A healthy head of hair and clear, glowing skin are signs of good nutrition. Although cosmetic product makers want you to think their products are complete solutions, healthy hair and skin are made in the kitchen. By getting plenty of on certain vitamins and minerals in your diet, you can help your body give you the tresses and skin you long for.
Fish, like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, have high amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Hair and skin contain keratin, a fibrous protein. Nutritionists say getting high-quality protein in your diet provides nourishment to your hair, skin and nails. Moreover, when you are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, among the first signs are brittle and dry hair, skin and nails. Omega-3s control the balance of oil in your skin and stimulate hair growth. Fish and fish oil also provide vitamin E, which improves circulation to the scalp, promoting hair growth and protecting against loss.
Dark, leafy green vegetables provide a vitamin smorgasbord for your hair. You’ll get lots of vitamins A and C, for example. Vitamin A protects your hair follicles from damage caused by free radicals. It’s important to have the right amount of vitamin A. Too little causes dry hair, while too much can cause hair loss. Healthy adults need between 700 and 900 micrograms daily, or approximately 23,000 to 30,000 IUs. Vitamin C helps produce collagen, the connective tissue found in hair and skin. As an antioxidant, it also protects cells from damage. Healthy adults need between 75 and 90 mg of vitamin C daily.
In addition to containing essential fatty acids, nuts like walnuts, peanuts and Brazil nuts provide the minerals zinc and selenium. Zinc helps cells in your hair follicles divide properly and protects you from the damage associated with free radicals. Oysters also have a lot of zinc. Selenium deficiency can result in hair loss. Getting adequate selenium helps your body properly use proteins to produce more hair.
Foods that offer the B-family of vitamins provide important nutrients to your hair and skin. Look for foods with lots of thiamin, or B-1, riboflavin, or B-2, niacin, or B-3, pantothenic acid, or B-5 and biotin, or B-7. Having too little B-complex vitamins in your diet can contribute to undernourishment of your hair and skin. Biotin helps your body with a number of enzymatic reactions as part of the metabolism of proteins. Although rare, having too little biotin results in skin rashes and hair loss. Biotin is especially sought after for its help in preserving hair’s strength and texture. Try whole-wheat bread, fortified cereals and buckwheat for healthy sources of B vitamins.
- Huntington College of Health Sciences: Have a Good Hair Day
- Hospital for Special Surgery: FAT Facts
- Vitamin Supplements Guide: Essential Fatty Acids
- University of Florida Health Science Center: What Is Your Hair Trying to Tell You?
- SmartSkinCare.com: What is Skin Made of?
- Exploratorium: Better Hair through Chemistry
- sexy young woman with flowers on her hair image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.