The foods you eat affect your appearance, including the health of your hair, nails and skin. Poor nutrition may result in dry, brittle hair that loses its shine as a result of dietary deficiencies. A diet that that consists of protein and essential vitamins and minerals is needed to build the foundation for healthy hair. To strengthen your hair and improve its health, eat a well-balanced diet that will restore any nutrient deficiencies in the body.
Vitamin A may help to restore dry, brittle hair to a healthier shine. This vitamin provides moisture to the scalp and acts as a lubricant to reduce dryness. Foods rich in vitamin A include fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel; carrots, red peppers, spinach, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and apricots. Excess vitamin A in the diet may have negative effects on the body, however,so stick to food sources and speak with a physician prior to taking any supplements.
Vitamin B-5 is needed in the diet to restore hair to a healthy, shiny appearance. In addition to alleviating skin irritations, vitamin B-5 stimulates the growth and repair of hair. Add this hair-helping vitamin to your diet by snacking on nuts in moderation throughout your day. Eggs for breakfast and brown rice with liver make healthy, vitamin B-5 rich meals.
Hair is made from protein and requires the nutrient for its proper growth and repair. Adding protein to the diet can restore damaged, brittle hair and prevent hair loss. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the Institute of Medicine recommends that healthy adults get approximately 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. Add lean sources of protein to your diet, including chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds. Avoid fatty cuts of beef or pork that are high in unsaturated fats that lead to artery clogging and potential heart disease.
Fats should not be avoided in the diet. Healthy fats are necessary for normal body functions, hormonal balance and good skin and hair health. They strengthen hair bonds and give hair a shiny, luminous appearance. Avoid unhealthy fats, including saturated and trans-fats typically found in fried foods, butter and pastries; they increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Rather, consume foods that are a source of healthier unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include oily fish such as trout and tuna, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado.
- Complete Idiot's Guide To Total Nutrition, 4th Edition; Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.; 2005
- Paula Mee Practical Nutrition: Foods For Healthy Skin, Hair & Nails