Eating for Healthy Skin and Hair
We’ve all had weeks where we’re tired, run-down, and ready to dissolve into a stress puddle.
Chances are, these are the times we’re also scarfing junk food instead of salads.
Eating all the discounted Valentine’ Day candy in sight doesn’t just make you feel terrible – it’s also awful for your skin and hair.
So pardon us if we sound a little bit like your mom, here. But, ladies? You are what you eat!
If you don’t want to take our word for it, nutritionist extraordinaire Joy Bauer, of The Today Show fame, explains why healthy hair and skin happens from the inside out.
“Good hair depends on the body’s ability to construct a proper hair shaft, as well as the health of the skin and follicles,” writes Bauer at her blog. And your body just can’t build strong hair if you don’t foster good nutritional habits.
So for gorgeous, shiny hair and luminous skin, re-think your grocery cart. Here are the six categories you should always add to your list:
1. All Aboard for Antioxidants
Antioxidants kick wrinkles to the curb and help your skin stay oh-so-hydrated. Without a doubt, these cancer-fighting, age-defying nutrients will transform the way your skin looks.
So, where do you find these magic-workers? Most often they’re in the fruit aisle – but there are some yummy veggie outliers, too.
Your best – and most delicious – sources include blueberries (chock-full of Vitamin C), tomatoes (lots of lycopene for strong bones), and sweet potatoes (skin-healing beta-carotene).
And if you’re looking for a healthy skin, healthy hair twofer, beta-carotene is where it’s at.
“Beta-carotene in foods is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is necessary for all cell growth, including hair,” writes nutritionist Joy Bauer.
“A deficiency can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair and dry skin, which can flake off into dandruff,” she adds.
So when you’re thinking about antioxidants, don’t just load your cart full of berries. Pick out some Vitamin A-rich sweet potatoes to put a stop to dry, flaky skin and lifeless locks. Want an easier way to get what you need? Try Hairfinity Detox and De-Stress Antioxidant Booster.
2. Oh My, Omega-3s
In America, it’s easy to fear fat. But, says dermatologist Dr. Apple Bodeme, some fats, like Omega-3 fatty acids, are crucial for heart and hair health.
This might be because part of your hair follicle actually is made up of fatty acids – making this nutrient important for hair growth and strength.
To add more lustre to your locks, stock up on avocados and fatty fish, like salmon or tuna. Many nuts and seeds also offer the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is why most nutritionists recommend walnuts and pumpkin seeds to hit your daily quota.
Whether you add more fish to your dinner menu, walnuts on your lunchtime salad, or a daily supplement, Omega-3s are a must for healthy hair. Want a quick way to get your omegas? Try Hairfinity Intense Shine Essential Fatty Acid Booster.
You know taking your vitamins is important, but getting more vitamin C and vitamin B-complex in your diet makes a huge difference in skin and hair health over time.
“Your body needs vitamin C to help create protein, and your body’s ability to make enough of that hair-and muscle-builder is key for strong, unbreakable strands,” dermatologist Whitney Bowe told Prevention.
And you thought vitamin C was just a side benefit of your morning O.J.!
When you head to the store, keep an eye out for other fruits and veggies, including strawberries and red peppers, which contain enough vitamin C to keep your hair strong and healthy.
If you really need to beef up the strength of your strands, add more foods with vitamin B-complex, like oats and eggs, to your diet, too.
“Whether you enjoy them sunny side up for breakfast or boiled and sliced cold over a green salad, eggs are serious healthy-hair helpers,” write the editors of Best Health.
“One of their key ingredients is sulfur, an essential nutrient that helps with everything from vitamin B absorption to liver function.”
Not to mention all the hair-strengthening biotin – a crucial B vitamin – packed into those delicious yolks!
Breakfast has always been our favorite meal of the day. But the chance to stock up on extra vitamin C and vitamin B for flawless skin and hair is our new favorite excuse for breakfast food. Want an easier way to get all the vitamins you need
Try Hairfinity Hair Vitamins (also comes in gummies)!
4. Fall in Love with Lutein
If you’re not in love with lutein – yet! – you will be by the end of this post. Lutein is a carotenoid that boosts eye strength and, like other antioxidants, it also protects your skin from sun damage.
Found in leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts, lutein will strengthen your vision more effectively than munching on carrots.
According to health writer Kasandra Brabaw, that’s because lutein helps eliminate the effects of free radicals on the body, especially on your eyes.
If love is in the eye of the beholder, you better have enough lutein in your system to see who’s come courting.
5. Power Up with Protein
Healthy skin, nails, and hair only generate when your body has enough protein to get cracking. That’s why serious protein deficiencies can lead to thinning hair, or even to serious breakage.
“Without enough protein, your body can’t replace the hairs that you naturally shed every day,” dermatologist Rebecca Kazin explained to Prevention.
Give your hair some extra oomph by stocking up on lean proteins, including Greek yogurt, chicken, eggs, and lentils.
Lentils and beans, in particular, will also give your diet a healthy boost in iron – another crucial nutrient for healthy hair.
“It’s easy for women to run low on iron because of their monthly cycle,” dermatologist Whitney Bowe explained to Prevention.
An iron deficiency is also one of the first problems your doctor may check for if you have thinning hair.
“It sends your body into survival mode, so your body channels oxygen to support vital functions as opposed to ones like keeping your hair intact,” gynecologist Luke Moritz told Huffington Post of the dangers of iron deficiency and anemia.
If you’re losing more than 100 strands of hair per day, then it’s time to set up an appointment and run some tests.
Otherwise, keeping your refrigerator stocked with lean meats – and your cupboards full of beans and lentils – should keep your hair happy and healthy.
6. Cuckoo for Cocoa
We may have started off wagging our finger about junk food, but there is one pick-me-up that will do wonders for your skin. (Shh. Don’t tell mom.)
“Dark chocolate helps skin stay hydrated and protects skin from sun damage, and contrary to popular belief, chocolate does not cause acne,” writes Marianne Magno at Fitness. (We knew it!)
Just be careful when shopping and make sure you get the good stuff. Plenty of cocoa has added sugar and fat – which won’t make you feel good! Instead, be sure to stock up on chocolate that has – at least – 60% cocoa content.
When it comes to healthy skin and hair, your grocery cart is a secret weapon. Stock up on fruits and veggies with hair-healthy vitamins and plenty of lean protein to grow out that luxurious mane.
You can even nibble on dark chocolate without a trace of guilt, since high concentrations of cocoa will help defeat wrinkles. (How’s that for a treat?)
Over time, a diet for healthy skin and hair will work wonders, fueling your day and transforming your most effective beauty routine into the one you cook up at your stove.