I am really into learning about how to keep skin, hair and body naturally young looking, as long as possible. This healthy hair diet is one of those things. The need for knowledge about this subject has started I guess a year ago now, awakened by what I find somewhat drastic changes in my skin and hair quality. All is good, caught it in time and I’m not complaining but I would love to slow this aging process down for sure. Aging is not a bad thing but it can have a negative impact on ones self esteem and quality of life. And an important thing to know is that we have a saying in many aspects of aging.
The fact is that hair growth slows after the age 40 or during menopause, the hair just doesn’t grow as it used to, it can be thinning or simply lost its youthful bounce and luster. Aging is simply put the inability to renew and regenerate cells as quickly as when we were younger. There are many reasons for thinning hair at any age, here I focus on the effects of getting older and what we can de to slow this down.
Hormonal changes are a common reason for thinning hair as the levels of estrogen production begins to decline. Estrogen stimulates the growth of new hair after the old has shed and it also lengthens the growth stage of the hair. There are foods rich in estrogen that can help to restore balans like flax seeds, soy products, strawberries and peaches, walnuts, peanuts and pistachios. Also dried fruit like dates, prunes and apricots are a good addition to the daily diet when estrogen levels are low.
Nutritional deficiencies can occur more easily due to the fact that an aging body processes the ingested nutrients less efficiently. Many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss.
Iron and Vitamin C are very important for healthy hair. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the body. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth. Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. Anemia is especially common in women.
This Creamy Broccoli Soup has sweet potatoes, broccoli and almond milk in it. It is delicious, thick and rich in iron, fiber, vitamin A, biotin and vitamin E. Getting those nutrients in an be very easy.
Vitamin C is needed to absorb iron from foods like tofu, legumes (lentils, dried peas and beans), wholegrain cereals, green vegetables such as broccoli or kale, black strap molasses, nuts, especially cashews, dried fruits such as apricots and sunflower seeds or tahini in combination with high vitamin C foods like citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, bell pepper, broccoli, spinach and cabbage. Our body also needs vitamin C to create collagen, an important part of hair structure.
Read here more about how to increase the collagen production of the skin and improve the appearance and quality of your skin. I am always for getting our nutrients from whole foods but in sometimes a day just is crazy and a week flies by and we don’t get enough good stuff in, in that case this is the only collagen builder vitamin I would use, made of real food, vegan and natural.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin which means it needs to be added daily to the diet to keep levels up. Biotin also acts as a co enzyme in the body, needed for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Vitamin B7 or biotin is needed in order to convert and use these macro nutrients efficiently. It is the vitamin for healthy, young looking hair, skin and nails. The other B-vitamins help create red blood cells needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
Biotin can be found in almonds, walnuts, peanut butter, carrots and bananas. B-vitamins rich foods are whole grains, almonds and dark, leafy greens. Making your own almond milk is easy and a great way to up the biotin in your diet. Store bought varieties have a very low percentage of actual almonds as ingredient, it is mostly water.
All cells need vitamin A for growth. This includes hair, the fastest growing tissue in the human body. The best way to get enough and not too much vitamin A is through eating plenty of sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach and kale, all high in beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A. Overdosing on natural vitamin A is not possible unlike in a supplement form.
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress, also a great skin vitamin. Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados are all good sources of vitamin E.
This vegan Egg Salad has a base of cashews and avocado which makes it a great source of iron and copper.
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Known as a “co-factor,” zinc found helps with cellular turnover, cell division and growth that help to form keratin, a protein that makes up hair. Supplementing can have too high doses, more isn’t always better. It is always preferred to get the needed nutrients from whole foods. Zinc is found in wheat germ, tofu, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, oatmeal, wild rice, squash seeds, sesame seeds, dark chocolate and chickpeas.
Lentils are delicious, a true super food. Crazy rich in zinc, a mineral many lack. Try this Lentil Ratatouille from the pressure cooker but can also be made on the stove.
Copper is one of the best nutrients that fortify both hair and skin. Copper is needed to build up the collagen and elastin of the skin that holds the hair follicle. Besides that it also helps to balance hormone. Plant based copper rich foods are avocado, shiitake mushrooms, whole grains, dark leafy greens, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate.
Hair is made almost entirely of protein which makes consuming enough very important for hair growth. Not enough protein results in not going to be able to make keratin efficiently. Eating healthy, plant based, quality protein doesn’t tax the kidney’s like animal protein does. Healthy protein sources are lentils, chia seeds, quinoa, hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables, beans and soy based foods like edamame, tofu and tempeh.
Healthy hair needs healthy whole food fats and omega 3’s. Excellent sources of omega 3 are walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds. Healthy fats can come from nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocado and tahini.
My walnut hemp protein bars are rich in both, protein and omega 3.
Stress can also contribute to thinner hair like to many negative reactions in the body. High levels of stress over a long period of time can lead to increased cortisol production which has a negative impact on hair growth and results in thinning hair.
Most people just go about their days and what it seems out of nowhere notice signs of aging. That is also how it went down with me. I am not the kind of person who spent a lot of time in front of the mirror, may be the reason why I am surprised by all of this. The days when I could go with with just a quick moisturizer on my face are gone, I do need to give my skin and hair more attention for sure to keep it toned and young looking.
I don’t dread the changes. I love that we can take steps to keep the visible signs at bay and to slow down the process by paying attention to our diet and lifestyle. Eating a diet high in nutrients is what keeps us young looking and even more important, energized, strong and lean.