Iron and Zinc
According to Cleveland Clinic dermatologist, Wilma Bergfeld, MD, eating foods with iron and zinc can aid in the growth of hair follicles. Zinc also helps the hair follicle oil gland function well. Not having enough iron and zinc in your diet can increase the risk of hair loss, dandruff, and slow growing hair. To get more of these minerals in your diet include foods such as lean cuts of red meat, soybeans, lentils, shellfish like crab, lobster, clams, and oysters, fortified cereals and pastas, and dark leafy green vegetables. If you are getting your iron from plant sources, be sure to eat foods with vitamin C at the same time to help with the body being able to absorb the iron.
Protein keeps hair strong as well as aiding in growth and damage repair. A lack of protein in the diet can cause new hairs to stop growing and as you lose older hairs with no new ones to replace it, the results are hair loss. Keratin is the hardened proteins that give hair its structure. Without enough protein to form keratin, hair is slow to grow and becomes weak. Good protein sources include lean meats such as chicken and turkey, soybeans, black-eyed peas, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy products, and tofu.
Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet for healthy hair help keep it hydrated and aid in growth for maintaining shiny vibrant hair. Good sources for omega-3 include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, flounder, halibut and mackerel. Or if you are just not wild about fish you can get your omega-3 the way the fish do – from algae. AFA blue green algae is a very rich source of essential fatty acids, including DHA and EPA needed for healthy hair. Ever wonder why salons do seaweed wraps? It's because it has so many of the nutrients needed for healthy hair. You can give yourself a seaweed wrap from the inside with this full spectrum algae product that combines 9 colorful algae including dulse, kelp, fucoidan, Ecklonia cava, bladderwrack, Dunaliella salina, spirulina, chlorella and wild AFA bluegreen algae. Kelp from the oceans is a rich source of micronutrients and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, boron that also provides vitamins C and E. Bladderwrack is a brown algae from the ocean rich in vitamins and minerals and contains fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide. Dulse is a dark red sea algae rich in phytonutrients and pigments, high in plant-based protein, and that contains important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B6, B12, and A, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese. Dunaliella salina is sea microalgae with a high content of carotenoids (beta-carotene, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein), antioxidants, and important vitamins. Eckonia cava Kjellman is an edible seaweed that is a rich source of bioactive deritavatives such as phlorotannins, including triphlorethol-A which is a strong antioxidant.
Among the vitamins needed for healthy hair are B vitamins such as B7 or biotin, B5 or pantothenic acid, folate, B6, and B12. These help not only with hair growth but also in keeping the scalp and hair follicles healthy. Foods to get more of these type B vitamins into your diet include eggs, peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, and avocados for biotin, Greek yogurt for pantothenic acid, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale for folate, pork, salmon, shellfish, beans, chicken, oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, fat-free and low-fat dairy foods for folate, B6 and B12. To have strong healthy hair, make sure your diet also includes vitamins C and A. Vitamin C not only helps the body absorb iron your hair needs, but also is good for collagen production that hair and skin both need to grow. Vitamin C helps keep hair from getting brittle and splitting too. Bell peppers of the red, yellow or green varieties are good for vitamin C as is guava, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes also give you the vitamin A hair needs to stay healthy from the antioxidant beta-carotene. Vitamin A helps scalp glands produce sebum to keep hair hydrated and vibrant, aids in hair growth, and helps keep the scalp hydrated to prevent dandruff. Good food sources for vitamin A include dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes, butternut squash, and asparagus. It is recommended that you get your vitamin A from beta-carotene foods because too much vitamin A can actually result in loss of hair.
Now you know what foods to include if you're looking for a diet for healthy hair. Remember, strong, vibrant healthy hair has to start from the inside with the nutrition you feed your body. You may find hair care products that you like and that you think also add to your hair's growth, shine or volume, but without those foods for healthy hair at the foundation, no amount of hair care product is going to do the trick by itself. Just make a few dietary changes though and you'll be on your way to having the thick, glowing, healthy hair you want.
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