Superfoods for Healthy, Shiny Hair

Conde Nast Digital StudioConde Nast Digital StudioSarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

You shampoo, you condition, you use shine serum, and yet your hair still doesn't look as young and healthy as you would like it to. If this is the case for you, try eating more of these foods for healthy hair. Below I describe the nutrients that I try to include in my daily diet to keep my locks looking luscious.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5):
Benefit: May prevent the graying of hair.
Food sources include: Eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, cooked dried beans and peas, nuts, dates, potatoes, avocados, and cauliflower

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Benefit: Prevents brittle hair.
Food sources include: walnuts, salmon, tuna, flax seed, pumpkin seeds

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Protein:
Benefit: May help to lengthen hair by promoting hair growth.
Food Sources Include: lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products, beans/legumes

Vitamins A and C:
Benefit: Helps the body to produce sebum, which keeps hair shiny and helps to prevent dandruff.
Food sources that contain both Vit A and VIt C include: Kale, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Zinc:
Benefit: Prevents hair loss.
Food sources include: lean beef, poultry, lamb, whole grain cereal, oysters, beans, and crab/lobster

Calcium:
Beneft: May help to thicken hair by promoting healthy hair growth.
Food sources include: low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, canned salmon, blackstrap molasses, turnip greens

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Biotin:
Benefit: May help hair to grow stronger.
Food sources include: egg (yolks), wheat germ, oatmeal, wholegrain bread, mushrooms, cauliflower, peanuts, and cheese

It should also be noted that although there are many supplements on the market for healthy hair, it is a better idea to get these nutrients from food. Although the nutrients above are healthy for the hair, if you are taking a supplement, which may contain a mega-dose, you may get too much of the nutrient, which can actually have the reverse effect and lead to hair loss.

Also, going on a crash diet or a very low-calorie diet can be detrimental to your hair. Many hair problems, such as losing hair, brittle hair, or dull hair are caused by nutrient deficiencies, which are common in people who are on a very low-calorie diet that may not ensure intake of all necessary nutrients. To lose weight without becoming deficient in key nutrients, I recommended consulting with a registered dietitian.

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