By: Sarah Federico, Beauty and Lifestyle Writer
Softer, shinier, healthier: In 2020, your hair can check all of the boxes – if you can commit to eating the rainbow.
For enviable strands, put down the styling tools and pick up a fork full of mindfulness. What you put on your plate can play a big role in the overall health and vitality of your hair. While most of us know that healthy food choices can help prevent disease and keep us looking and feeling our very best, nutrient dense foods can also play a big role in the health and vitality of our tresses. From foods rich in biotin to shelf staples packed full of collagen-building vitamin C, we’re here to break down the healthy eats that will provide head to toe nourishment.
For strands that grow more quickly, to those that boast touchable softness and shine, read on to discover how Federico Beauty’s healthy hair diet can help you to achieve hair nirvana – this new year and beyond.
Antioxidants: for hair that begs to be touched
You can’t see it, but your hair is under attack. That’s because free radicals (damaging molecules that come from environmental aggressors such as pollution and UV-exposure) are everywhere, and they cause oxidative stress, rendering hair dehydrated and lackluster.
Luckily, research indicates that antioxidants can help neutralize damage caused by free radicals. According to New York City based dermatologist Whitney Bowe, your best defense is an antioxidant called polyphenol, which can be found in dark colored fruit like blackberries, blueberries, cherries and pomegranate seeds. Try mixing a variety of them into your diet for soft and silky feeling hair.
Vitamin C: for hair that grows longer, faster
No single ingredient deserves its own holiday more than vitamin C. It’s vital to hair health because it’s a necessary component to creating the protein known as collagen. “The body uses vitamin C to build collagen, which is essential for producing new hair cells,” says Bowe. But it also helps your body to absorb iron, which is crucial for hair growth.
Up your vitamin C intake by adding parsley, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, kiwi and citrus fruits to your diet.
Biotin: put an end to strands that split and snap
When it comes to hair health, biotin was once considered the gold standard of treatment options. Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific evidence to support the theory that the supplement alone can help to promote growth. “It’s kind of tricky,” says Dr. Margarita De L Teran-Garcia, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the university of Illinois, “because there’s not much evidence that only biotin is working for this. It’s not the only element needed.”
However, research does indicate that patients showing biotin deficiencies experience more breakage and hair-fragility, so keeping levels consistent could help to prevent brittleness. Biotin-rich foods include egg, avocado and salmon.
Protein: for thicker hair
Your hair is made up of a protein called keratin, so it’s important that you include enough of it in your diet to encourage healthy hair growth and strength. Because when your diet is lacking in protein, strands can become brittle, weak or dry – and diets extremely low in protein can result in noticeable hair loss.
For optimal nutrition, consume high-quality protein found in grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.
Fatty acids: kick dehydration
It must be said. We love omega-3’s. These fatty acids keep your heart healthy might also be responsible for keeping tresses hydrated and shiny. The American Heart Association recommends having a 3.5 oz serving of omega-3 rich fish at least twice weekly; flaxseed oil and walnuts serve as excellent vegetarian friendly options.
Regular inclusion of omega-3 rich foods regulates sebum (oil) production, which tells follicles to produce the perfect amount for optimum luster.
Prioritizing healthy eating boasts a variety of benefits – including those that pertain to your hair’s health. While salon hair products can help to keep hair looking healthy, it’s more important to heal and support it from within. So, make 2020 the year that you prioritize total body health – and nurture your tresses from the inside, out.