Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body on the inside as it is about smoothing on potions on the outside. We are not just talking about your skin: A nutritious diet is vital to promote healthy (i.e. beautiful and bountiful) hair too. In fact, as the second fastest growing tissue in your body, it requires a whole lot of energy to support a magnificent mane. And as a dispensable accessory with no real physiological function to the body, your crowning glory gets the first and worst hit when the system reshuffles nutrients to life-supporting organs – even with minor deficiencies you wouldn’t think much of. Fill up on this good-hair-day diet to give your tresses every advantage without compromising on your waistline.
Oats are a heart-healthy and convenient source of iron. Stealth iron deficiency is one of the commonest cause of brittle, thinning hair, especially in women. Berries are bursting in vitamin C which aids absorption of iron and supports the tiny blood vessels feeding the follicles. As the nutrient superhero amongst berries, blueberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch to counter free radical damage in the cells, including our follicles and skin. Eggs supply a lean dose of proteins, the main building block of our strands (if hair doesn’t receive enough protein, it can go into a ‘resting phase,’ causing noticeable hair loss), as well as biotin, a vitamin B to build strong, shiny strands. Bonus: Proteins keep you feeling full for longer to prevent a ravenous appetite at lunch.
Hair Raising Alternatives: Add a scoop of whey protein to your smoothie to power up your morning and follicles on the go. Dig into greek yogurt topped with fruits or berries of the season – this skinny dairy is high in hair-friendly protein, vitamin B5 (a.k.a pantothenic acid, an ingredient you’ll often see on hair care product labels), and vitamin D.
Spinach is chock full of iron and chicken, lean protein. Total strand perfection.
Hair Raising Alternatives: Tiny but mighty, lentils are teeming with protein, iron, zinc, and biotin. Toss up a lentil salad with baby spinach and lycopene-packed tomatoes for touchable tresses and skin. As one of the top foods to munch on every list, sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene which is converted into the anti-ageing vitamin A by the body.
Not only is a handful of almonds a good source of protein, they’re loaded with strand-supporting and stress-busting magnesium.
Hair Raising Alternatives: Brazil nuts are a one-stop snack for selenium – a single nut beats an oral supplement to supply your daily requirement for this hair growth boosting micronutrient.
Salmon is a nutrient powerhouse with quality protein and biotin, along with omega-3 fatty acids which quell inflammation and promote strong, moisturised skin. And don’t forget, your scalp is skin too. A healthy scalp supports healthy follicles and fabulous hair. Steamed broccoli adds a mini pharmacy dose of iron, multi-vitamins and phytonutrients to keep you glowing from tip to tip.
Hair Raising Alternatives: Besides it’s reputable as an aphrodisiac, the oyster will give you a mega zinc boost for big, sexy hair as well. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss (even in your eyelashes), as well as a dry, flaky scalp.
– By Magdeleine Lim
*This article has been selected Editor’s Choice for Oct 2014*