Good hair begins here.
Beautiful and healthy hair, skin and nails do not come from the products you put on your hair and body, but rather what you put IN your body. There are many hair products which claim to promote growth, strength and prevent breakage, but because your hair is essentially "dead" material, all of that begins well before the hair emerges from your scalp. Products only give the temporary appearance of healthy hair (even listen closely to a shampoo commercial?), but the foundation of strong, healthy hair is based on our nutrition.
While a balanced diet is essential for overall health and the promotion of healthy hair, here are a few key nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth:
1. Protein: Protein contains amino acids, which are the essential building blocks for cells, including hair. Five amino acids are of particular relevance to hair growth - cystine, cysteine, methionine, arginine and lysine. Inadequate protein intake over time can slow hair growth and eventually lead to hair loss. At least 15% of your daily caloric intake should come from protein from lean meats and legumes. Legumes also provide biotin, another nutrient essential for hair growth.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Essential omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to support scalp health. A deficiency in omega-3s can result in dry scalp and skin. Foods such as salmon and flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a supplement of fish oil (preferably in refrigerated liquid form) also provides an excellent source omega-3s.
3. Vitamins A and C: These vitamins are essential in the production of sebum that is produced by your hair follicles. Sebum the scalp's natural lubricant and conditioner. Inadequate sebum production leads to dry hair and scalp. Green, leafy vegetables are good sources of Vitamin A and C, as well as iron. Supplements such as Chlorella are helpful if you have a hard time getting green leafy vegetables.
4. B Vitamins: B vitamins are essential for healthy blood circulation, which is necessary for nourishing your scalp. Vitamins B-6, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B-12 support healthy hemoglobin levels, which carry oxygen to tissues in the body.
5. Vitamin E: Vitamin E helps in improving the scalp circulation and helps with skin and hair dryness. Food sources rich in vitamin E are vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, soybeans, raw seeds and nuts, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Every morning I make myself the following breakfast smoothie. It is packed with the nutrients listed above and is an easy and quick breakfast alternative.
Berry Protein Smoothie
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries)
1-2 frozen ripe bananas
2 tablespoons rice protein powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon flax oil
1 tablespoon nut butter (almond, cashew or macadamia nut)
1 cup water
Place all ingredients in a blender, and add water and ice for desired consistency and blend on high. You can adjust the amounts of berries, bananas, and nut butter to taste. For additional sweetness, allow the bananas to fully ripen before freezing and use frozen cherries.Full nutritional information can be found at here at SparkRecipes.
I've been drinking this every morning for the past several months I've noticed a drastic improvement in my hair and nail growth. My locs are softer and shiner, and my dry skin has greatly improved. I've never been able to grow nails but now my nails are about as long as I used to wear my acrylics and are very hard. I have also improved my diet overall (you can't pair this with a McDonald's diet and expect miraculous results), but this smoothie definitely provides the nutrients essential for healthy hair growth.