How to Eat Your Way to Healthier Hair

Believe it or not it is possible to eat your way to healthier hair... and skin... and nails.  I'm was addicted to Viviscal, which are hair growth supplements (and actually stopped taking them because Bob was growing like cray), but after talking with Dr. Jessica Wu, author of Feed Your Face, I had to share what I learned about how your food choices affect your hair and complexion.  It's intriguing and really makes sense.  After all, we are what we eat. How is it possible to eat your way to healthier hair?

Although the hair that grows out of your head is dead, the living part of the follicle is very much alive and needs the right nutrients.

Nutrition plays a major role in the look and feel of your hair, so it’s important to eat the right diet to help your scalp grow thicker, stronger, healthier hair. If your diet is deficient, your hair may notice your hair becoming finer, thinner, and even lighter.  In addition, your strands will be weaker.

I tell my patients to make sure they eat protein as well as certain vitamins and micronutrients that have been shown to help grow thicker, healthier hair.

What ingredients should we look for and why?

Protein:  hair is make of keratin, a type of protein.  Eating protein will provide your body with the amino acids it needs to produce strong hair.

Iron: Low levels of iron can cause anemia, one of the most common causes of thinning hair in otherwise healthy women.

Zinc: Zinc is essential for producing keratin, so those with low levels of zinc may have finer, sparser, weaker hair.

Can you recommend some foods with these ingredients in them?

Protein is found in meat, poultry, eggs, and tofu.  If you’re on the go or need a snack in between meals, KIND Almond Walnut Macadamia with Peanuts + Protein bars provide a great option.  Each bar contains 10 grams of protein, and it’s delicious.

Turkey, clams, chicken liver, and red meat are excellent sources of iron. Pumpkin and sesame seeds, lentils, and spinach are also good sources of iron.

Peanuts, cashews, dark chocolate, and oysters are great sources of zinc. Again, if you are on the go, try a KIND Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidant bar.

What exactly should we expect from our hair?

Healthy hair is thick, bouncy, and shiny.  It should feel soft and flexible, and be easy to style.  Hair can also help protect you from UV rays.  The thicker your hair, the more UV protection it provides.

Will eating these ingredients/foods also affect our skin and nails?  

Nails, like hair, are also made of keratin, so eating these foods will help you grow strong nails.  Collagen, which makes your skin firm, is also a protein, so I advise my patients to eat plenty of protein to fight the aging process.  I also recommend eating zinc for firmer skin, since zinc helps build strong collagen and elastic tissue (which makes your skin more resilient).