Must-Have Nutrients for Strong, Beautiful Hair
Are you counting on fancy shampoos and conditioners to keep your hair beautiful? If so, you’re not doing enough. That’s because if you really want strong, beautiful hair, you need to feed it the foods it loves. The hair-nourishing diet I prescribe for my clients includes lean proteins, healthy fats like coconut and avocado, and loads of veggies.
In addition, it’s low in sugar and inflammatory carbs that make hair look old. And needless to say, I also tell people who want beautiful hair to drink bone broth or take a collagen supplement every day! Bone broth and collagen are packed with nutrients that your hair adores. They also help to heal your gut… and healthy hair starts with a healthy gut. Once these basics are in place, I make sure my clients aren’t shorting themselves on hair-protecting nutrients. In particular, I make sure they’re getting enough of these four nutrients that can help transform hair from limp and dry to full and sexy.
If you’re a premenopausal woman, there’s a good chance that your iron levels are low—especially if you have heavy periods or you don’t eat meat on a regular basis. And if your hair doesn’t get enough iron, it puts you at high risk for “female pattern hair loss.” However, don’t go loading up on iron just yet. While a vitamin-and-mineral supplement containing a daily dose of iron is fine for most women, mega-doses of this mineral can be dangerous.
So have your doctor measure your iron level to see if you’re deficient. In the meantime, eat plenty of eggs and lean meat. If you do wind up needing additional iron, be sure to take supplemental vitamin C as well. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better.
While severe zinc deficiency is rare, many people—especially women—have a marginal deficiency, which can promote hair loss. Again, eating very little meat can put you at risk. To make sure you’re getting enough zinc, take a daily supplement that includes this mineral and eat zinc-rich foods. Good sources include oysters, red meat, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Like iron, zinc can be toxic in high doses, so don’t overdo it.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These healthy fats feed your hair, making it strong and shiny. To get enough of these, eat two servings of salmon, sardines, or other oily fish each week. An omega-3 supplement is also a great idea; just make sure it’s a high-quality one.
If you hide from the sun every day, you’re shorting yourself on this crucial nutrient—and that’s a big mistake. In addition to lowering your risk for several cancers and multiple sclerosis, vitamin D helps protect against female pattern hair loss. It’s true that spending too much time in the sun can damage both your skin and your hair.
But getting 15 minutes or so of sun every day (without slathering on sunscreen) will make both of them healthier. If you can’t get that much sun, supplement with vitamin D (and even if you do get plenty of sun, ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level). — Add a good supply of these four nutrients to a super-healthy diet, and you’ll give your hair all the nutritional mojo it needs to become strong, lustrous, and beautiful. Of course, you can still spend a fortune on those fancy shampoos and conditioners if you like—because there’s no such thing as pampering your hair too much!