Are you supplementing your vitamins with actual food?
I used to think that taking multivitamins and supplements excused me from eating a healthy, balanced diet.
But no matter how satisfying it was to pop a gummy and call it my nutritional intake, it just wasn’t a substitute for actually eating nutrients (go figure!).
Once I learned about the essential components of a healthy diet, I noticed something interesting. A lot of the foods I was incorporating into my diet also just happened to contain the vitamins, minerals, and other components of so many popular health and beauty supplements.
Hair-growth products in particular have been all the rage with supermodels and celebrity makeup artists who rave about the powerful properties of protein, vitamin E, and biotin — some of the ingredients known for growing thick, shiny hair and strong nails. But all of those can be easily found in healthy foods, too.
“Vitamins are not intended to replace healthy eating,” explains Megan Wolf; a New York City based Registered Dietitian, the owner of Megan Wolf Nutrition LLC, and the author of Great Meals with Greens and Grains, who adds that “food comes first, followed by supplements.”
There are tons of reasons to eat these 13 healthful foods, and now here are two more: healthier hair and stronger nails.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a food that contained ingredients to boost your hair’s health in one delicious, versatile substance? Oh wait, there is. Got milk? Because milk (and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt) has protein, calcium, and vitamin D, as well as biotin, a B-vitamin used in supplements to treat thinning hair and brittle nails.
Another versatile food that contains protein and biotin? Eggs. “One of the best sources of protein for healthy hair and nails comes from eggs — the whole egg specifically,” says Wolf.
3. Red meat
“Protein is critical for re-growth,” explains Wolf — and nothing packs on the protein like a nice cut of red meat (which isn’t particularly helpful if you’re vegetarian, but still definitely worth mentioning).
If meat, eggs, and milk don’t do it for you, try a handful of almonds instead. Almonds contain protein as well as essential fats, which are great for your scalp.
5. Whole grains
Another source of aforementioned biotin abounds in whole grains, which happen to provide a whole lot of other health benefits, too, like helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
6. Citrus fruits
Vitamin C is known for being a key component in strong nails and healthy hair, so why not skip the gummy vitamin, go straight to the source, and enjoy the benefits of citrus fruits by chowing down on favorites like oranges, lemons, pineapple, and grapefruit?
7. Orange foods
Not to be confused with actual oranges, orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin contain sebum-producing vitamin A, which helps keep hair shiny and soft.
Sure, you could whip up an avocado hair mask or use avocado-containing hair products (the fruit is famous for helping with thick, shiny locks) but then you’d miss out on the delicious taste and myriad other health benefits.
These little blue morsels pack a big wallop with ingredients such as vitamin C, which does double duty by helping to create collagen and aiding with iron absorption, too.
Silicon is that increases circulation to the scalp; some people take silicon supplements to give their hair and nails a boost. But did you know that a single serving of beer contains over 10 milligrams of silicon? So put aside that soft capsule and try kicking back a cold one, instead.
“Seafood” is too much of a blanket term, especially since certain kinds of fish with too much mercury can actually cause thinning hair and dry, brittle nails. So choose your fish dish carefully (oysters, crab, clams, and canned light tuna are good bets).
12. Leafy greens
There are countless reasons why you should load up on green foods like spinach, kale, and watercress — which also happen to be fantastic for your hair and nails. And leafy greens are rich in minerals as well as water. “Hydration is so important,” says Wolf. “Not only for our bodies in general but also for hair and nails!”
13. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are known as a superfood because of their many health benefits, from boosting energy to aiding digestion. But the versatile seeds (which can be added to soups, smoothies, and just about anything) are also really good for your hair, promoting growth and shine and even keeping grays away!
Image via shutterstock.com.
Comment: What foods or supplements do you swear by for healthy hair and nails?