DARK GREEN VEGETABLES
Most dark greens — such as broccoli, kale, spinach and Swiss chard — are tremendous sources of vitamin A and iron. Vitamin A is essential for the production of natural oils that condition our hair and give it shine and elasticity. Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium, which are both essential to healthy hair.
When it comes to healthy hair, lately there’s been a lot of buzz about biotin — a nutrient found in egg yolks. Recent studies suggest that biotin works to protect the hair follicle and shaft to prevent breakage, thereby encouraging hair health and growth.
Nuts are excellent sources of essential fatty acids, and most — especially Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts — provide minerals like selenium and zinc, which are important in the development of healthy tissues, particularly the scalp. Walnuts are especially great because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Grains, such as whole wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, millet and spelt, provide a healthy helping of fiber and B vitamins as well as iron, zinc and silica. Silica, which is found in many whole grains (along with raisins and beer), has been called the beauty mineral. A study by the University of Cincinnati’s College of Pharmacy found that fine-haired women who were given 10 milligrams of silica per day for nine months had thicker hair, increased elasticity and better tensile strength.
While whole foods are always preferential, supplements can provide easier access to higher concentrations of certain hard-to-get nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can reflect in our hair, so it’s a good idea to supplement your diet with a multi-vitamin, especially if you are vegetarian. To get more essential fatty acids, one can supplement with flaxseed, fish oils or some B-vitamins. If you are considering supplementation for hair health or overall health, always consult a registered dietitian or doctor before beginning a daily regimen.