Maintaining a head of beautiful, healthy hair can become a challenge. Between the blow drying, flat irons, chlorine, salt, chemicals from dyes, etc., hair can become dry, brittle and dull. Further, as we get older and go through hormonal changes, our hair changes. It changes in texture, color and thickness. Just as skin requires proper nutrition, so does your hair. And having healthy hair, means having a healthy diet. In particular, there are six nutrients that are especially helpful to keeping hair beautiful and healthy, throughout all stages of life.
- Folic Acid (B9): Helps to form red blood cells, which oxygenates the hair for healthy growth. Good whole food sources of folic acid include bananas, liver, strawberries, oranges, spinach and whole grains.
- Copper: Promotes hair color. Good whole food sources of copper include fish, liver, molasses, nuts, shellfish, and whole grains. You can also get copper from water transported in copper pipes or from cooking with copper cooking utensils. That said, I’d recommend focusing on the food sources most.
- Iron: Promotes hair growth through the production of keratins. Good whole food sources of iron include beans, fruit, whole grains, lean proteins such as chicken, fish and lean cuts of beef, and vegetables, especially leafy greens, such as spinach.
- Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3s help fight dry and brittle hair, hair loss, and a dry, flaky scalp. They help add luster, sheen and elasticity to hair. Natural whole food sources include fatty fish (such as salmon), flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds, soybeans and walnuts.
- Protein: Since hair is a protein, it is important in the growth and strength of your hair. Best sources of protein include beans, chicken, eggs, fish, quinoa, soy, lean beef and low-fat dairy.
- Zinc: Zinc is instrumental in keeping hair follicles healthy and helps with protein and enzyme synthesis for hair growth. Good whole food sources of zinc include eggs, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds and other protein rich foods.
Many multivitamins contain these nutrients, but as always, it is best to get nutrients from food sources. You probably are picking up on a theme too…some foods are rich in many healthful nutrients (beans, nuts, fruit and vegetables).
Have you seen changes to your hair as you’ve aged? Try eating more foods with these nutrients to see if it helps.