Eating for Healthy Hair & Skin
The health of our skin and hair are closely linked to the quality of food we eat on a daily basis. Eating whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes provides the essential nutritional support for healthy skin and hair. It is important to ensure you get essential vitamins and minerals including selenium, zinc, iron and vitamin C, A, and E.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A helps to keep hair and scalp moisturized and prevents dryness. It is especially beneficial for protecting the skin from damage due to sun exposure. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupes, spinach, and kale.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, a protein important for the structure of skin. It is also necessary for the creation of new cells, which helps to heal scars and repair damage to skin and hair. Vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, grapefruits, bell peppers, and dark leafy greens.
Vitamin E protects the scalp and skin from damage due to free radicals and other environmental stressors, such as UV radiation. It helps to keep hair and scalp moisturized and improves circulation. Foods that are rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, and avocados.
Selenium is a mineral essential for healthy skin and hair. It helps to protect against skin damage due to sun exposure and can help to reduce inflammation. Foods that are high in selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, and seafood.
Zinc plays an important role in skin health and can help to reduce inflammation. It helps to keep skin and hair well-hydrated and is essential for cell growth and healing. Foods that are high in zinc include beef, lamb, oysters, crab, and pumpkin seeds.
Iron is necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps to regulate cellular functions and is needed for carrying oxygen to cells. It is also essential for healthy hair follicles and can help prevent hair loss. To get iron in your diet, enjoy lean red meat, beans, lentils, fortified breakfast cereals, leafy greens, and fish.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are necessary for skin health, as well as overall well being. They help to maintain the protective barrier of the skin, which can keep bacteria out, as well as preserve moisture in the skin. Essential fatty acids include both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in sunflower, safflower, and sesame seeds, as well as eggs, poultry, and pork.
Healthy fats help to keep the skin and hair well nourished, and they also contain beneficial fatty acids. Foods that are high in healthy fats include avocados, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters, and nuts.
Whole grains provide essential B vitamins, which are needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails. They also provide fiber, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Whole grains that are high in B vitamins include quinoa, millet, and buckwheat, as well as other whole grains such as oats, wheat, and brown rice.
It is important to keep the body well-hydrated for healthy skin and hair. Drink about 8 glasses of water per day and be sure to include a good source of electrolytes in your diet. Good sources of electrolytes include coconut water and low-sodium vegetable juices.
If you find it difficult to get all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids from your diet, consider taking a daily multivitamin supplement to provide additional nutritional support. Be sure to look for a multivitamin that contains essential vitamins and minerals needed for skin and hair health and make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any supplement regime.
Eating for healthy hair and skin doesn’t have to be complicated; by keeping a well balanced diet including whole and unprocessed foods, you can provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs for healthy skin and hair. Be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet, and don’t forget to keep your body well-hydrated and supplement with a good quality multivitamin. With a little effort and dedication, you can have beautiful and healthy skin and hair.