The hair and scalp are composed of cellular tissues that require continuous nourishment to maintain health. Foods for healthy hair and scalp include those substances that feed the skin and give hair that glowing luster. Medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, can affect the hair and scalp and may require a diet rich with hair healthy foods. A well-balanced meal plan will boost hair and scalp health better than that bottle of hair vitamins off the shelf.
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Lean proteins provide the amino acids, or the building blocks, of all bodily tissues. The hair and skin of the scalp are largely composed of protein. The majority of healthy protein sources come from animals including chicken, eggs, fish and other meats. Vegetarian protein sources include soybeans and cereal products. Protein can be found in many nutritional and sports drinks as well. Be sure to read the label to adhere to serving sizes. The National Institute of Health recommends two to three servings of protein daily; too much protein can strain the kidneys.
Citrus and Nuts
Many vitamins and minerals work together to promote healthy hair and scalp, however, vitamins C and E are good for hair and skin. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can be found in citrus fruits such as oranges and vegetables like green peppers. Vitamin E is available in nuts and whole grains. Both of these vitamins are antioxidants and essential to promotion of healthy hair and scalp.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide hair nutrition that cannot be found in a bottle. The American Cancer Society encourages at least two to three fruit servings a day and five servings of veggies daily. Hiding in these fruits and vegetables are the vitamin B complex--a mix of B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, folic acid and biotin--that promotes hair growth and scalp circulation. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning that they are not stored in the body and by not eating enough fruits and vegetables a deficiency can occur. There may be a link between a lack of B vitamins and hair loss.