How to Eat Your Way to Healthier Hair

Photo Credits: Paul Burley/Corbis

Blame it on the weather or a terrible cut, but the real reason behind consistently bad hair days may be what you eat, not what you use to style your hair. Just like how your diet affects the way your skin and body look and feel, the same rule of thumb applies to your hair.

“Most people underestimate the importance of diet when it comes to maintaining healthy hair,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL, dermatologist Will Richardson, MD. A diet that’s void of the right foods can result in strands that are dull, dry, thin and prone to breakage. The first step in getting healthier hair is modifying your diet, which can be as simple as cutting out foods that provide no nutritional value and adding in essential vitamins, healthy fats and proteins like these:

1. Soy promotes healthy hair growth: A diet rich in protein, especially soy, is believed to encourage hair growth.

2. Whole Grains stop dandruff: Necessary to repair damaged hair and cells, zinc, which is found in whole grains, also reduces the incidence of dandruff.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids keep the scalp hydrated: Found in flaxseed, walnuts and salmon, omega-3 fatty acids act as a natural conditioner of sorts for the scalp.

4. Vitamin B strengthens hair: All types of vitamin B, like B2, B6 and B12, are beneficial since they carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles, improving hair strength and regulating sebum production

5. Vitamin C regulates oil: Easily sourced from citrus fruits, vitamin C enables the body to create sebum, a natural moisturizer that keeps hair hydrated.

6. Silica slows hair loss: The mineral silica is believed to slow down hair loss and possibly prevent it. It’s naturally found in vegetables like peppers, potatoes and sprouts.

7. Biotin prevents dryness: A type of B vitamin, biotin defends against dryness, premature graying and breakage by reinforcing the hair’s cortex.

8.  GLA induces shine: An essential omega-6 fatty acid, GLA promotes healthy hair growth, makes the hair strong and shiny, and helps combat dandruff. “Because it’s hard to incorporate it into your diet, the best source of it is evening primrose oil or black currant oil supplements,” says Pasquella.

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