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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Hair food: Nutrients determine healthy follicle growth
What you eat determines viability of locks
 
Published Friday, August 2, 2019 9:07 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Protein and nutrients like vitamin D have impact on hair growth and vitality.

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Your hair is what you eat.


Poor diet can significantly affect your hair — and potentially impacts losing it.


Healthy, attractive hair is often due to a combination of factors, including genetics, physical health, hair care, and eating habits. But if someone is experiencing hair breakage, hair loss, or lost luster, their poor diet may be mostly to blame, according to Dr. Chris Varona, a hair restoration specialist and owner of Varona Hair Restoration in Newport Beach, Calif.


“If you’re not putting the right fuel in, your hair may not be getting the nutrition that it needs to thrive,” he said, “but for some, a few simple changes in their diet can have a dramatic effect on their hair’s appearance and health. And in many cases, if the diet deficiencies are addressed, hair loss stops or reverses.”
So, what are the important nutrients for healthy hair? Verona’s list includes:


• Essential fatty acids, which are vital for healthy skin, hair, and nails.


“Omega-3 fatty acids nourish and protect hair, help in regrowth, and add a silky shine,” Varona said. “Fatty fish like salmon has lots of omega-3, and walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and soybeans are also a good source of this healthy hair nutrient.”


• B vitamins for hair growth, provide extra support to healthy hair, and help it maintain lustrous integrity. “They help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles,” Varona said. “Many vegetarians and vegans have a deficiency of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, important nutrients for healthy hair. You can find B6 in bananas and potatoes, B12 in meat and dairy products, and folic acid in citrus fruits and tomatoes.”
• Protein, specifically keratin, needs to grow strong.


“If you’re short on protein, your hair won’t thrive,” Varona said. “Animal products like meat, fish, and eggs are a good source of protein. You can also get protein from plants, including beans, lentils, nuts, and grains.”


• Vitamin D, which “keeps the skin, bones, and hair healthy,” Varona said. “Some studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to hair loss. You can find vitamin D in fatty fish, liver, egg yolks, and in fortified foods like milk.”


• Iron. Severe iron deficiency, which leads to anemia, can cause hair loss.


“It is especially common in women with heavy menstrual periods and is easily mistaken for female pattern baldness,” Varona said. “Meats including chicken, fish, and red meats are good sources of easily absorbable iron. Plant sources of iron include beans and lentils, dark leafy greens, and potatoes. Many breads and cereals are also enriched with iron.”


• Trace minerals, such as iron, chromium, copper, zinc, iodine, manganese and selenium.


“A daily multivitamin can be helpful to ensure you’re getting those vitamins and minerals that your body, and your hair, need most,” Varona counsels. “A healthy, well-rounded diet often contains all the foods and nutrients needed for beautiful, healthy hair,” Varona says. “A simple blood test can check for nutritional deficiencies, and if they are found, a change in diet or supplementation may improve your hair and stop hair loss.”

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