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Want a Healthy Head of Hair?

Posted in: Conditions, Nutrition
By Dr. Pantea Etminan, NHD
Jun 25, 2012 - 12:51:23 PM

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Many factors may affect hair growth, from genetics to nutrition. There are things you can do to help your hair be more healthy and grow more efficiently. Minerals, such as zinc, biotin, calcium, magnesium and vitamins such as C, E, D, and A can have major effect and make a difference in the way your hair grows and health of it. A good balance of all omega fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9) are important as well. Since usually we get enough of other omega fatty acids other than enough of omega 3-- it is best to focus on more omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.

Whole foods in general are best rule of thumb. They would provide a good balance of nutrition, especially whole fresh vegetables and fruits. It's the synergetic effect of all the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that they provide in just the right sum that would make a difference. It is rather difficult to obtain the similar benefits from a single supplement.

Here are list of certain whole foods that are beneficial to hair health:

  • Whole vegetables--dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine, chard, collard greens, parsley), crucified veggies (broccoli, cauliflower), root veggies (carrots, celery, potatoes, turnip, radish), Squash (zucchini, summer and winter squash). These are great source of minerals and vitamins A and C which your body would need to secret oily sebum which is a natural lubricant that keeps your hair in good health. Keep in mind that organic produce will always contain more nutrients without external toxins that pesticides and herbicides would provide. Go organic whenever possible. Same stands for fruits and really any other food source at this time.
  • Whole fruits--melons, citrus, berries, stone, passion. They all are great source of nutrition which provide loads of vitamins, some minerals and even protein to the body to allow vitality of hair growth and health.
  • Wild Fish--fish is a good source of fatty acids and protein without being too heavy for the body to digest. Wild caught would be the best choice at this time as they are cleaner, without much PBC or mercury and would provide better nutrients and contain more omega 3 fatty acids. Wild salmon is an example. Anchovies, sardines, halibut are some other examples. Do proceed with caution though, especially if you have a condition, such as MS that would be more sensitive to mercury effects. In general, once a week or even once every other week would be best choice to eat fish. Fish oil would be a great option, still would need to be very much aware of its source. Krill oil has been researched to have contain better balance of omega 3 fatty acids in addition to other nutrients which are very helpful for health and hair. But they are considered a shell fish, so you would need to be aware of that if you have sensitivity towards such.
  • Nuts and seeds--they are rich in minerals and contain great amounts of fatty acids that are healthy for health and would promote hair growth. Walnuts are great source of omega 3 fatty acids or alpha linolenic acid which is great for the health or your scalp and the oil sebum balance. Brazil nuts contain more of mineral selenium which is important for hair health and growth as well as cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and all sorts of seeds.
  • Legumes--this would include beans. They are rich in vitamins and minerals which would assist with the scalp health and hair growth. Iron, zinc, biotin are only a few important ones that they contain which are integral for hair growth. Being deficient in one or more of these nutrients would lead to brittle dry hair and hair loss. Do proceed with caution and be aware if your body is able to handle or digest beans and legumes. If not, there are other choices of foods that you could look into.
  • Eggs--great source of nutritious food which would include protein, vitamin A, D, biotin and omega 3 fatty acids. Choose organic eggs for best results.


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