Making the world beautiful 1 head at a time

Food that makes hair healthy

If you’re one of the many vacationers this summer who dread split ends and dried-out hair after a day at the beach or pool, or find that the sun isn’t kind to healthy tresses, or discover that the partial weave doesn’t look as good as in the magazines, there’s a better alternative to hair extensions, minoxidil, and high-priced salons. You may be having a bad hair day because of what you put in your mouth.

Studies by hair loss prevention researchers at MMT Research Inc. found that bad hair days abound when we don’t get enough vitamins or protein. Bad nutrition causes hair loss (androgenic alopecia). In the April 2003 issue of Better Nutrition, zinc, for example, inhibits high levels of DHT, a form of testosterone that is linked to hair loss. Other inhibitors are amino acids such as L-arginine, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 (found in fish), lecithin, B vitamins, lutein, sulfur, iron, and minerals that help your magnificent mane. You can find these hair helpers in:

o Beans

o Whole grains

o Eggs

o Salmon

o Raw nuts

o Flax and pumpkin seeds

o Berries

o Dark greens

Salmon and greens also provide calcium for your teeth, so you’re helping your hair and teeth. Berries are high in cancer-preventing antioxidants, and dark greens also contain lutein, which halts blindness and cataracts. So when you eat all of the above, you’ll have a great hair day and look like you just had a day at a luxury spa.

In 2004, Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s bestselling book, THE PERRICONE PROMISE, outlined a diet for hair that differs from the 2003 recommendations. Perricone’s hair diet may seem as much of a fairy tale as Rapunzel. (Remember, though, Rapunzel’s mom wisely decided to eat greens during pregnancy!) Dr. Perricone’s top ten hair superfoods are no secret to health enthusiasts:

o Acai berries that contain powerful antioxidants

o Allium foods–onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots with powerful bioflavonoids

o Barley rich in niacin, which helps hair growth

o Wheatgrass, spirulina, and algae that cleanse the hair of toxins and provide essential fatty acids to build hair protein

o Buckwheat (eat your pancakes), which Perricone says is richer in vitamins, flavonoids, and minerals than other grains (except barley)

o Beans and lentils, for the same reasons as the 2003 study

o Hot peppers, which contain capsaicin that stops the pain so you don’t tear your hair out!

o Nuts and seeds, which contain essential proteins, phytochemicals and fatty acids to build healthy tresses sand reduce signs of aging

o Sprouts–they’re great for a youthful body, including the body in your hair

o Yogurt and kefir, which are said to promote longevity and health in people who live in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia–remember Julie Christie’s gorgeous hair in “Doctor Zhivago”?

While you can eat your way to healthy hair, many “hair formula” supplements crowd the market. In general, a multivitamin containing biotin, especially multivitamins for women, will strengthen your hair, skin and nails. Be sure to compare vitamin supplements, and make sure you don’t get an excess of vitamin D, which can lead to cancer as well as too much calcium that your body can’t process. Don’t count on supplements to save your hair.

Also, don’t expect to look like you’ve just stepped out of a hair commercial after changing your diet. You’ll start to see healthier hair three months after you improve your regimen. You can jazz up your beauty routine with juicing, dehydrating, and sprouting. Better nutrition will help color-treated hair maintain its bounce, too. And drinking water is always a great idea. You’re worth it!

Kristin Johnson is health editor for, your source for health-improving appliances such as the Blendtec Kitchen Mill Grain Mill and the Green Star Juicer. Visit for health appliances and ideas on living right.

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