Healthy Hair from the Inside Out

Nutrition for hair health

When it comes to ageless beauty, hair health is a huge factor. Healthy, shiny hair will work wonders to keep you feeling young and well. In our previous post, we gave you some DIY tips on treating hair from the outside-in using common ingredients from your kitchen. Today, we discuss other ways that healthy foods can improve the look and feel of your hair, this time from the inside-out.

Nutritional Deficiencies

One of the leading causes for hair loss or thinning hair is nutritional deficiencies. Here are a few of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can cause hair to thin or fall out:

Iron

The world’s most common nutritional deficiency is also a well-known cause of hair loss. This is because of the important role iron plays in cell division and the synthesis of DNA. The average adult male should be consuming 8 milligrams per day while women should consume up to 18 milligrams per day to compensate for menstrual losses. Here are some foods that contain high levels of iron:

  • Shellfish – particularly clams, mussels, and oysters
  • Spinach
  • Organ meats like liver, kidney, and heart
  • Legumes
  • Red meat
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Turkey
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Dark chocolate

Zinc

Zinc deficiency may be caused by a variety of factors in addition to poor diet. Some genetic disorders and digestive conditions can inhibit the absorption of zinc. Vegetarian diets may also result in low levels of zinc. Since this mineral is vital to cell division and protein synthesis within cells, zinc deficiency can greatly diminish hair health and contribute to hair loss. Here are some foods you can eat to boost your intake of zinc:

  • Meat, meat, and more meat – (Although all meats contain zinc, red meats contain the highest levels.)
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes (with skin on)
  • Dark chocolate

Proteins and Amino Acids

Considering that hair is made up mostly of protein, it’s not surprising that a deficiency in protein (a macronutrient that is broken down into amino acids) could lead to hair loss. Many of the foods that contain iron and zinc also contain protein and amino acids:

  • Lean red meat
  • Poultry and seafood
  • Eggs and dairy
  • Quinoa
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Legumes

Antioxidants

Oxidative stress is a major contributor to age-related hair loss. Deficiencies in antioxidants like Vitamins A, E, and C have been linked to increased levels of free radicals and oxidative stress in the skin, scalp, and hair follicles. Eating some of the following antioxidant-rich foods could neutralize free radicals throughout the body and reduce oxidative stress:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Pecans
  • Berries, especially blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Spinach

Other Foods for Hair Health

Besides the nutrients named above, hair health and growth also depend on an overall well-rounded, balanced diet with a wide variety of healthy foods. If you consume a variety of natural, nutritious foods each day, your skin and hair will reflect it. Here are foods to eat whenever possible to promote the growth of thick, shiny hair:

  • Raw, unprocessed dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Fatty fish
  • Citrus fruits
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Carrots
  • Avocados
  • Berries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oysters
  • Red meat

In addition to helping with hair and skin health, a nutritious diet provides benefits for your well-being. Read more about what good nutrition will do for your body:

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By | 2018-07-06T10:57:06+00:00 July 6th, 2018|Nutrition, Beauty|

About the Author:

Jaclyn is a writer for LivingClean.com

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