Who doesn’t dream of incredibly soft, shiny and voluminous hair? Or who wouldn’t like to be done once and for all with greasy or dry hair, to stop fighting dandruff and split ends? The news is that you don’t need to spend crazy money on the latest caviar treatment or “nutri-regenerating” omega-3 repair shampoo. Your hair is not just fed by the products you coat them with. It is also nourished through its roots from the nutrients you eat daily. Here are 10 tasty and healing foods I recommend to keep your hair healthy. Some can even be applied directly to your hair.
1. Coconut oil – the secret of the Maharajas
In my opinion, virgin coconut oil is one of the best cooking oils. It is stable at high temperature, it doesn’t turn rancid and produces no toxic chemical compound – even when you heat it up. Half of the content of coconut oil is lauric acid, an unusual fatty acid. Lauric acid is excellent for your hair. It has the particularity of binding hair proteins together, making hair both flexible and strong. But that’s not all. Lauric acid has a straight chain structure and a low molecular weight, so that it can penetrate hair easily. The best results are achieved when you apply coconut oil directly on your hair. Coconut oil is especially effective if you have bleached or African type hair.
Hair is made of keratin. Keratin is a protein, a large molecule composed of amino acid chains. To create healthy keratin you should eat protein found in meat, fish, legumes etc…Eggs are a friendly food because they are incredibly rich in protein and valuable nutrients: fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. Your body will benefit from eating them no matter what some people might think. Without protein, your hair growth stops, the hairs that you lose would not be replaced and your hair would start to thin out. Furthermore, eggs are rich in biotin, or vitamin B8, which plays an important role in the development of keratin. Biotin participates in cell growth. It is recommended for strengthening both hair and nails. A large cooked egg contains approximately 25 mcg of biotin. If you have a true biotin deficiency, you may need to start a serious cure of 2500 mcg of biotin daily. To achieve such a result, you should turn to supplementation. I personally still prefer my daily morning eggs.
3. Fatty Fish
All fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients reduce inflammation and cleanse your scalp. Salmon is rich in biotin. Surprisingly, you will find it in many cosmetics. Fatty fish is also a rich source of vitamin D, but the amounts are still too low. The perfect solution is to get some sun exposure every day (about 20 minutes is enough), or take a vitamin D supplement. A study carried out in 2013 found that women who lack vitamin D lose their hair more easily than those who pay attention to their vitamin D intake.
4. Sweet potatoes
If your hair is sad-looking and dry, I recommend sweet potatoes. They are deliciously sweet but are less harmful to your blood sugar levels than potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. This special vitamin acts on your scalp by stimulating the production of sebum, a secretion that makes your hair oily. Your hair will be softer and will curl easily. I like to cut them is French fries size and roast them with olive oil and Provencal herbs for about 20 minutes at 400F.
The cells that produce your hair need a very specific mineral to function properly: zinc. If you lack zinc, your hair may fall – including your eyelashes! Oops! You’d better get zinc straight away! Luckily for you, oysters, crabs and lobsters are rich in zinc. Six raw oysters (not cooked) contain 74 mg zinc. However, if you don’t like oysters, poultry and beef are also good sources of zinc.
6. Red meat
Red meat is not only rich in protein, it also provides another essential hair nutrient: iron. You may have noticed that people who lack iron (iron deficiency anemia) have fine and flat hair. Iron deficiency affects mostly women, but not all of them are affected. You can even have too much iron – which can be a very serious problem. A standard blood test will indicate your iron level by measuring your levels of “ferritin”. You can then tailor your diet according to your needs.
7. Blueberries (or Bilberries)
Blueberries are known to improve microcirculation and as a consequence scalp irrigation. They help optimise the distribution of nutrients in the roots of your hair. In addition, blueberries are packed with antioxidants that help protect against free radicals. Free radicals attack all the cells in the body, including hair cells and thus make them fragile.
You might be surprised to learn that beer can also stimulate hair growth. I can already hear some guys happy about the good news. Don’t get too excited, your hair will probably not grow like Samson’s hair if you drink gallons of beer. But I guarantee you will pee a lot. Indeed, beer contains a good amount of silica (a mineral), which is not common in our diet. Silica improves blood circulation in the scalp. According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, an additional 10 mg of silica per day reduced hair fragility by 20%. To understand what this means, there are about 10 mg of silica in a pint of beer. But of course, not all beers are made in the same way. The beers richest in silica are made from hops and malted barley. And for a real food cure, add organic silica from other food sources like green beans, oatmeal, leeks, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus and rhubarb. The top plant for silica content is a plant called horsetail (equisetum). It can be taken as food supplement.
9. Walnuts and almonds
Walnuts contain many healthy fatty acids and nutrients. They are also rich in you magnesium, iron and manganese all needed in hair health. Eat them raw and as fresh as possible. Roasted nuts do not have the same properties. Almonds are rich in magnesium. An easy way to detect magnesium deficiency is to inspect your nails. The vertical ridges indicate that you may lack in it. Magnesium also helps relax muscle and nerve cells and to fight stress. But stress often causes hair loss. Go figure…I guess it’s all making sense now!
Besides causing skin rash, nettle is very beneficial. Nettle has the ability to fortify the scalp naturally with all the vitamins and minerals it contains. Those who are brave can even eat it slightly steamed. If you find nettle in nature (you can also buy them at some farmers’ markets too), pick it to prepare the following hair lotion:
– mix crushed nettle with 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar;
– strain this mixture through a cloth;
– add some lavender or grapefruit essential oil;
– apply the lotion directly to your hair;
– let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing your hair.
Chef Alain Braux is a best-selling and multiple award-winning food and health author. He is also a food and health consultant, a speaker and panelist on food allergies, Paleo and anti-GMO issues. Mr. Braux is also award-winning Executive Chef and Nutrition Therapist. Alain Braux is the co-host on the podcast, “the Low Carb Paleo Show” and the food and health contributing editor to the Low Carb Magazine, Hip4Kids Magazine, Healthy Organic Women, Stuffed Pepper, and Food Solutions Magazine.
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You can click on the link below to browse Chef Alain Braux’s books. http://www.alainbraux.com/category/mybooks