It’s obvious that the food we eat has an enormous effect on our weight and overall health. But did you know that what you eat may also affect the quality of your hair, starting at your follicles? I admittedly have a crazy amount of healthy hair and attribute it to all of the healthy foods I eat (and a bit of Chia Pet genetics). However, like most of us, the summer sun and fun have taken a toll on my locks. Here are some ‘Super Foods’to incorporate into your diet to help restore your hair from the outside-in. Bonus: these are also amazing for your skin and nails! Salmon We’ve heard it all before, but omega-3’s really are all they’re cracked up to be. Fats play important roles in our body including modulating inflammation and fighting depression (just to name a couple). There are three main types of omega-3 fats: DHA, EPA and ALA. The first two are found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, and supplements, and ALA is found in plant sources such as walnuts, chia seeds, hemp oil and flax. While ALA is super important to include in our diet, EPA and DHA are the powerhouses in this family that play a bigger role in our metabolism. However, our bodies are very inefficient at converting ALA to the more potent EPA and DHA. Take 1-2 grams (2 grams maximum) of EPA and DHA (combined) from supplements daily to obtain a consistent source of these fats in your diet and aim to eat oily fish like salmon 1-2 times a week. Don’t buy the supplements with omega-6 in it, we already eat more than enough of these fats in our daily diets! Blueberries Not only do these taste amazing, they are also PACKED with antioxidants (one of the highest among their fruit peers) and vitamins to protect your skin and hair against aging. Add a half a cup to your daily diet, on top of cereal, yogurt or on your salad. I couldn’t resist including a picture of my favourite face elixir, Caudalie (you can buy it at Sephora). I feel like I’m at the spa every time I spray it on my face! Water Have you every looked at your skin after a day without a lot of water? It makes a HUGE difference! We need water for every function in our body (our bodies are about 50-65% water), and our hair is no exception. Staying hydrated with 8-10 cups of water (skip the sweetened beverages and limit coffee and tea) will make your hair happy. Flavour your water with lemon or cucumber to brighten the taste and keep a water bottle with you at all times. Eggs Our hair is made from protein (keratin), so it makes sense that a diet deficient in protein won’t make for great hair – in fact, it causes it to thin. However, not all proteins are created equal. Eggs and whey protein (made from the liquid part of milk when it is separated) are among the highest quality protein sources you can eat. Despite this, vegetarian sources of protein have other health and environmental benefits that can’t be ignored. As a general guideline aim for about 20 grams of protein per meal for shiny thick hair growth. Add beans or a boiled egg to your next salad, a scoop of whey protein to your smoothie or a portion of salmon or tofu to some stir-fried vegetables.
Walnuts High in fibre, protein and the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fats, walnuts are a must-have to include in your regular food repertoire. Walnuts may even help reduce depression, stress and the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Your hair will thank you for sprinkling this Super Food on your morning cereal, in a salad or as a snack with some dried fruit.