Everyone notices a healthy head of hair. It’s full of body, and has a beautiful, natural shine. Wouldn’t we all like to have strong, lustrous hair!
And you can, once you’re willing to pay a little more attention to your diet.
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi, an American Board Family Medicine Certified Physician who overcame her struggle with thinning hair through nutrition, says that while supplements are helpful, we should ideally first get our nutrients through food whenever possible. It’s even it’s better to know the specific nutrients we may be deficient in.
Lustre, Colour, and Growth
She says it’s often zinc, selenium, magnesium, B12, ferritin, or omega-3 fats, so correcting these deficiencies will greatly improve the quality of our hair in terms of lustre, colour, and growth.
Since our diet is the first thing we can control, Dr. Gandhi recommends eating organic whenever possible, non-GMO, preservative-free, chemical-free and foods without high-fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners or food colouring.
Here are the top five foods she recommends for patients to help improve their hair.
1. Protein – Eggs
With 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids per serving, eggs are extremely good hair nutrition.
They’re also loaded with in vitamins such as biotin, folic acid, B12, iron and choline, all of which help improve hair quality by enhancing shine, diminishing premature graying, dullness, and thinning. As a bonus, eggs are excellent brain food, and naturally boost good (HDL) cholesterol.
Opt for free-range eggs when possible as these are the most wholesome form.
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2. Healthy Fats – Avocado
A “one-stop shop for all your hair ailments”,consuming these at least a few times a week is critical. Avocados work on a cellular level to enhance hair growth, improve texture and eliminate dullness. Besides healthy monounsaturated fats, which improve shine and lustre, they are rich in fibre, potassium, oleic acid, and B vitamins.
You can make an avocado hair mask by mixing an overripe avocado with an egg to form a paste. Apply generously through the hair and leave on for 20 – 30 minutes before rinsing. The result is shiny, lustrous, silky-smooth hair!
A staple in the hair-improvement diet, salmon – particularly the wild-caught variety – is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which improve hair follicles on a cellular level, promoting hair growth. Eat twice a week for best results.
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4. Minerals – Dark Chocolate
According to Dr. Gandhi, magnesium deficiency is quite prevalent, manifesting itself in symptoms such as cramps, headaches, insomnia and anxiety. This occurs when there is an imbalance of calcium and magnesium.
If calcium intake is higher, it can lead to an insulin spike, causing chocolate cravings. Dr. Gandhi notes that most people who crave chocolate are unaware they are lacking this important mineral.
Dark chocolate is highly recommended to address this deficiency – to stem thinning hair, hair loss, split ends and dull hair. For anti-inflammatory benefits, choose a high-quality organic dark chocolate with a 70 per cent or more cocoa content. Just a small amount does the trick.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
This is an excellent way to get your daily intake of zinc. One serving (¼ cup) of pumpkin seeds contains more than 2 grams of zinc. They are also rich in magnesium and alpha-linolenic acid – a vegan omega-3 source.
Sprinkle on oatmeal, salads and smoothies for a soft crunch. While taking a zinc supplement will help thinning hair, it can cause nausea, so keeping these seeds handy is far preferable.