Healthy Nutrition Means Healthy Hair
Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD
When someone has a head of beautiful, shiny hair, it’s something we notice right away. Although we pay a lot of attention to what we put on our hair, it gets a lot of nourishment from the inside out. So the health of your hair and scalp could be a reflection of what you put in your mouth.
Hair follicles are tiny hair-manufacturing factories under your scalp. Since your scalp and hair get their nutrients directly from the bloodstream, a well-balanced diet is important, since it will put those much-needed nutrients into your system.
Hair grows about ¼ to ½ inch every month, and since hair is made up of a protein called keratin, your body needs high quality protein from foods like fish, poultry, lean meats, soy and dairy products to support hair growth. “Fish is not only a good protein source, but it’s also a source of healthy omega-3 fats which help to prevent the scalp and hair from becoming dry, which can make hair look dull”.
Vitamins A and C, found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, help your body to produce sebum, which is made by glands in the hair follicle and acts as a natural hair conditioner. Minerals such as zinc, selenium and iron, found in meats and poultry, beans, whole grains and nuts, also help to build healthy hair. And B-vitamins, abundant in whole grains, fish and green leafy vegetables, help to strengthen the hair’s outer layer, called the cuticle, and keep hair shiny.
Regular exercise isn’t just good for the body; it’s good for your hair, too. Exercise stimulates blood flow to all parts of the body, including the scalp, and that can help keep your tresses looking their best.
So good, balanced nutrition and regular exercise can help keep your hair and scalp healthy, but one thing you can’t
do is change the texture of your hair. If you’ve got fine hair, there’s nothing you can eat that will make it thicker. If it’s coarse or curly, it is what it is.