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Monday, June 30, 2014

Top Ten Foods for Healthy Natural Hair Growth

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Healthy hair diet
by Sioban Massiah

A few weeks ago I did a post on hair, skin and nail vitamins.  I received a lot of positive feedback, so thanks!  As I was on the Tribe's Facebook page, I saw someone's comment (yes, I actively check the Facebook page and comments), that said "Save your money, those don't work.  Just eat right and your hair will grow."  I was going to reply, but after reflection, decided that she was right.  While I ride or die with my hair vitamins, I also believe a good diet is the foundation for healthy hair.

Vitamins are supposed to supplement the nutrients we get from food.  The first source to supply these vitamins and minerals SHOULD be a healthy diet. Unfortunately for many (including me) we have diagnosed deficiencies, and have to take vitamins.  That doesn't mean I still don't eat right.  for enriched diet, water, AND vitamins are the key to healthy, growing hair.

SO, what are the foods to add to your diet 
to make sure you are getting maximum growth 
potential to your locks?  Here are my top choices:

1. Salmon
Besides being rich in protein and vitamin D (both are important for strong hair) the omega-3 fatty acids found in this tasty cold-water fish are real MVPs.  Your body can't make those fatty acids, but they're essential for a number of body functions, including hair. About 3% of the hair is made up of these fatty acids.  Omega-3s are also found in cell membranes in the skin of your scalp, and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated.

Also try: Fish like herring, sardines, trout, and mackerel, as well as avocado, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts (see below for more amazing things about walnuts.)

2. Walnuts
These are the only type of nut that have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. they're also rich in biotin and vitamin E, which helps protect your cells from DNA damage. Since your hair rarely gets much sun protection (unless you walk around in big floppy sun hats), this is a big bonus. Too little biotin can lead to hair loss. Walnuts also have copper, a mineral that helps keep your natural hair color rich and lustrous.

Also try: Walnut oil in your salad dressing or stir-fry instead of canola or safflower (sold at Trader Joes and Whole Foods).

3. Oysters
Oysters are rich in zinc. A lack of Zinc in your diet can lead to hair loss (even in your eyelashes), as well as a dry, flaky scalp. Three ounces contain a whopping 493% of your daily value. You can get some zinc through fortified cereals and whole grain breads, but oysters are also packed with protein, which we all know is hair's main building block. Without enough protein, your body can't replace the hairs that you naturally shed every day and what you do make can be dry, brittle, or weak.

Also try: Nuts, beef, and eggs.

4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of the antioxidant beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, which all cells crave! It also helps protect and produce the oils that sustain your scalp, and being low on vitamin A can eve leave you with itchy, nasty dandruff.

Also try: Carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots.

5. Eggs
A great source of protein, eggs are loaded with four key minerals: zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron. Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, and too little iron or anemia (which I suffer from) is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in women. I started eating a boiled egg every morning with a smoothie to up my intake.

Also try: Chicken, fish, pork and beef.

6. Spinach
The iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C in spinach helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils moving.

Also try: Broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard.

7. Lentils
These small but powerful legumes are packed with protein, iron, zinc and biotin, making it a great staple for vegetarian, vegans AND meat eaters.

Also try: Soybean (add an order of edamame with your sushi next time) and kidney beans into your soup or salad.

8. Greek Yogurt
Cruise the hair aisle for low-fat options such as Greek yogurt, which is high in hair-friendly protein, vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid - an ingredient you'll often see on hair care product labels), and vitamin D.

Also try: Cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, and skim milk also fit the bill.

9. Blueberries
Vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little C in your diet can lead to hair breakage. These super fruits are the best source of vitamin C out!

Also try: Kiwis, tomatoes and strawberries.

10. Poulstry
This everyday entree is extraordinary when it come to protein, as well as hair-healthy zinc, iron and B vitamins to keep strands strong and abundant.

Also try: Lean cuts of beef are another good source of lean protein.

Make sure to also drink, drink, drink your water! Water is the KEY to beautiful anything. It helps us absorb all the vitamins from food or supplements, and keep everything moisturized.

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