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Natural Awakenings

Radiant Tresses: Revitalize Your Hair with These Top Ten Nutrients

Jul 01, 2008 03:00AM ● By Monika Rice

Healthy hair is a beautiful sight to behold on man, woman or child. Beyond being glamorous and sexy, it’s a universal sign of youth and vitality. Yet, stress and poor diet can take their toll, rendering hair dull and lifeless, or worse. No one wants hair loss or a thinning crown of glory. Because hair, like every part of the body, requires a daily, synergistic blend of the right vitamins and minerals to remain strong and healthy, proper nutrition is vital. Here, we provide a short list of the 10 key nutrients to healthy hair; most can be found in a good breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Protein ~ Hair’s structure consists primarily of protein, which remains forever critical to hair growth. The best sources start with lean fish, poultry and meat and extend to eggs, soy products, nuts and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Essential Fatty Acids ~ Good fats, like the oft-recommended omega-3s, are known to keep hair soft and shiny. They come in plant oils, such as olive, walnut and canola oils, walnuts, almonds and flax seed. Certain types of fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, also deliver the beneficial fatty acids.

Magnesium and Calcium ~ These two minerals work together to ensure healthy hair growth. Look to tofu, sesame seeds, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, nuts, wheat germ, cheeses and yogurt as key sources.

Zinc ~ Zinc heals and prevents scaliness of the skin, which benefits the scalp. Best sources include oysters, beef and lamb, whole grains and black-eyed peas.

Iodine ~ This essential mineral helps regulate thyroid hormones, which in turn prevent dry hair and hair loss. Find it in seaweed, fish, garlic and iodized salt.

Vitamin A ~ Vitamin A aids production of healthy sebum in the scalp. Great food sources include eggs, spinach, broccoli, carrots, apricots, milk and cheeses.

Vitamins B6, B5, B12 and Folic Acid ~ A range of vitamin Bs abound in bananas, potatoes, beans and lentils, whole grains and brewer’s yeast.

Biotin ~ Essential in the production of keratin, this B vitamin may prevent graying and hair loss. Biotin can be found in brewer’s yeast, whole grains, egg yolks, rice and milk.

Inositol ~ This lesser-known member of the vitamin B family keeps hair follicles healthy at the cellular level. Main sources are brewer’s yeast, whole grains and citrus fruits.

Antioxidants ~ Well-known for a range of virtues, antioxidants also protect hair and scalp from environmental stress. They commonly infuse fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries, strawberries, melons, tomatoes, leafy greens and bell peppers. Here’s a rule of thumb: the richer and deeper the color of the fruit or vegetable, the higher its antioxidant content.

Ultimately, our hair reflects the overall condition of our body. Hair thrives best in a healthy and well-nourished environment of good hygiene and good diet.

The Right Dose by Patricia Hausman 

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