Nutrition key to healthy hair

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

LISA EVANS, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:51 PM ET

Here’s some food for locks.

The secret to healthy hair isn’t found in a bottle on a drug store shelf. It’s found in the produce section at the supermarket.

“Your hair is an outward look at what’s happening on the inside,” says holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy. “The food you eat everyday provides the raw materials to create healthy, strong and shiny strands of hair.”

Healthy hair is a result of extra nutrients, from vitamin C to so-called good fats.

After months in the intense summer sun and heat, your hair may be showing signs of fatigue and needs a little help transitioning to the fall. Cool weather, rain and harsh winds can also wreak havoc on your locks.

Chemically lightening hair leaves it even more vulnerable to the elements. If your mane in showing signs of seasonal fatigue, it may be time to give it a boost – from the inside out – by adding these essential vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Vitamins A and K

Dry, brittle hair can be an indication of nutritional deficiencies in vitamins A and K. These vitamins help produce oil on your scalp, acting as your hair’s natural conditioner. “When you have more natural oils, this gives hair a beautiful shine,” says McCarthy. Add vitamin A rich foods, such as carrots, romaine lettuce and sweet potatoes, and vitamin K sources, such as broccoli, kale and spinach, to your diet and revitalize your hair’s natural shine.

B Vitamins

Vitamins B6 and B12 are involved in the creation of red blood cells which carry nutrients to the hair follicles (the roots). Without proper nutrition, your hair becomes starved, making it limp and more prone to shedding and slow growth. Excellent sources of B vitamins include dairy, eggs, fish, leafy greens, meat and whole grains.

Vitamin C

Split ends and thinning hair may be a result of vitamin C deficiency. “[Vitamin C is] used in the formation of collagen, which literally holds our body together,” says McCarthy. Collagen is not only important in forming the body’s muscles and cartilage, but aids in the creation of healthy-looking, fuller hair by stimulating the follicles to increase the diameter of individual hairs. Many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin C including broccoli, berries, grapefruit, oranges and lemons.

Healthy fats

While indulging in chips and cookies produces a hormonal imbalance which can cause hair to appear dry and lifeless, including healthy fats in your diet can give a dull mane a healthy glow. Fats moisturize from the inside out and help to nourish hair follicles. Sources of good fats include avocadoes, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil and pumpkin seeds.

Omega-3s

The basis of luscious hair is a healthy scalp. A scalp that’s dry and flaky may be a sign of omega-3 deficiency and results in dull, lifeless locks. Add omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, soybeans and walnuts to your diet and give new life to your hair.

 


Videos

Photos