Monday, April 15, 2013

Good Diet = Good Hair.....6 Foods to eat for Good Hair

I have always been blessed with hair that has grown quickly and did not break easily.  I thought my hair was healthy and strong.  What I didn't realize was how much what I ate (or did not eat) affected my hair and scalp.  I thought since it was thick and long, and grew fast that it was healthy.  I've made references to the dry scalp issues I've had for years in earlier posts (Tress Update and The Hair Journey).  I was using the wrong products and my diet was definitely NOT optimal for truly healthy tresses. Now that I am starting from scratch, I am very curious to see how my "new" hair will perform under a reformed regime. 
 
Again: my definition of good hair is not texture, length, color...it's HEALTH (Your Hair is So Nappy).  I believe diet plays a bigger role the health of our hair than the products we use. 
 
Our entire body is fused into itself.  Our body works as a symphony not a soloist.  If we are not eating optimally, then some part of the symphony will suffer..it may be the horn section...or the string instruments or the percussion section.  Some areas make deficiencies more apparent such as kidney failure or a heart attack as opposed to weak hair and nails or tired eyes.  But all are signs that help is needed in a particular area of our system. 
 
So just as diet will affect the chances of getting type 2 diabetes, it will affect the strength, porosity, retention and growth of our hair.  Here are some foods I found that will help my hair journey:
 
6 Foods to eat for Good Hair:

1.  Beans - they are rich in B vitamins and protein which are essential for strong hair.  Lack of B-vitamins can cause premature hair loss  and dry scalp which is what I was experiencing around my temple area. The vitamin B complex is important for protein metabolism, cell growth and repair.  Other foods containing the vitamin B complex are: whole grains, poultry, organ meats and eggs. The B complex includes:
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
    • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
    • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
    • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
    • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
    • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
    • Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
    • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
Beans - black eyed peas
 
2.  Molasses - this sweetener is rich is minerals and trace elements. Hair needs: zinc, iron, calcium, silicone (to name a few) all  of which are found in molasses. Iron deficiency leads to dull, brittle hair (1,2).

Molasses
 
3. Coconut - this fruit gives a balanced proportion of minerals needed for hair.  The oil is one of the best  moisture sealants for natural black hair.  It works in two ways:  it can decrease penetration of water from the environment and can bind to the protein in our hair reinforcing the hair fiber which makes it stronger (1, 2).
Coconut fruit and oil
 
4.  Cucumber - provides sulfur and trace elements (1).  Di -sulfide bonds join sulfur atoms together creating amino acid linkages.  The more di-sulfide bonds you have the curlier or kinkier your hair will be. These bonds can only be broken by chemical means such as relaxers (2).  This is why relaxers are irreversible and you have to grow your perm out in order to have your natural texture back. 

5.  Spinach - provides vitamin A which aides in hair growth. Vitamin A can keep the dandruff forming process under control.  Too little of this vitamin can lead to dry hair and scalp.  Dry hair leads to breakage.  Conversely too much vitamin A can lead to thin, coarse brittle hair.  Other foods containing high vitamin A content are carrots, chard, apricots, mangoes, and watermelon (1,2).  

6.  Citrus fruit - provides vitamin C which is a collagen builder and helps to absorb iron.   A lack of vitamin C can cause bleeding under the skin and weak, brittle and dry hair and scalp. Vitamin C can also be found in broccoli, tomatoes and cauliflower (2).

In order to have truly healthy hair I'm going to have to beef up my diet in the areas of vitamins and minerals, protein and water.   Water is not a food but it is essential to every part of our body. The goal is to stay away from supplements and get what I need directly from the food source. 
 

Good ole broccoli
 
 
 Are there any other foods that can be added to this list? Share your thoughts!
 
Peace and blessings!

References for this post:
1 -  Encyclopedia of Food and Their Healing Power - Dr. Pamplona-Roger
2 - The Science of Black Hair - Audrey Davis - Sivasothy