Healthy hair one bite at a time

As the new year begins, many of us have resolved to improve our health and appearances.  Keeping in mind that beauty starts on the inside, it makes sense that the right shampoos, conditioners and products are only half the battle of keeping hair in top form.  Taking care to get the proper balance of nutrition in your diet will not only benefit your overall physicallity, but your hair and skin will also reap the benefits.  Below is a guide to some of the best foods to enable you to grow the heathiest, shiniest, strongest hair possible.

1. Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and iron. Vegetarians can also reap the benefits by incorporating daily doses of flax seed oil into their diets.  Omega 3 fatty acids are a key component of a healthy scalp.  A deficiency will likely result in dandruff and leave you with dull and lifeless hair.

2. Dark Green Vegetables contain vitamins A&C, which your body needs to make sebum, and also provide calcium and iron.  Sebum is the oily substance pruduced at the scalp and acts as your body's natural hair conditioner. If you aren't producing enough, your hair will not only grow slower, it will lack strength and luster.

3. Beans are a heart healthy source of the protiens needed to promote hair growth, as well as iron, zinc, and biotin. Again, deficiencies often result in brittle, dry hair prone to breakage.

4. Nuts - Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, (important for a healthy scalp,) and walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.

5. Poultry is a versatile source of high quality protein and gives iron a high bioavialibilty so your body can use it more efficiently. (Iron is stored in your hair follicles and used by your body for mutiple purposes.  If the body is depleted of iron, these stores are used by other cells and the hair suffers.)

6. Eggs are also packed with protien, biotin, and vitamin B-12, as well as great low calorie option in any form to start the day with!

7. Whole Grains are another excellent source of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

8. Oysters are loaded with zinc, a powerful antioxidant. If these supposed aphrodisiacs turn you off, however, you can also get zinc from eating beef or lamb.

9. Low-fat Dairy products, i.e. cottage cheese and yogurt, are another tasty way to get your daily dose of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.

10. Carrots provide vitamin A, which supports a healthy scalp along with good vision.

11. Bananas are crucial, as they give the body the vitamin B6 it requires to absorb nutrients it recieves from food, thereby helping the production of red blood cells, which provide your hair follicles with the nourishment they need.

12. Brown rice - We have already discussed the importance of protein, however protein needs complex carbohydrates to help provide energy for the building of strong hair. Brown rice is perfect at providing sustained energy and also packs B vitamins, which are needed for strong hair growth and maintenance.

Happy eating!