It’s amazing how often grandmas turn out to be right.
Take “You are what you eat,” the advice given by many a grandma which actually has roots that date back to the very first book ever published about food, “The Physiology of Taste,” written by a French lawyer in 1825.
Neither the old Frenchmen nor grandma (most likely) was a nutritionist, but nutrition science has since proven them both right: we are indeed what we eat, right down to our dancing cells and right up to the shining crown of hair upon our head.
In fact, the health of our hair is hugely dependent on the foods we eat, so let’s take a look at foods that can help give your hair its happiest shine.
Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on Earth and is specifically rich in much of what your hair needs: clean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and both Vitamin D and B.
First things first, our hair is mainly made of protein, mostly in the form of a protein called keratin. We lose 50 to 100 hairs every day, so more protein is needed to keep hair growing. Omega-3s are found in the cell membranes of your scalp and in the oils your hair produces to stay hydrated; thus eating Omega-3s keeps your scalp healthy and helps your hair shine.
Finally, salmon gives you a boost in Vitamin D, which helps create follicles, the little pores where new hair grows; and three forms of Vitamin B (B5, B12, and biotin), which help create the red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
Sweet potatoes are rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, which in turn produces an oily substance on your scalp called sebum that moistens hair and keeps it from drying out. Vitamin A also strengthens hair to reduce breakage. Other orange foods also contain carotene: carrots, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
An egg a day will keep the doctor away? Maybe, maybe not. But it will definitely help your hair. Eggs are a great source of protein and the aforementioned omega-3s as well as vitamins A, B, and D. Eggs are super-rich in several forms of vitamin B, specifically one called folate, which is vital for healthy cell growth in your skin, nails, and hair.
Nuts are high in protein, omega-3s, and zinc, the latter which is essential for hair tissue growth and repair. This is why people who are zinc-deficient suffer hair loss. Two nuts that are particularly known for their ability to help hair health: Brazil nuts, which are rich in trace element called selenium that is essential in the body’s ongoing defense against those nefarious “free radicals,” unstable atoms linked to aging, disease, and impeding the healthy growth of hair and skin cells; and almonds, which are rich in vitamin E, another underrated nutrient that helps hair grow.
Fruits and Vegetables
Well, duh, you might say. But it bears repeating: vegetables and fruits rule. One of the ways they help hair are as sources of vitamin C, which produces collagen, which helps build the protein your hair is made of, keratin. Collagen also strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts. The best sources for vitamin C are blueberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, red peppers, and leafy greens.
This is all in keeping with the La Formule approach: nature’s way is the surest way to healthy hair. And did you notice something about all of these foods? They are the usual suspects for overall good health.
So let’s create a brand new adage, in hopes it’ll pass down to our own grandkids, who are going to have fantastic hair: “You hair what you eat.”