair

By Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN

Healthy hair is more coveted than the perfect pair of jeans but sometimes more elusive than the perfect avocado.

While we don’t all hate the Pantene lady for being beautiful, we do have a little ounce of envy at what happens when she swings her mane around in slo mo.

Why? Because when we swing our dry, brittle, over-processed, or just generally damaged hair around, it kinda just stays in one place. And then we swing in the other direction to make sure it wasn’t just a directional fluke, but nope. Kinda just stays in place.

So what’s a girl to do to get those frazzled locks back to being commercial worthy? EAT!

As much as I love trying the latest beauty products and believe in many of them, my expertise is fixing us all from the inside out. So when it comes to sporting healthy hair, I always turn to my fork rather than the fancy stuff in a bottle.

The healthier you are on the inside, the healthier you’ll look on the outside. Your hair is no exception.

7 Nutrients You NEED for Healthy Hair:

B Vitamins: Go for quinoa oatmeal, brown rice, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, chicken and salmon. They contain the B vitamins niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, B6 and B12, which are responsible for strengthening hair follicles and increasing circulation to the skin.

They work to stimulate hair follicles to grow healthy hair. The complex of B vitamins is important because all of these vitamins work together. Researchers have shown that B vitamins play a role in a reduction in hair loss, a decrease in gray hair as well as longer, shinier hair.

Biotin: You don’t often find me telling you to eat liver, but it’s a very good source of biotin, which is also a B vitamin. Biotin gets special attention for its role in stimulating new cells and re-growing lost hair.

It’s still up in the air as to whether or not biotin supplementation, shampoo and hair products can do the same work as biotin in the diet, so make sure chow down on these great sources: nuts, eggs, Swiss chard, whole grains and halibut.

Zinc, Selenium and Iron: You’ll find zinc in oysters, red meat, shellfish and legumes. Selenium is abundant in butter (yes, a little organic grass fed butter is good for you!), garlic, whole grains and fish. And, iron you’ll find in dark greens, grass fed meat, sunflower seeds and even dark chocolate.

These minerals assist the body in repairing damaged hair and strengthening hair follicles. You need every strand you have, so eat foods rich in these minerals to keep your stylist in business.

Protein and omega 3s: You’ll find protein in nuts, seeds, legumes, meat and fish. Focus on fish when it comes to hair because you want both protein and omega-3s to help your hair and grow shiny.

Aside from adding these uber nutrient foods to your diet, if your hair is on the dry side, don’t wash it daily – 3 or 4 times a week is probably plenty. The oils on your scalp can revitalize the shine to your hair, so don’t go scrubbing them away with shampoo every day.

Also, limit heat based styling tools, such as blow driers and straightening irons (yes, ladies you can do this!) which can rob the hair of moisture.

If you need an immediate shine and repair for your otherwise lackluster mane, food comes to the rescue, yet again. Use one of these ingredients to add instant pizzazz. You can apply the below foods to just the dry parts of your hair, or your whole head.

  • Avocado
  • Argan oil
  • Beer
  • Moroccan oil
  • Olive oil

Nutrient deficiency shows in your hair not just your mood, friends. If your diet is somewhat lacking, a multivitamin may not be a bad choice to help make the most of your pony.

So there you have it. Healthy hair starts with what goes in your mouth. So the next time you’re having a bad hair day, make it a good food day.

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